UI Pentacrest Museums launch monthly radio show on KICI

The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums are starting a radio show on KICI, a new independent Iowa City radio station. The show will showcase some of the lesser-known aspects of the museums.


Reba Zatz

The house chamber at the Old Capitol Museum as seen on March 5.

Caleb McCullough, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums and Iowa City’s newest independent radio station will team up to begin a monthly radio show that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the museums.

The “BIG Little Museum Show,” as the show is titled, will be aired monthly on KICI FM 105.3. The independent radio station began last summer and broadcasts in a 5-mile radius, featuring a range of local programming and independent music.

The Pentacrest Museums comprise the Museum of Natural History  in Macbride and the Old Capitol Museum. The museums host a range of rotating exhibits on science, art, and history.

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UI Pentacrest Museums communications coordinator Jessica Smith and UI Pentacrest Museums interim director Liz Crooks had the idea for the show after seeing a news story about KICI.

“It was appealing to me because it’s about as local as you can get,” Crooks said. “They have a 5-mile broadcast radius, and we’re really committed to our local community. We aren’t the biggest museums in the world, so it felt like it was a good partnership.”

Smith and Crooks discussed the prospect of the show and decided to connect with KICI station manager Holly Hart.

“I pitched to her that we would love to be on sometime, and it was just a really nice fit,” Smith said.

Hart said she was excited with the idea of the show, and she was happy to give a platform to a local nonprofit.

“The Natural History Museum is obviously an Iowa City landmark,” she said. “It’s an icon.”

Hart said the show fit in well with the kind of content KICI hopes to feature. The show will join KICI’s current roster of local programming, including a show about local theater called “Green Room” and a literary show called “Writer’s Voice.”

“This is the kind of thing that we have wanted in terms of local content,” Hart said.

Crooks said one reason she wanted to do the show is to provide more exposure to some of the lesser-known aspects of the museums.

“I’m looking forward to be able to do some more behind-the-scenes things, like talk ing about what happens in our collections department,” she said.

There are more than 130,000 objects in collections between the two museums, Crooks said, and only a portion of those are on display. Items from the collections are often brought to schools and classrooms around the community.

Hart will host the show, which will usually include either Smith or Crooks. Smith said they will often feature another member of the museum staff to talk about specific areas of the museum’s operations.

Another major focus of the show will be on the exhibits on display at the museum on any given month. Smith said the events and the exhibits change often, so it will be a helpful way to keep the public informed.

The current lineup of exhibits at the museums include “Project Passenger Pigeon,” an exhibit on an extinct pigeon species that was native to Iowa, and an upcoming art exhibit in the Old Capitol called “Humanize My Hoodie,” an attempt to combat racial stereotypes associated with clothing.

“There’s a lot going on here all the time, so we just want to keep the community aware of what’s happening,” Smith said.

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