Current weather conditions

Click for Dexter, Iowa Forecast

Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."




     There are few things that I really let bother me. Usually I can just muddle along in peace and not get my boat rocked too many times, but this past week has been a rough one. I’ve gone from sadness to anger and back again a half dozen times without fail at any point in the day and unfortunately I’m not the only person to feel this way.

     It was announced early last week that the Floppy display at the Iowa Historical Museum would be taken down and Floppy would be put into storage. This announcement, which was made with a weeks’ notice, created a storm of controversy amongst the people of central Iowa and on social media sites like Facebook. Hours after the announcement, the group Save Floppy was started on Facebook and within four days it had reached over 5000 members. The group told stories, posted photos, and discussed the ways they could reach out to the powers that be, to reverse the decision to put Floppy away.

     Any of us of a certain age has a Floppy story. I never was lucky enough to appear on the show, which I was told earned you a bottle of Mt. Dew and Highland Potato chips, but I do remember seeing him at the State Fair one time. That meeting was quite spellbinding only because I had only known of Floppy in black and white as we didn’t have a color television. Regardless of my lack of being able to beep his nose and ask him “why the man put the car in the oven”, the connection to Floppy was strong.

     I remember Floppy being on at 12:30 in the afternoon and again at 3:30. It seems to me that I would have watched both until I went to first grade, then after that would have been excited to catch the last part of the show as our bus usually dropped us off around 3:45. But on sick days and in the summer, certainly it was one show my brothers and I watched with relish.

     It is interesting to me that I can remember that after all this time. Other shows I remember watching were Betty Lou and the Magic Window and a show on channel 8 with Dolph. I don’t remember much about Dolph’s show, but Betty Lou taught us about crafts and cellophane tape. In fact I am quite certain there were arguments in many more homes than ours with a parent who wanted us to use “Scotch” tape instead of “cellophane” tape to make our crafts.

     Before I get to far off track, let me come back to ground zero with my thoughts about the situation with the museum issue. I certainly understand the need for preservation, and certainly Floppy and friends deserve that protection, however I think there is a larger issue with the State Museum.

     Iowa is a great place as we have tons of small and interesting museums that dot the state, however shouldn’t our largest and most important museum be our best one? Those who remember reading about my trip to St. Joseph and the museum there and who have also visited may understand what I am saying here.

     The Floppy display isn’t the display in the most need of repair. The permanent display about Iowa that has been there since the opening needs attention. Missing signs, audio/video buttons and displays that no longer work, and hands on display that need serious attention also need to be looked at. In fact while we are talking about it, maybe there needs to be a discussion about finding a new home for a state museum. When the museum was in the now named Babcock building, it was an interesting place although in those days I don’t think as much pressure was put on preservation and conservation of items as there are today. Today the museum seems a bit stale, and full of unused space that has become a fund raising arm as rental space.

     So today if you visit, the Floppy display (as well as the gift shop which was a really great place to find things you couldn’t anywhere else) is now gone. The museum curator and entire staff have created a complete public relations nightmare which they may never fully recover from. I’m sure that they probably hope that as time passes, the Floppy fanatics will forget what is going on and kind of shuffle along down the street, but the damage has already been done.

     Maybe the only positive to come out of this entire issue, is that now there is starting to be discussion about the Historical Museum and the heritage you and I share. In the end, history is easily locked away in a basement bunker to be saved forever, but for any of us, who share a memory for a dog in a box, we will never forget how we feel and the influence that Floppy had on our childhoods.

See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.