"At Home in the Heartland" Iowa historical exhibit on display at Coe

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2015-09-30 15:03:05 - General

Who are "we" as Iowans and as a nation? How did we get to be the way we are? How have we changed over time - or not - and how might we change in the future? TRACES Center for History and Culture doesn't have all the answers, but it does have most of the questions needed to help find them.

TRACES will bring its mobile exhibit "At Home in the Heartland: How We Got to be 'Us'" to Coe College on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. It is housed in a retrofitted school bus, the "BUS-eum," which will be parked in the Voorhees Hall circle along College Drive. It is open to the public at no charge.

The Iowa that existed as little as 35 years ago is gone. Sweeping, long-term changes in the region's agriculture, economy, technology and politics as well as its ethnic, age and other demographics have altered the ways we live. In the process we have lost old treasures even as we have gained new possibilities. All of this can be examined together to gain perspective.

At present, some seniors report they find it difficult to relate to youth who use technology more complex than, and communication forms far different from, what was the norm a generation ago. Both seniors and parents cite what they describe as a failure to transfer a sense of history - our cultural legacy - to younger Iowans.

According to project director and historian Dr. Michael Luick-Thrams, "While the failure to transfer practical information hobbles young people's later job skills and economic performance, the failure to transfer cultural information erodes their social skills. Cultural competency is understanding how we became who we are, how we changed over time - or not - and how humans change at all. It informs us how we behave as individuals, how we live together and how we govern ourselves."

Luick-Thrams' family has lived in Iowa since the 1830s, which has fueled his passion for the state's history.

"TRACES gathers, preserves and presents stories of people's lives, past and present - many of which have laid beneath dust left by time's passage," said Luick-Thrams. "By learning lessons from the past, we might rise above what otherwise could demean us and keeps us from moving forward as individuals, families, communities and a nation."

Founded in 2001, TRACES brings people of different backgrounds and perspectives together to speak with each other, openly and respectfully, in order to exchange experiences and opinions. In the process, old stereotypes and current ideological limits shift, making space for new possibilities when we humbly encounter one another. The group taps the past for clues about what to avoid repeating in the future. By focusing on what has worked well in the past, the group seeks a better way forward towards a more sustainable and peaceable world. Over the next 18 months, TRACES will take its exhibit to all 99 Iowa counties on three different tours, showing at a variety of diverse venues.

TRACES is supported with support from: Humanities Iowa, the John K. & Luise V. Hanson and the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundations, Chester P. Luick Memorial Trust, Vander Haags Inc. and local hosts. Details about both the tour and TRACES can be found at: http://roots.traces.org/at-home-in-the-heartland or staff@TRACES.org.

Additional sponsorship for the Coe event has been provided by the Coe History, Physics and Foreign Language Departments as well as the Office of the Dean of Academic Affairs.

For more information, visit coe.edu or call 399-8581.