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Decorated trees grace presidential site

Herbert Hoover Museum puts on its holiday cheer

WEST BRANCH, Iowa – The halls are decked and the trees are wearing their holiday apparel at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum.

Heartland Christmas is an annual exhibit featuring decorated trees. This year there are 20 representing life in Iowa.

Visitors will be able to browse among the trees. The Iowa State Fair tree commemorates an event that has been in existence since 1854. It began in Fairfield, Iowa, and later was moved to Des Moines. The fair's main focus is on agriculture and animals.

The Star Trek tree gives guests a look at something not rooted in the soil of Iowa. It celebrates Riverside, Iowa, as the home of the fictional Capt. James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Actually, Riverside will one day be the home of Kirk, who has not been born yet. Iowa keeps an eye on the future with this fictional TV and movie character.

The Heritage tree is a little of everything. It brings to mind the lands whose people left to make Iowa their home. The decorations honor countries such as Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Germany and Denmark.

Looking at the Music tree reminds visitors of area musicians and their wide range of styles. Three of them have been selected for this tree: Bix Beiderbecke, Meredith Wilson, and Karl King.

Sports-minded folk can turn to the Olympic tree, which proclaims the work of the state's athletes, such as Shawn Johnson and Frank Irons.

Among the remaining trees are themes representing Herbert and Lou Hoover, RAGBRAI, farming, Grant Wood, and even the Ringling Brothers Circus.

The library and museum also contains exhibits to be explored that center around the life of Herbert Hoover. They can view his fishing cabin, see some of Lou Hoover's dresses, and even take a look at the place where Hoover spent his last years.

There are nine galleries, each exploring the passing of time in the life of the former president. Guests will walk into the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, find out more about his wife, Lou; and his political career with its ups and downs. Not a bad way to spend the day in Iowa.

If you go

What: Heartland Christmas

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Jan. 2

Where: Herbert Hoover Library, 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, Iowa

Cost: Age 16 to 61 $6, age 62 and older $3, children 15 and younger, free

Information: Visit or call 319-643-5301

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