Digital Exclusive: New museum exhibit features editorial cartoons

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A new exhibit opened at the public museum last weekend that reminds us of the old saying “the pen is mightier than the sword.”

The traveling exhibit known as “Lines with Power and Purpose” features 51 editorial cartoons from the first half of the 20th century.

“It was really about 1900 when newspaper found that a cartoon was a really effective way to kind of put a stamp on a story that might’ve appeared in the headline and then the cartoonist would come along farther back in the paper and with his image, he would attach his drawing, a lot of times would sum up what the story was about,” said Matt Anderson, Curator of History at the Sioux City Public Museum.

Folks will be treated to a wide variety of cartoons from political satire to celebrations that give unique insights to historical events.

“There are some that celebrate some occasion in a very fun and celebratory way. There’s others that are dealing with really tough issues, usually often times trying to inject humor into an otherwise tragic situation in some cases,” said Anderson.

The exhibit also includes work from six Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonists, one of them who is actually from Sioux City.

“For instance, I’m standing by a cartoon by J. Norwood Darling, better known as ‘Ding Darling’, who grew up here in Sioux City. Got his first job at the Sioux City Journal, but in the early 1900s, moved to Des Moines and began working with the Des Moines Register and from there, became a nationally famous editorial cartoonist,” said Anderson.

While the cartoons reflect the times they were created in, some look like they are reflecting current times.

“To me, an exhibit like this shows how the things we experienced in our lives, it’s not something that hasn’t been experienced by people that went before us. That’s all part of the human condition and I think in that way, it’s kind of a connection to the past and that’s just part of life,” said Anderson.

The exhibit will be on display until March 14.

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