The Fort Museum in Fort Dodge, IA Announces 2015 Educational and Public Tours

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Experience Your History at the Fort Museum is the theme for the 2015 Educational and Public Tours. Visitors during the tours will be able to experience firsthand what the pioneers settling in Iowa experienced with original 1850's buildings and artifacts.

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"The Fort Museum is able to individualize tours for students from middle and high schools, universities and bus groups." states Kim Alstott, Fort Museum Board Member.

On the Fort Museum campus, tour visitors not only experience history, they are able to walk in the footsteps of the early Iowa pioneer settler. Actual buildings from the 1850's are restored and line the Main Street area of the Fort Museum.

"The Fort Museum is able to individualize tours for students from middle and high schools, universities and bus groups," states Kim Alstott, Fort Museum Board Member. "We make sure that the tour highlights their particular interest and can bring in the artisan to also demonstrate."

The scheduled tours include educational along with entertainment and participation activities. School tours engage in actual classroom studies in the original schoolhouse that is equipped with everything a pioneer student would have experienced at that time. Other opportunities include the iron working by a blacksmith, actual printing of a newspaper, examine early medical equipment and visit a general store filled with merchandise and items that were common at that time.

The actual frontier fortification tour shows what was built from the original plans left by the Fort Dodge city's founders. This includes the logs used for construction of the Fort are exact replicas of those used in 1850.

Inside the fort is located the Brevet Major Lewis Armistead Museum. This is the only original 1850 Quartermaster Fort building still standing. After his time in Fort Dodge he was promoted to General Lewis Armistead. During the Battle of Gettysburg, he is famously known in history for leading his brigade during Pickett's Charge with his hat on the tip of his saber.

Tours also include viewing and information of famous original stoneware and brick products produced from the rich clay surrounding Fort Dodge. Many of the bricks used to build the City of Chicago were manufactured by the Kalo Brick & Tile Company. Stoneware companies like Fort Dodge Pottery and Fort Dodge Stoneware Company are highly sought after collectables.

Additional Iowa history included in the tour is the Spirit Lake Massacre that killed 38 settlers including James and Mary Mattock and their five children. Students learn about how a relief expedition was ordered and departed from Fort Dodge, led by Major William Williams. The expedition identified and buried the victims and made an attempt to find the perpetrators of the horrible massacre. More about the history leading up and after the Spirit Lake Massacre is located at the Fort Museum.

Not to be forgotten is the greatest hoax of all time and the history of the Cardiff Giant. A replica of the Cardiff Giant and the story behind how it was made from gypsum mined in Fort Dodge and carved to be a petrified giant later to be “discovered” in Cardiff, New York can be found at the Fort Museum. The story continues with P.T. Barnum becoming involved and making the exhibition a highly discussed topic by students and other tour groups.

Scheduled tours for 2015 information is available by contacting the Fort Museum at 515-573-4231 or visit them at The Fort Museum is located in Fort Dodge, IA at the corner of Highway 169 and Business Highway 20 and is open for tour from April to October. The Opera House is available all year for tour groups and activities. The Fort Museum is dedicated to preserving our history and heritage for future generations.

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Fort Museum Director
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Cheryl O'Hern
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