Fort Des Moines Museum

Fort Des Moines Museum Welcome to the Official page of the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center.
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The Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center preserves and promotes the history of the African American men who served in World War I and the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) of World War II.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
02/08/2020

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

#OnThisDay in 1922, Colonel Charles Young, an honorary member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the first black man to achieve the rank of colonel in the United States Army, passed away. Young was also the first black U.S. national park superintendent and the first black military attaché. Young was forced into retirement during the summer of 1917 because of a medical condition. Many African Americans and white supporters felt this act was the government’s way of ensuring he would not be allowed to lead troops during the war, maintaining his colonel rank and thereby becoming eligible for promotion to general officer. Like the Regular Army Buffalo Soldiers with whom he served for more than 20 years, Young was denied his desire to serve his country as a combat officer and reach his full potential.⠀ ⠀

Visit our We Return Fighting exhibit to learn more about the life experiences of African Americans during the World War I era (1913 to 1920) both abroad and at home, and how the war fundamentally transformed black life in the 20th century. The exhibit features three sections, 26 themes, nine media pieces, a photography gallery, and an interactive engagement anchored in nine African American historical luminary personalities. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory⠀

Learn more about the exhibit here: https://s.si.edu/2QxUc2d

Regrettably, the Fort Des Moines Museum will not be open this Saturday, January 25th, due to inclement weather. Hope to ...
01/24/2020

Regrettably, the Fort Des Moines Museum will not be open this Saturday, January 25th, due to inclement weather. Hope to see you there another Saturday soon.

The Fort Des Moines Museum will be CLOSED this Saturday, January 18, 2020, due to the weather forecast for winter storm ...
01/15/2020

The Fort Des Moines Museum will be CLOSED this Saturday, January 18, 2020, due to the weather forecast for winter storm warning this weekend.

CLOSED!! As we watch the snow begin to accumulate, and with an eye on the forecast, the decision has been made to not op...
01/10/2020

CLOSED!! As we watch the snow begin to accumulate, and with an eye on the forecast, the decision has been made to not open the Fort Des Moines Museum tomorrow, Saturday, January 11, 2020, due to weather.
Stay home and be safe! We hope to see you on another Saturday!

12/03/2019

It is Giving Tuesday! Please consider donating to the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center. Your contributions ensure that the stories of the men and women who served at the fort are not forgotten!

Dive into December with us tomorrow and visit the fort on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. to learn more about the brave ...
11/30/2019

Dive into December with us tomorrow and visit the fort on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. to learn more about the brave men and women who served in World War I and World War II.

#FortDesMoines #WorldWarI #WorldWarII

Members of the Board of the Fort Des Moines Museum gratefully receive a check and support from Paul Tyler, Trustee of th...
11/15/2019

Members of the Board of the Fort Des Moines Museum gratefully receive a check and support from Paul Tyler, Trustee of the W.T. and Edna M Dahl Trust. Huge thanks for the first Landmark Donation to help ensure the Museum’s future!

Happy Veterans Day! We salute you!
11/11/2019

Happy Veterans Day! We salute you!

Massing of the ColorsColor guards participating in today’s ceremony were U.S. Navy Operations Center - Des Moines, Iowa ...
11/02/2019

Massing of the Colors

Color guards participating in today’s ceremony were U.S. Navy Operations Center - Des Moines, Iowa Air National Guard- 132d Wing Honor Guard, and the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

Fort Des Moines Museum
11/01/2019

Fort Des Moines Museum

PLEASE JOIN US Saturday, November 2nd, 2019, for Fort Des Moines Museum’s third annual MASSING OF THE COLORS.
Color guard units will gather at 10:00am. The ceremony will begin at 11:00am on the Museum grounds, located at 75 E. Army Post Road, Des Moines.
Free admission. The public is invited!

This is a patriotic ceremony to salute our servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans, while also honoring the legacy of those men and women who trained at Fort Des Moines in the last century.

PLEASE JOIN US Saturday, November 2nd, 2019, for Fort Des Moines Museum’s third annual MASSING OF THE COLORS. Color guar...
10/24/2019

PLEASE JOIN US Saturday, November 2nd, 2019, for Fort Des Moines Museum’s third annual MASSING OF THE COLORS.
Color guard units will gather at 10:00am. The ceremony will begin at 11:00am on the Museum grounds, located at 75 E. Army Post Road, Des Moines.
Free admission. The public is invited!

This is a patriotic ceremony to salute our servicemen, servicewomen, and veterans, while also honoring the legacy of those men and women who trained at Fort Des Moines in the last century.

Huge thanks to Paul Tyler and the Dahl Trust for generous financial support!
10/16/2019

Huge thanks to Paul Tyler and the Dahl Trust for generous financial support!

Chapel service was held for the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at the Fort Des Moines Museum Chapel. The beau...
09/23/2019

Chapel service was held for the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at the Fort Des Moines Museum Chapel.

The beauty of the chapel and the hand painted details truly impress it’s visitors.

Patriot Day 9/11May we honor and never forget!
09/11/2019

Patriot Day 9/11

May we honor and never forget!

This Patriot Day marks the 18th anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks. Join the USO in remembering those who have fallen and sacrificed for our country and honoring those who continue to serve today. #NeverForget

Volunteer Day September 14We recognize that not everyone can help financially support the museum but we could use your t...
09/10/2019

Volunteer Day September 14

We recognize that not everyone can help financially support the museum but we could use your talents.

There is a lot of work to be done at the museum to maintain it. Come join us as an individual or with friends to clean up the museum Saturday, September 14 from 10 a.m. - noon.

09/05/2019

The piano in the Fort Des Moines Museum chapel still sounds beautiful!

Sisters, Meghan and Caelainn, visited the museum today to help promote their mother at a ceremony in the chapel. Afterwa...
09/03/2019

Sisters, Meghan and Caelainn, visited the museum today to help promote their mother at a ceremony in the chapel.

Afterwards, they enjoyed our interactive exhibits.

Life remembered The “Greatest Generation” cannot be forgotten! It’s our duty to keep telling their story long after they...
08/31/2019

Life remembered

The “Greatest Generation” cannot be forgotten! It’s our duty to keep telling their story long after they are unable.

LIFE REMEMBERED: Dorothy Dwyer, who worked for Gen. Dwight Eisenhower as one of the first women shipped overseas during World War II, has died. She was 98.

Dwyer’s family will remember her for her loving, adventurous and humorous spirit, as well as for her love for gardening and serving her country.

In an recent interview, Dwyer shared a few of her photographs and memories from her military service, including a snapshot of Winston Churchill and the time she literally ran into French Gen. Charles de Gaulle in a hallway.

Dwyer was part of the first step in the offensive against Hitler’s European fortress, when the Allies moved their forces into North Africa in 1943.

At that point, she was working in the nerve center of the Allied effort in Europe and Africa.

“Churchill was there a lot to meet with Eisenhower,” she told The Columbian. “I was going around a corner and walked into the stomach of Gen. de Gaulle,” who stood about 6-foot-5.

“I saluted and left.”

Back then, she was Dorothy Grassby, and had enlisted Oct. 1, 1942, in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps — forerunner of the Women’s Army Corps (WACs).

Dwyer was previously part of the Boston area’s aircraft warning system, where she would listen for airplane engines and report anything that didn’t sound like an American plane. She also registered military-aged men for the draft. That’s when she started thinking about joining herself.

“I was four months short of 21, but they needed us,” she said in 2009. “Dad said it was too dangerous. I went anyway.”

She completed basic training at a former Army cavalry post, Fort Des Moines, Iowa. In the summer of 1943, Dwyer’s unit boarded the SS Santa Rosa, an ocean liner that had been converted into a troop ship. They landed at the Mediterranean port of Oran, Algeria, on Aug. 21, 1943, then boarded a train for Algiers.

Later in her career, Dwyer joined the staff of Gen. Benjamin Chidlaw, deputy commanding general of the 12th Tactical Air Command. Her job was to write letters home to the families of people killed or missing in action.

“No two letters could be the same,” she remembered. “It was a hard job. Another GI and I did that.”

Dwyer served until June 1945, according to her family.

May God welcome you into your Eternal Rest, Mrs. Dorothy Dwyer, we humbly thank you for your bravery, dedication and leadership during your service in World War II. The world owes you a great debt of gratitude.

R.I.P., Mrs. Dwyer. Truly one of Our Greatest Generation.

The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation
“Where Every Day is MEMORIAL DAY”
Web: www.TGGF.org

The energy and excitement of the Soldiers and Sailors was contagious yesterday as they learned about the historic events...
08/27/2019

The energy and excitement of the Soldiers and Sailors was contagious yesterday as they learned about the historic events that happened at Fort Des Moines.

It was also a reminder that history is still happening here, as the fort is still alive with Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

So happy to have the Soldiers and Sailors who are currently serving at Fort Des Moines at the museum today to commemorat...
08/26/2019

So happy to have the Soldiers and Sailors who are currently serving at Fort Des Moines at the museum today to commemorate #WomensEqualityDay

#WomensEqualityDay was recognized by the 103rd ESC Soldiers and Navy Reserve Center staff Sailors by visiting the Fort Des Moines Museum to learn about the history of the first Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC) training center.

Congress approved the creation of WAAC on May 14, 1942. The first women arrived at the first WAAC training center at Fort Des Moines July 20, 1942. Amoung them were 125 enlisted women and 440 officer candidates.

Fort DSM is doing some summer cleaning! All items must be picked up at the fort on Saturdays from 10am - 4pm. Fort DSM v...
07/23/2019

Fort DSM is doing some summer cleaning!

All items must be picked up at the fort on Saturdays from 10am - 4pm. Fort DSM volunteers will not be available to help load larger items so please plan accordingly. Items must also be paid for in cash and sales will benefit the museum.

Fort DSM is doing some summer cleaning!

All items must be picked up at the fort on Saturdays from 10am - 4pm. Fort DSM volunteers will not be available to help load larger items so please plan accordingly. Items must also be paid for in cash and sales will benefit the museum.

Our new ramp is nearly installed, making the museum accessible to everyone. Thank you to those who contributed to the pr...
07/22/2019

Our new ramp is nearly installed, making the museum accessible to everyone. Thank you to those who contributed to the project!

Field Day 2019 specially-commissioned mug presented to Matthew Harvey, President of the FtDMMuseum Board of Directors, b...
07/14/2019

Field Day 2019 specially-commissioned mug presented to Matthew Harvey, President of the FtDMMuseum Board of Directors, by the ARRL/American Radio Relay League's Dennis O'Brien.

So happy the family of Fort Des Moines WAC Theresa "Billee" Davis could visit the fort after seeing "Billee" recognized ...
06/15/2019

So happy the family of Fort Des Moines WAC Theresa "Billee" Davis could visit the fort after seeing "Billee" recognized with a Women of Achievement Award last week!

Thank you to Sara Maniscalco Robinson of Iowa Veterans' Perspective for a great presentation on the 75th Anniversary of ...
06/07/2019

Thank you to Sara Maniscalco Robinson of Iowa Veterans' Perspective for a great presentation on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day!

Great article at Smithsonian.com about the 404th WAC Band - the first all African-American, female band in United States...
03/29/2019
Seventy-Five Years Ago, the Military’s Only All-Black Female Band Battled the War Department and Won

Great article at Smithsonian.com about the 404th WAC Band - the first all African-American, female band in United States Army History. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/seventy-five-years-ago-militarys-only-all-black-female-band-won-victory-against-war-department-180971815/

The women of the 404th Armed Service Forces band raised morale and funds for the military, but they had to fight discrimination to do so

Check out this awesome event to learn more about the history of Fort Des Moines! Free to the public!#IowaNationalGuardHi...
02/16/2019

Check out this awesome event to learn more about the history of Fort Des Moines! Free to the public!

#IowaNationalGuardHistory #FortDesMoines

Come out to the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. to hear Paul Bridgford speak about the history of Fort Des Moines - for free! ⭐️ Bridgford spent two years as the administrator of the Fort Des Moines Museum. His presentation will include photos of the post's activities during the World Wars. 🖼 #IowaGoldStarMilitaryMuseum #IowaNationalGuardHistory #FortDesMoines

02/02/2019

Unfortunately, the Fort Des Moines Museum will be closed today (February 2nd). We will be open again on Saturday, Feb. 9th. Hope to see everyone next weekend!

Captain Benjamin Davis, Jr., commanded the Tuskegee Airmen, and in 1954, became the first black general officer of the A...
02/01/2019

Captain Benjamin Davis, Jr., commanded the Tuskegee Airmen, and in 1954, became the first black general officer of the Air Force.

Take a walk through history by following our detailed timelines and learn about the unique men and women who shaped history through their service.

Open tomorrow from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Celebrate the start of #BlackHistoryMonth by bringing your family and friends to the fort!

#WorldWarI #WorldWarII #FortDesMoines

01/25/2019

The Fort Des Moines Museum will be closed Saturday, January 26th. We will be open again on Saturday, Feb. 2nd.

01/18/2019

Turn your sound on to check out one of our unique displays at the fort!

Lt. James Reese Europe was the first African American to lead U.S. troops into battle in World War I. He also led a 99-piece military band and introduced American jazz to Europeans while he was stationed in France!

Visit the fort and play some of Europe's music while walking through our exhibits! We're open tomorrow from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. See you soon!

#WorldWarI #FortDesMoines #Jazz

01/12/2019

Due to inclement weather, the museum will be closed the remainder of Saturday, January 12th. We will re-open next Saturday!

Spend this snowy Saturday at the fort! Walk through our interactive exhibits, learn more about the first class of Africa...
01/12/2019

Spend this snowy Saturday at the fort! Walk through our interactive exhibits, learn more about the first class of African American officers at Fort Des Moines, and take a look at the groundbreaking women who went through training at the fort during World War II.

We're open today from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Hope to see you soon!

#WorldWarI #WorldWarII #FortDesMoines

"Big Nemms" served in the 366th Infantry,92nd Division during World War I. He was briefly stationed in France when this ...
01/04/2019

"Big Nemms" served in the 366th Infantry,92nd Division during World War I. He was briefly stationed in France when this photograph was taken.

Detailed timelines, artifacts, and photographs offer visitors a better understanding of the fort's important role throughout history. Learn more about the fort by visiting on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

#WorldWarI #FortDesMoines #History

After World War I, James B. Morris returned to Des Moines and purchased a local newspaper called "The Bystander". Under ...
12/28/2018

After World War I, James B. Morris returned to Des Moines and purchased a local newspaper called "The Bystander". Under his leadership, the newspaper advocated for equal opportunities and civil rights. Morris also graduated as a second lieutenant in the first black officer class from Fort Des Moines.

Learn more about the lives and stories of those who served at Fort Des Moines by visiting the museum on Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

#FortDesMoines #TheBystander #WorldWarI

This cookbook was issued to Helen Harwitz at Fort Des Moines in 1941 and includes recipes for jelly doughnuts, cinnamon ...
12/08/2018

This cookbook was issued to Helen Harwitz at Fort Des Moines in 1941 and includes recipes for jelly doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, beef fritters, chicken stew with dumplings, and more. Bon appétit!

Visit the fort from 10 AM - 4 PM today and learn more about the lifestyles of the men and women who served at Fort Des Moines throughout history!

#FortDesMoines #WorldWarII #History

Dive into December with us tomorrow and visit the fort from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. to learn more about the brave men and women...
11/30/2018

Dive into December with us tomorrow and visit the fort from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. to learn more about the brave men and women who served in World War I and World War II.

#FortDesMoines #WorldWarI #WorldWarII

Thank you to the Wells Fargo Museum for inviting us to present some WWI artifacts at their exhibit opening featuring WWI...
11/30/2018

Thank you to the Wells Fargo Museum for inviting us to present some WWI artifacts at their exhibit opening featuring WWI Liberty Bond posters and artwork.

Address

75 E Army Post Rd
Des Moines, IA
50315

Opening Hours

Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

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