Scottish Highlanders exhibit now open

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 01, 2011 7:20 AM

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An exhibit honoring the Scottish Highlanders — the group of bagpipers that entertained fans at Iowa football games for almost 75 years — is now on display at the Karro Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum, according to a release.

The show includes such Highlanders memorabilia as drumheads autographed by Bob Hope and former President Dwight Eisenhower, the group’s original uniforms, and a silver mace given to the band by the natives of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The Scottish Highlanders began in 1936 as an all-male bagpipe band and made their first appearance at an Iowa football game in 1937. The group began accepting female members during World War II, and the large number of applicants caused band organizer William L. Adamson to reimagine the group as an all-female ensemble.

Groups of Highlanders represented the University of Iowa during seven tours through Europe and at a pair of Rose Bowl games during the Parade of Roses. The band also made appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Tonight Show” and performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Disney theme parks.

The band, which featured traditional Scottish bagpiping, dancing, and drumming, had its funding cut by the university in 1981. The Highlanders survived as a social club until finally disbanding in 2008.

The exhibition will be dedicated on Sept. 3 during Fry Fest, but it is now open to the public. The Hall of Fame is at the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Mormon Trek Boulevard and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for students and seniors; children 12 and under can get in for free with a paid adult.

— by Seth Roberts

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