Iowa Gold Star Military Museum Hosts Memorial Day Observance and Open House May 30

The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum will host a Memorial Day observance and open house on Monday, May 30, from 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the museum on Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston.

Falling in line with the U.S. Army’s emphasis on healthy living and physical fitness, a complimentary, healthy breakfast will be served from 6 to 9 a.m., or until supplies run out. Fresh “Army” coffee and “Bug Juice” (orange drink) will also be served with breakfast. There will be vintage and modern military vehicles and equipment on display, as well as Civil War, World War I and II, Korean War, and Vietnam War re-enactors, and a vintage military aircraft flyover. As always, admission is free.

Nearly 90 years after its debut, the newly refurbished Camp Dodge Pool Complex will again be open for public viewing on Memorial Day. A cornerstone of Camp Dodge lore, the pool complex was built to promote health and fitness among recruits after World War I. The Camp Dodge Pool Complex was part of a post-wide plan drafted by the Des Moines landscape architectural firm of Pearse, Robinson, and Sprague in 1921.

Costing $87,000 ($1,152,239. 82 in today’s dollars) to construct, it became clear to the Iowa National Guard leadership that the Camp Dodge Pool Complex could serve more than the members of the Iowa National Guard. In the mid-1920s, the Des Moines Playground Association stepped up to manage the pool’s operation and did so until the pool closed in 2002.

Under renovation since 2005 as part of an adaptive reuse initiative by the Federal government, the State of Iowa, and the Iowa National Guard, the Camp Dodge Pool Complex will provide indoor and outdoor meeting spaces to include conference rooms, outdoor dining space and a bandstand.

Established in 1985, the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is the only federally-recognized repository for military artifacts in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is twofold: to preserve Iowa’s military history and honor the military service of all Iowans.

The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum’s permanent exhibits tell the stories of Iowans who have served in defense of their state and nation, beginning in the early settlement of the state in the 1840s, through the Global War on Terror. An extensive exhibit honors the 34th Infantry Division (“Red Bull” Division), which holds the distinction of serving the most continuous days in combat of any division in the European Theater of Operation during World War II. The museum also contains one of the finest military small arms collections in the Midwest. Additionally, an exhibit detailing the history of the Iowa State Patrol is also on display.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except holidays. Group tours are welcome and available by appointment; contact the museum for scheduling. Admission to the Museum is free.

For additional information or questions about the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum, contact the Museum at (515) 252-4531 or visit their website at

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