On June 25, 2004, the Donna Reed Heritage Museum
in the actress's hometown of Denison, Iowa, opened its doors
to the public for the first time. In the dedication cerermony,
local dignitaries joined Donna's family to cut a symbolic
ribbon and discuss the significance of the new museum, which
will feature art and artifacts from Donna's career and personal
"In this post-9/11 era that seems continually rocked by
threats of terrorism and corporate scandals, many people
are more interested than ever in exploring their roots,
keeping close with family and rekindling wholesome values,"
said museum curator Joel Franken. "Donna Reed was the
embodiment of family values, in both her work and her real
life. The museum seeks to capture this character, and to
preserve it for future generations to appreciate and
Among the debut exhibits are a collection of letters
written by Donna to her pen pal of 48 years, Violet
Lindsay. Through the letters, Donna describes her
transition from farm girl to Hollywood movie star,
including her first introduction to Jimmy Stewart
with whom she starred in It's a Wonderful Life.
Violet Lindsay and her children from around the country
visited Denison to participate in the museum dedication
and to meet Donna's children for the first time - the pen
pals never met or spoke while Donna was alive.
"We are excited to finally be able to share these
treasures with the public," added Franken. "And the
things we are revealing this year are only the tip of
the iceberg. Future exhibits will include more movie
memorabilia, clothing, costumes, TV and film props,
personally annotated scripts, autographed photos and
much, much more."
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