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artifacts from collection


The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is a Federal Law passed in 1990 to protect Native American graves, human remains, and certain items of cultural importance. For centuries, colonizers looted Indigenous Peoples’ graves and sacred sites to display and research human remains, and other cultural artifacts without permission. NAGPRA sought to correct this at the institutions that receive federal funding.

Garrison Cap

While summer doesn’t formally end this year until the autumnal equinox on September 23, Labor Day marks the unofficial close of summer for many. Celebrated on the first Monday of September, the resulting three-day weekend for Labor Day offers a last hurrah of summer.

Wool Swimming Suits

Nothing says summer like a day on the water in Dubuque!

While the warm temperatures in Iowa haven’t changed over the years, the swimming suits have! In the 1920s, swimsuits looked more like one-piece jumpsuits and were made of knitted wool! This month’s Collection Spotlight are these wool swimsuits donated and worn by Mary Ann Andresen, her mother, and her father.

Lillian Clark Cary Poem

The Dubuque County Historical Society recently welcomed a donation of archival materials relating to Lillian Clark Cary, a prominent Dubuque woman known for her civic engagement and patriotism in the early 20th century. The donation consists of two scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings of Lillian Clark Cary’s poetry and coverage of current events and her civic endeavors.

Anti-Slavery Alphabet Pamphlet

A group of like-minded women banded together in Philadelphia in December of 1846 to rally around a cause they held dear- the abolition of slavery. The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society (PFASS) organized annual anti-slavery fairs, fundraising for abolitionism and using the event as a platform to sway others to the cause. Their members lobbied for emancipation, organized boycotts of goods manufactured by enslaved peoples, and published anti-slavery literature.

Bertha Lincoln Heustis's Mink Capelet

Dubuque and its residents are no stranger to fur and fur fashion. This mink capelet from 1910 belonged to the fascinating and fashionable Bertha Lincoln Heustis. Born in 1870 to Molly and Charles Perez Lincoln, a federal official and 4th cousin to President Lincoln, she led an exciting social life and had the fashion to match. Through her family connections and her own talents, Heustis received invitations to the White House from every administration from President Grant through Franklin Roosevelt.

Minn of the Mississippi

In recognition of March’s National Read Across America Day, this spotlight features a title from the Captain William D. Bowell, Sr. Library collection. Located in the National River Center, the Bowell Library holds over 4,000 books on topics ranging from navigation, river history and travel narratives, to cookbooks and novels.

19-foot Boa Skin

One of the best parts about working with historic collections is working with cool artifacts. We currently have 22,700 artifacts in our collection and a regular part of our job as a collections technicians is taking a closer look at them. Sometimes the most interesting finds are what’s underneath the artifact we were originally looking for. For example, this 19-foot leather snakeskin quickly caught our attention while looking at a nearby flag. Our museum is very familiar with snakes and other animals, but they are usually alive, making this an especially surprising find.

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