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  • Writer's pictureAbby Fowler

Preserving Cultural Heritage and Memory in a Digital Age: A Project for Bangladesh

Originally published August 12, 2022

The delegation posing with Rusty, the mascot of the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History.

From August 3rd to 9th, we hosted a delegation from Bangladesh in Eastern Iowa for a project titled “Preserving Cultural Heritage and Memory in a Digital Age.”

Visiting the Old Capitol Museum.

The day after their arrival, the group enjoyed a tour of the Old Capitol Museum, kicking off their time in Iowa City with an up-close look at the most prominent landmark of the University of Iowa’s campus. The rest of their day was free to explore the city and participate in local events.

The next day, they boarded a bus for Cedar Rapids to see the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. Guided by Melina Testin, the museum’s life-long learning specialist, they learned how the museum preserved its exhibits and recovered following the 2008 flood, how it brings the Cedar Rapids community together, and about using technology in a museum setting. They enjoyed lunch in the NewBo City Market before visiting the African American Museum of Iowa. They met with Felicite Wolfe, the museum’s Curator and Collections Manager, and museum volunteer Arnold Daniels Jr. before having time for a self-guided tour.

On Saturday the 6th, the delegation took a trip to West Branch for Hoover Hometown Days, a festival that celebrates 31st President Herbert Hoover who was born in West Branch. They enjoyed a parade and had time to explore downtown West Branch and the Herber Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.

“[The] celebration of the birthday of President Hoover shows how respectful and sensitive the people and the city [are],” said participant Amena Khatun.

The entire next day was free for the group to rest and explore downtown Iowa City.

“[I] loved the landscape of the city. How hills and rivers [were] not disturbed while planning the city for inhabitants.” said participant Maliha Nargis Ahmed. “[I] loved the artistic expressions on the walls and public area benches.”

Touring the Museum of Natural History collections.

Monday the 8th was the group’s final full day in Iowa. They went to Macbride Hall to meet with Cindy Opitz, Director of Research Collections at the University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums, and Tiffany Adrain, Collections Manager of the University of Iowa Paleontology Repository. There, they toured the Museum of Natural History’s collections, discussed preservation practices, and learned how the University involves museum collections in its Museum Studies program. After lunch, they boarded a bus to visit the Amana Colonies for both a meeting and a cultural excursion. They took a tour of the village before meeting with Jon M. Childers, Executive Director of the Amana Heritage Museum.

“I loved the vibe here,” said participant Uangchain Marma Milton. “[I] got the opportunity to visit some remarkable places here and exchange ideas and thoughts.”

“It was a great learning session in Iowa City. I totally loved this city,” seconded participant Eliza Binte Elahi.

Thank you to the Pentacrest Museums, National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, African American Museum of Iowa, and Amana Heritage Museum for your participation in this program. We would also like to thank our volunteers, Melanie Haupert, Jeanne Stoakes, Ann Marie Drop, and Stephen Merkel-Hess for making this group’s time in Iowa special! Stay tuned for future volunteering opportunities!


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