WILTON, Iowa–Several years ago during a very hot Iowa State Fair, Wilton Candy Kitchen co-owner Brenda Ochiltree remembers seeing an attraction that looked both like a cool to visit and a good place to cool down. Ochiltree had stumbled upon the Iowa History 1010 Mobile Museum, a traveling exhibit put on by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the State Historical Society of Iowa. Intrigued, Ochiltree and her husband, a former history major and collector of Wilton artifacts, went in, and right away, they knew they wanted to bring it to Wilton.
For the past two years, Ochiltree worked with the State Historical Society to get the Mobile Museum to visit, and she had plans all set for it to come during 2020. However, the pandemic forced her to reschedule, instead arranging for it to come during the 40th annual Wilton Founder’s Day celebration Aug. 20-22.
When the Mobile Museum arrived in Wilton for the weekend, both Ochiltree and Wilton residents welcomed its visit. “People are really happy that it’s here,” remarked Ochiltree. “I think that the State of Iowa has done a good job setting it up and putting things together.”
Throughout the weekend, volunteers from the Muscatine County Historic Preservation Commission staffed the mobile museum, tallying the number of people who visited and keeping it from getting too crowded. Friday afternoon alone, 25 adults and 9 kids visited the museum. Commission Chair Bill Koellner felt pleased with that start and predicted the mobile museum would remain popular throughout its visit. “I expect by Sunday the numbers will be tremendous,” he speculated.