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Historical Society of

Pottawattamie County

County Seat Council Bluffs, Iowa


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"Squirrel Cage" Jail Museum Kicks Off Season With Open House April 1

     The Society's board of directors has set Sunday, April 23 as the date for the Historical Society's annual business meeting and banquet.  HSPC President Mariel Wagner says she hopes moving the event from January to spring will provide more favorable weather. The general membership voted last year to change the bylaws to remove the requirement the meeting be held in January; the revised bylaws now allow the president and board of directors to select a date.  The time and location of the meeting has not as yet been determined.

Society Annual Banquet

Set for April 23

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     You've been to the "Squirrel Cage" Jail museum before.  Now you need to come again.  Under the direction of Society vice-president Jason LeMaster board members, staff, and volunteers have worked throughout the off season to transform the 1885 building from looking like a museum into having  more the feel it did during its 84 years as the Pottawattamie County jail.  The entryway was been cleared of the display cases, so visitors can experience what it was really like when prisoners were brought in.  Unrelated exhibits have been removed and cells re-staged to look more as they did when prisoners called them home.  


     One concept that is totally new to the jail this year is the sound.  One striking feature for most visitors passing through on small group walk-in tours is the silence.  That's probably exactly opposite of the situation when the building housed prisoners.  To provide a more authentic experience background sounds will play on a continuous loop through unobtrusive loudspeakers.

     

     In addition to a fresh look at the museum, three local authors will be present April 1 to sign their recent history books.  Mary Lou McGinn will have copies of The History We Live In, S.M. Senden will be on hand with Lost Council Bluffs, as well as Nonpareil Managing Editor John Schreier with copies of his new book Carter Lake: A Slice of Iowa in Nebraska.  The open house will run from 11 am until 4 pm. Society members are admitted free; normal admission fees apply for nonmembers.