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Rotarians learn how to rock

April 25, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Veteran Rotarians had the chance to relive a good slice of their youth Thursday when they heard about plans for the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association's new museum in West Okoboji.

Noting the association is now in its 17th year, executive director Jenna Hardy Pedersen outlined four mission directives:

n The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame is working to preserve a great legacy of Iowa musicians who have gone on to national fame, recording in Los Angeles, Nashville and New York. A stellar example is D.J. and the Runaways who had the 1966 hit Peter Rabbit.

n The association's education department reaches out statewide and offers college music scholarships.

n Rock the Roof, a statewide music series, offers 10 weeks of music programs each summer.

n Probably the most visible part of the association is the museum now located in an 850-square-foot building in Arnolds Park. Featuring clothing, instruments and school tours, two-thirds of the museum's collection is housed offsite, which has led the association board to its upcoming capital fund drive to build a new museum.

It was the latest role that Pedersen focused on the most.

Pedersen said the association sent a request for proposals from architects around the state, and is now working with FEH Associates of Sioux City to develop a facility that will follow accreditation standards of the National Alliance for Museums, something that will allow the museum to receive significant artifacts from other museums.

With a land donation from Toby Shine, who has the Okoboji Classic Car Museum just next door, Pedersen said the new 12,000-square-foot museum will have second-floor storage space plus room for carting and uncarting and a loading dock.

Inside, the new museum on Highway 86 in West Okoboji will offer interactive exhibits. It will also feature a permanent gallery and temporary gallery for traveling exhibits.

Visitors will also find a rooftop patio overlooking the 1,500-seat outdoor amphitheater. The building's sloped roof will be reminiscent of Iowa's classic ballrooms, many of which were repurposed from World War II aircraft hangars.

"All of it tells a story. That's the point of this whole museum," said Pedersen.

A wall will be dedicated toward plaques and light fixtures will have the names of all inductees to the Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame.

Pedersen said plans are to complete the museum in the next three to five years at a total cost of under $10 million.

About 20 percent of the money is expected to come from grants, said Pedersen, with 50 percent from naming rights and the remaining 30 percent from community fundraisers.

Rotarians were quick to comment on the project.

Mark Henry observed that Shine's Okoboji Classic Car Museum featured an exact replication of the Roof Garden, something that made locating the museums together a great idea.

Pedersen said operating expenses will come from ticket sales, grants, membership dues and endowments.



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