May 2, 2014

The Danish-German border wars of 1848 and 1864 helped shape immigration to the United States as citizens fleeing the Schleswig-Holstein Province settled the Midwest.

Manning in particular owes much of its heritage to those immigrants, said Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park director Freda Dammann. The 1848 wave of immigration brought revolutionaries, while the 1864 wave brought Danes who found themselves under German rule following the Dano-Prussian War.

For the first two weeks of its 2014 season, the Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park will play host to a traveling exhibit - "Schleswig-Holstein: Turmoil on the Danish-German Border" - covering the impacts of those wars and the lives of select citizens who emigrated to the United States.

The multimedia exhibit includes six informational and photographic banners as well as video footage covering the lives of Iowan immigrants. It arrived Tuesday and will be on display through May 15.

To close the exhibit, the Hausbarn will offer a program from Julie Allen, professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, on May 15 at 7 p.m. Allen will talk in further detail about the political conflicts that led to the wars - many of which are equally relevant today as Russia and Ukraine face off in a territorial dispute, said Dammann.

Residents of the border regions - including the master carpenter who oversaw assembly of the Hausbarn in Manning - lived parts of their lives as Germans, and parts of their lives as Danes, as territory shifted hands, she added.

The exhibit - which marks the 150th anniversary of the 1864 war - is the result of a collaborative effort between the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn and the German American Heritage Center in Davenport. It is supported by a grant from Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities - state and national organizations that seek to promote understanding and appreciation for the various people, communities, cultures and stories that comprise and influence the country.

Located in the north hall of the Hausbarn Conference Center, viewing of the traveling exhibit is free to the public, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

The exhibit is also timed perfectly to be on display as the Iowa Epic Road Trip bus arrives in town next week. Participants on the nine-day, 2,100-mile trek through 60 tourism spots in 66 Iowa counties will stop at Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Tours of the entire Heritage Park are $6 for adults, $3 for children 5 to 12 years old, and free for children 4 or younger.

Its season opened Thursday night, May 1, and will run through Oct. 31. For more information on the park, the exhibit, or upcoming events at the Hausbarn, visit