Our Town Iowa City - Hometown Heroes Come to Old Capitol

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By Becky Ogann

IOWA CITY - Take a look inside one of the most visible landmarks in Iowa City, the Old Capitol.

It was in this building that state leaders made decisions up until 150 years ago.

The state capitol has moved but the building serves as a museum to Iowa's rich history. We'll go inside now to see the museum's newest exhibit.

"I tell my history students...I've taught history for 35 years...history doesn't stop at the classroom door. It is something much more than that- you can convert it into a passion," said John Liepa, baseball collector.

John Liepa certainly has a passion for baseball. He has collected baseball cards since he was a young boy.

"What was unusual about my family is that my mother never threw cards away. I've talked to hundreds of people my age who say they had a great collection and my mom threw it all away. And another thing that is a little bit different is that I never stopped collecting," said Liepa.

And now he is showcasing his collection at the Old Capitol Museum. The exhibit is called Hometown Heroes and it opened last week. The collection showcases Iowans' legacies in the major leagues. And the old capitol museum is home to more than baseball cards.

"This building has always stood the test of time -- weather, social and political uprisings, celebration and sorrow. So the Old Capitol is the foundation of our community- the University, the Iowa City/Coralville area, and the state," said Shalla Wilson, Old Capitol Museum Curator.

The building was home to Iowa's first permanent capitol before it moved to Des Moines in 1857. The building then became the first building owned by the University of Iowa.

“This is the President's office, not the President of the United States, but the President of the University of Iowa. It's one of the few rooms in the building that is redesigned to look like the 1920s," said Wilson.

The old capitol building was restored into a 'living' museum in the 1970s. The building was restored to reflect its total history, but it also has space for changing exhibits and ongoing university events. So whether you are a baseball fan or history buff, the old capitol museum has something for you.

"Everybody who comes through the doors of the Old Capitol comes out with some sort of new wonderment," said Wilson.

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