February 4, 2010

Civil Rights exhibit debuts at Putnam

By Lori Arguello, Director of Marketing
Putnam Museum and IMAX Theatre, Davenport

Explore the local Civil Rights movement up close and personal at the newest exhibition at the Putnam Museum. A partnership between the Davenport Civil Rights Commission, St. Ambrose University and the Putnam, “Davenport’s Civil Rights Movement: 1945-1974” opened in January and remains on exhibit in the Museum’s Lower Gallery through March 28.

“It’s important to remember those courageous citizens who engaged in hard-fought battles to win the rights we have today,” said Judith Morrell, director of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission.

Visitors to the museum will be able to see diverse artifacts such as a Ku Klux Klan hood and a hair pick decorated with a Black Power fist. Also part of the display is an audio recording of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Pacem in Terris acceptance speech given on the St. Ambrose University campus in 1965. The exhibit includes a representation of the Toney barbershop, where many informal gatherings related to the movement took place.

“This was a great collaborative project providing the Putnam with the opportunity to collect and display artifacts and archival materials from a very significant period in the community’s history,” said Eunice Schlichting, chief curator of the Putnam Museum.

Funded in part by Humanities Iowa, a traveling exhibit for libraries and schools, and a walking tour have also been created. The walking tour (markers to be in place this spring) includes sites at which historic events occurred including the Toney home and barbershop; the Mexican-American Ghetto; the St. Anthony Church parking lot, where close to 2,000 parish members and residents gathered for a rally; and the LeClaire Park Bandshell, where the rally was held.

On Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m., exhibit committee chair Arthur Pitz will present “A Compelling Story: Davenport’s Civil Rights History from 1945-1974.” The presentation will take place in the museum’s lecture hall and is free and open to the public.

This project has been supported and funded by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission, St. Ambrose University and the Putnam Museum, with some funding provided by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by the exhibit do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Admission: $7/adults; $6/seniors, students and military; $5/youth ages 3-12. Museum hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, log on: www.putnam.org/civilrights/html.