I’d visited the old Iowa Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa, several times, usually with Mom, so this new one was a compelling surprise. Curator Michael Vogt wrote an excellent introduction to the museum in the Iowa History Journal.
Artist John Neal (no relation) has completed several murals for this one, each one of which enhances the display it anchors.
John’s Civil War mural is the backdrop for the Civil War display at the Gold Star Museum.
Michael Vogt was recently interviewed about Iowa in the Civil War.
World War I
The damaged storefront houses a display of a WWI trench at night.
Artist John Neal next to his mural of a morning sky over a French airfield. They did have a couple of lion cubs as mascots.
World War II
The first photo shows the mural for the Pacific Theater exhibit, of landing on a Pacific Island. The second one is the completed exhibit.
The day my husband and I visited, John and his son Cameron (who is also an artist and musician) were working on the WWII mural. Nearby were several books they used for research.
The nose of this F-86, like the one piloted by Iowan Capt. Hal Fischer, is a fabrication. John completed the rest of the fighter on the curved wall of the exhibit. Marsden matting was used for runways and taxiways.
The completed Vietnam War exhibit with a mural by John Neal, who did a lot of research as he worked on each display.
This amazing exhibit is a replica of a nuclear submarine conning tower, with one of John’s murals wrapped around inside.
Here’s an award-winning virtual tour of the museum.
John Neal’s website shows more of his handsome and engaging artwork.
The Gold Star Museum has a YouTube Channel. The clips are not long, well-edited, treasures for all of us. If you enjoy them, please Like, Share and Subscribe.
Autographed copies of Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II have been donated so the Gold Star Museum may benefit from the proceeds. Find it in their gift shop.