The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum's mission is to honor and depict the military experience of Iowa citizens in all wars, homeland defense and Iowa service. The Museum’s purpose is to collect, preserve and exhibit materials that illustrate the story of Iowa’s military past from statehood to the present. The Iowa Gold Star Museum honors the heroic service of all Iowa veterans.
In May 1918, during the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson approved the suggestion of the Women's Committee of National Defenses recommending American women should wear a black band on their upper left arm, adorned with a gold star. Each star represents a family member who had given his or her life for their country. President Woodrow Wilson first used the term "Gold Star Mother" in his Letter to the Women's Committee. Grace D. Seibold, who lost her son, 1st Lt. George Seibold, in France, is recognized as the first “Gold Star” mother.
On June 4, 1928, a group of 25 mothers in Washington, D.C., made plans to begin a national organization to be known as “American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.” This nonpolitical and nonprofit organization was incorporated on Jan. 5, 1929.
On June 12, 1984, the ninety-eighth U.S. Congress granted the Gold Star Mothers a Federal Charter. The last Sunday of September has since officially been declared Gold Star Mothers Day.
The tradition of the blue and gold star banner began in WWI when white service flags, bordered in red, were displayed from homes, business, schools and churches. A blue star indicated each active servicemember in the U.S. military. A gold star indicated those who had given their lives for their country. This tradition has continued through WWII, the Korean War, and through the present day.
The Museum is closed Sundays and selected holidays.