Fort Des Moines Museum

Fort Des Moines Museum Welcome to the Official page of the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center. 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.
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Operating as usual

Historical Snapshots
11/15/2020

Historical Snapshots

“There is so much to know in this world. And it is such a pleasure for me to learn. Besides, a cultivated man would never say, ‘I finished my education’ just because he graduated from college.”

John Morton-Finney was a US solider during WWI, a recipient of 11 degrees, a lawyer, he was fluent in seven languages and was a teacher and high school principal in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He received his last degree at the age of 75 and practiced law until he was 107 years old.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Morton-Finney / https://www.butler.edu/diversity/morton-finney-leadership-program / https://www.ibj.com/articles/john-morton-finney-educator-attorney-and-lifelong-learner

11/10/2020

On Nov. 11, we pause to honor those who have served our country. The Fort Des Moines Museum is dedicated to remembering the men and women who serve our country every day. Help support our mission by donating to the museum today!

Thank you to Sen. Ernst's office for helping us raise awareness for The Fort Des Moines Museum!
https://youtu.be/FxdocGLCfdc

Join us for our virtual Massing of the Colors event tomorrow at 11am!
11/06/2020

Join us for our virtual Massing of the Colors event tomorrow at 11am!

11/06/2020

Support the Fort Des Moines Museum when you shop at Hy-Vee. For every red "My Heart" reusable bag purchased at the East Army Post Road Hy-Vee in the month of November, the Fort Des Moines Museum will receive a $1 donation.

Calling all Color Guards!
10/21/2020

Calling all Color Guards!

In this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19, supporting local non-profits has never been more important. As you make ess...
10/01/2020

In this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19, supporting local non-profits has never been more important. As you make essential trips to the grocery store, you can purchase a $2.50 reusable Red, "My Heart" Bag at the Hy-Vee located at 1107 East Army Post Road, Des Moines, Iowa in November to send Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center a $1 donation.

The Six Triple Eight documentary
09/22/2020

The Six Triple Eight documentary

May 30, 1922 -
September 21, 2020
🙏🏿#RIP #Angel 🙏🏿
With great sadness and sorrow we share the passing of 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion #WW2 #veteran Ms. Indiana-Hunt Martin, 98. Memorial details not yet available. #RestinParadise #RestinPower #RestinPeace
#SixTripleEight

The Six Triple Eight documentary
09/17/2020

The Six Triple Eight documentary

Happy 97th Birthday to Ms. Deloris Ruddock, a member of the legendary "SixTripleEight" the only all-black female battalion (855 women) to serve overseas during WWII. Stationed in Birmingham, England and Rouen, France, they processed for delivery over 17 million pieces of mail in 8 months.

100 years of Women’s Equality!
08/29/2020

100 years of Women’s Equality!

Today commemorates 100 years since the passage of women's suffrage in the U.S. Women have been serving this great nation far longer than having the right to vote. I couldn’t be more proud of these courageous women who continue to serve in our ranks. #WeAreStrongerTogether #100YearsOfWomensEqualityDay

Huge THANKS 🙌👏🤩to our volunteer workforce this past Saturday! 9:00am-1:00pm! We made great progress on sprucing up our b...
08/27/2020

Huge THANKS 🙌👏🤩to our volunteer workforce this past Saturday! 9:00am-1:00pm! We made great progress on sprucing up our beautiful grounds. It wasn’t difficult to maintain social distancing while getting a lot done!
(I captured a visitor observing us with his huge bulging eyes! I think he approved!)
You can help, too! https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-fort-des-moines-museum

08/13/2020
U.S. Army Fort Lee

U.S. Army Fort Lee

Recording of the Fort Lee's Women's Equality Day Observance, broadcast live from the U.S. Army Women's Museum in recognition of 100 years of Women's Suffrage. The event was hosted by the 59th Ordnance Brigade and the Fort Lee Equal Opportunity Office, featuring special guest speaker Brig. Gen. Michelle Letcher, Chief of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.

Amazing!
07/21/2020

Amazing!

Good Morning! #OTD the first OCS class starts training at Fort Des Moines anniversary.

35,000 applicants applied for the first 1000 positions in the WAAC. In August, the first group of 440 Officer Candidates, 40 of whom were African-American, graduated from training. This ushered in a new era in United States Army. At the urging of Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt, black women are admitted into the first class of officer candidates. Civil rights proponents understood that the officer corps presents the biggest opportunity to test integration in the Army. Did you go through OCS? Let's hear about your experience.

The Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center is now open by appointment. Please contact us via Facebook to schedule a...
07/12/2020

The Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center is now open by appointment. Please contact us via Facebook to schedule an appointment. All visitors must follow our health and safety guidelines.

Happy WAAC to WAC Day! On this date in 1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Public Law 110 which abolished the Auxiliary st...
07/01/2020

Happy WAAC to WAC Day! On this date in 1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Public Law 110 which abolished the Auxiliary status (the extra "A") of the Women's Army Corps. From this date forward, women who joined the WAC would be given the full rank, privileges and benefits that their male counterparts received throughout the duration of the war and veteran's benefits upon their separation of service.

At this time, many organizational changes were being made to integrate the WAC into the Army. But the most visible changes for recruitment purposes were to the WAC uniform. Due to their Auxiliary status, the WAAC were unable to use the Army Eagle as their emblem of branch affiliation. This had led to the creation of "The Buzzard" (as it was affectionately nicknamed), or, officially, "The Rising Eagle" along with Pallas Athena as the WAAC symbol. Upon integration, the WAC dropped The Buzzard for cap badges and buttons and replaced them with the official US Army Eagle to match the men. A shoulder patch denoting the wearer as a WAAC was also removed from all uniforms, symbolizing the wearers rank to be treated according to the US Army code of conduct.

A number of those African-American lawyers met and were trained at Fort Des Moines.
06/20/2020

A number of those African-American lawyers met and were trained at Fort Des Moines.

Today, Drake University Law School students met at the Iowa State Capitol and walked to “A Monumental Journey.” The sculpture honors the founders of the National Bar Association, which included 12 courageous African-American attorneys who — in Des Moines, IA — changed the course of American history in 1925.

Drake Law School’s Black Law Student Association and Drake OUTLaws (LGBTQ law student organization) organized the event with the intent to walk with unfamiliar faces and further dialogue.

Major Adams was training new Black female recruits for the Women's Army Corps at Fort Des Moines before she was given co...
06/17/2020
The Black Female Battalion That Stood Up to a White Male Army

Major Adams was training new Black female recruits for the Women's Army Corps at Fort Des Moines before she was given command of the Six Triple Eight. Read on to learn more about her accomplishments and the challenges of overseas leadership in a segregated Army during WWII.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/17/magazine/6888th-battalion-charity-adams.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR0dNKmOZrwhGVWdzSvxA-g32PpjtWfYAr45AZKJW5Bh8XFzyqfhdqssMME

The unit was set up to determine the value black women brought to the military. They ultimately ran the fastest mail service in the European Theater during World War II.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
05/19/2020

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Despite facing challenges due to race and gender, more than 7,000 African American women served in World War II with the Women’s Army Corps (also known as WACs). African American women held a host of positions, ranging from nurses to spies to postal clerks. Becoming a WAC gave African American women an opportunity to achieve economic stability.

In early 1945, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, which was made up of 854 women drawn from WAC, was sent to sort and route mail intended for U.S. personnel held in warehouses in Birmingham, England. Nicknamed the “Six Triple Eight,” they created a new tracking system and cleared a six-month backlog of mail in just three months. In June 1945, the 6888 was sent to Rougen, France, where they faced and processed an even larger backlog. The 6888 challenged stereotypes and ushered in a shift with regard to racial and gender roles in the military. #HiddenHerstory #MilitaryAppreciationMonth #APeoplesJourney

If you can't make it to Fort Lee, this is the next best thing. Great museum!
05/18/2020

If you can't make it to Fort Lee, this is the next best thing. Great museum!

The virtual tour of the United States Army Women’s Museum is LIVE! After a museum expansion and a complete re-design of all the galleries in 2018, we are pleased to offer everyone the ability to enjoy the museum, even if they can't make it to Ft Lee. This immersive 360 degree tour offers a first person point of view to create an experience for the viewer as if they are
in the gallery, no matter what device they are using. In addition, the tour incorporates nearly 70 clickable “hotspots” that embed detailed information such as text, photos, and videos right inside the 360 image to enhance the viewer experience. We hope you’ll enjoy! https://www.virtually-anywhere.net/tours/usarmy/womensmuseum/vtour/index.html

05/14/2020
WAACS

WAACS

(31 Dec 1943) The WAACS Are One Year Old The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps celebrates its first birthday, its initial force of 25,000 now numbering 150,000. S...

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
05/14/2020

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

One of the most renowned units of African American combat troops was the highly decorated 369th Infantry Regiment — best known as the “Harlem Hellfighters."

During World War I, there were minimal combat roles for African Americans—as many white American soldiers refused to serve with black soldiers—until the 369th Infantry Regiment was assigned to fight under the 16th Division of the French Army.

The regiment was originally nicknamed the “Black Rattlers” for the rattlesnake insignia that adorned their uniforms, and they were called “Men of Bronze” by the French. It is believed that their German foes were the first to dub them “Hellfighters” for their courage and ferocity.

After the war, the French government awarded the coveted Croix de Guerre medal to 171 members of the regiment, as well as a Croix de Guerre citation to the entire unit. #MilitaryAppreciationMonth #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory

One of Fort Des Moines' most famous alumni! His legacy is part of our story.
05/12/2020

One of Fort Des Moines' most famous alumni! His legacy is part of our story.

After graduating from Ft. Des Moines, Lieutenant Charles Hamilton Houston trained at Fort Meade and was assigned a field artillery officer with the 368th Infantry Regiment.

At Meade and in France, he observed and received poor treatment and leadership from white officers and soldiers. Houston used that terrible experience to ensure future generations would not suffer the same indignities.

In 1919 he decided to become a lawyer, graduating from Harvard in 1924 before going to teach at Howard University. Houston began defending veterans as early as 1934 by taking on Army Chief of Staff General Douglass MacArthur about the prejudice that existed in the military and lack of Regular Army officer slots. #MilitaryAppreciationMonth #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
05/11/2020

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

World War I came on the heels of the Industrial Revolution, which enabled both sides to produce the largest arsenal of guns and shells that the world had ever seen.

Imperial powers mobilized nonwhite soldiers by the hundreds of thousands, while U.S. laws subjected African Americans to segregation and servitude.

As part of an agricultural economy devastated by boll weevil infestations, sharecropping kept many destitute and in a constant state of poverty.

Even though the military was segregated and unequal, many African Americans decided to support the war and fight for their right to full citizenship. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory #MilitaryAppreciationMonth

Charles Young seemed to be the obvious choice to lead the African-American men being trained as officers at Fort Des Moi...
05/11/2020

Charles Young seemed to be the obvious choice to lead the African-American men being trained as officers at Fort Des Moines, but was denied the opportunity. Read below to learn more!

Colonel Charles Young was the third black graduate of the United States Military Academy and went on to become the highest-ranking African American commanding officer at the beginning of World War I.

Young was forced into retirement during the summer of 1917 due to a medical condition. Many felt this act was the government’s way of ensuring that Young would not be allowed to lead troops during the Great War, maintaining his colonel rank and thereby becoming eligible for promotion to general officer.

Like the Regular Army enlisted Buffalo Soldiers with whom he served, Colonel Young was denied his desire to serve his country as a combat officer among soldiers and reach his full potential. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory #MilitaryAppreciationMonth

05/09/2020
Deeds Not Words

Spend 15 minutes learning the amazing story of the African-American officers trained at Fort Des Moines! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTujzpK6RZc

Video short about the World War 1 Black Officers Training Camp at Fort Des Moines, made by Jack Lufkin and Mark Heggen for the Fort Des Moines Museum and Edu...

05/06/2020
U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command

Great video from our friends at the U.S. Army Women's Museum. Charity Adams was a Ft. DSM graduate!

Approximately 800 members of the 6888th Central Postal Delivery Battalion deployed to Europe in early 1945 to deal with a backlog of nearly 7 millions pieces of mail. They were led by Lt. Col. Charity Adams.

"After dealing with the backlog, they stayed in Europe in 1945 to continue to deal with the mail for U.S. forces there," said Jimmy Price, U.S. Army Women's Museum Director of Education . "And Lt. Col. Adams becamse the first African-American woman in Army history to achieve that rank."

This week marks the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, and we will be highlighting the impacts made by logistics units and Soldiers. Support Starts Here!

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command U.S. Army Combined Arms Center US Army Transportation School (Official) Quartermaster School United States Army Ordnance Corps Army Logistics University U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute @arU.S. Army Center of Military History

U.S. Army Women's Museum
05/06/2020

U.S. Army Women's Museum

Today is #NationalNursesDay, and we’d like to pay tribute to all of the women who have served as Army nurses since 1775! Pictured below are some of the uniforms worn by members of the Army Nurse Corps during World Wars I and II. Uniforms were one of the primary ways in which the polished image of an Army woman was portrayed. The styles, designed by women for women, changed with the fashions of the time, some mirroring the look of male uniforms in color and cut and sometimes differing significantly by reflecting the most popular civilian styles.

05/04/2020

Like many non-profits, the Fort Des Moines Museum is struggling to pay our bills in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were forced to cancel several revenue-generating tours and presentations, and could use your help to make it through this difficult time. If you can afford to give, please consider contributing to our museum via our GoFundMe page or the Facebook donate button.

U.S. Army Women's Museum
05/04/2020

U.S. Army Women's Museum

May 8, 1945 – Victory in Europe (V-E) Day. Seventy-five years ago this Friday, German troops laid down their arms and surrendered to Allied Forces. This day was celebrated with multiple parades and ceremonies in Europe and at home by GIs and WACs alike. Much like we did with our “Voices of Liberation” series last month, we will be featuring several posts and videos that highlight Army women’s experiences on this momentous occasion. This photo’s caption reads, “French civilians in Reims, France, the site of the German surrender, applaud American soldiers and WACs on parade during V-E Day celebration.” #VEDay75 #WeRemember #CMHRemembers #NeverForget #Armyhistory #WWII75

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
05/01/2020

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

In choosing to serve in the military, African Americans sought to have their service understood by the nation as a demand for liberty and citizenship.

African American men and women who engaged in the military made their service useful not only for the good of their country, but to benefit both their personal lives and their community.

From the American Revolution through the American Civil War, African Americans participated in every major war, beginning a ninety-five-year period of struggle and military service to the nation that culminated in “freedom.”

Join us this month as we explore the African American military experience at home and abroad in honor of #MilitaryAppreciationMonth. #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory #DoubleVictory

Address

75 E Army Post Rd
Des Moines, IA
50315

Opening Hours

Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

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