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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Vets' "blinking map" returns

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

DES MOINES -- The giant blinking map that once hung from the east wall at Veterans Memorial Auditorium during state high school basketball tournaments has made its way back to the Iowa Events Center.

The map was unveiled at the Iowa Hall of Pride interactive museum on Tuesday, August 28.

The blinking board that harkens memories from more than 50 years of tournaments has been reconditioned, re-wired and has re-emerged in a prominent location, right behind the admissions desk in the lobby of the Iowa Hall of Pride.

A decision was made earlier this year by the Hall of Pride to accept the map as a possible exhibit. With the financial assistance of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, and the Iowa Association of School Boards, the giant map was reconditioned and will be available for all Iowans to view.

"There really wasn't a place for it in Wells Fargo Arena during the basketball tournaments and so there was some thought that it should be discarded," said Jack Lashier, Iowa Hall of Pride Director.

However, once Iowans learned of its fate through a series of newspaper articles, many expressed their desire to save the map as it represents so much history to so many Iowans.

After a few phone calls and some thoughtful consideration, the Iowa Hall of Pride took on the project to bring the map to the public once again.

There were some issues with the electrical work and general condition of the map that needed to be upgraded or fixed. A Des Moines based company, Architectural Arts, has been in the process of renovating it over the last several months.

"It's a nice piece of Iowa memorabilia -- a lot of young people and not so young have played in front of the lighted map," said Lashier.

One of the unique twists to the project will be a photo opportunity with the map. Thanks to a donation from the Principal Financial Group Foundation,

Inc., Iowans will be able to have their picture taken in front of the map and receive the photograph at no charge. The camera and equipment for the photos should be in place by the first week of September.

"The Iowa Girls' High School Athletic Union is grateful to the Iowa Association of School Boards for their generous offer to help finance refurbishment of the state map," said Troy Dannen, IGHSAU Executive Director. "We are equally appreciative of Principal Financial Group for stepping forward to ensure sports enthusiasts and those with an appreciation of Iowa history can have their picture taken alongside the map as so many hundreds of high school athletes have done throughout the years. The Iowa Hall of Pride is the perfect venue for these organizations to come together to provide a present day opportunity to experience a part of history."

A project of the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), the Iowa Hall of Pride opened two years ago and is located in downtown Des Moines. The museum's All Iowa KIDS FREE Program provides free youth admissions for all Iowa kids through 12th grade. Adult admission is $5.

The facility offers dozens of interactive, hands-on exhibits honoring past and present Iowa high school students involved in extracurricular activities including athletics, academics, and the arts. The museum was designed to celebrate notable graduates and their achievements in all Iowa communities over the past 100-plus years!

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