History in Siouxland, Mapleton

6 Aug

Over the Fourth of July I spent a little time in a private museum in Mapleton, Iowa. I say private because it is a former church now owned by an individual who has turned the space into a history museum. Keith Robinson is a former teacher from the area and has garnered quite a collection of Mapleton history as well as presidential memorabilia in his The Museum of American History. Some of it dating back to the mid and late 1800’s. With all the hubbub of this election cycle getting underway, I find it fascinating to look at these items and try to imagine what it might be like in those bygone days before mass media, before the internet, and candidates travelled by train and people campaigned by wearing a certain type of hat, or displaying a particular kind of dish ware or wearing a particular pin in your tie. Possibly a more simple election cycle without 24/7 TV ads and bombardments from paid circulars in your mailbox and tons of emails.

In those days, people probably found it as trying as we do today, sifting through all the “garbage” and hype to figure out who is a worthy candidate that one wants to support. But whatever innocence there may have once been about campaigning for the U.S. presidency, there certainly isn’t anymore. And people have become more cynical and skeptical about what their politicians can do for them and not what they can do for their country.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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