POW museum to mark a decade

ALGONA – The 10th anniversary of the Camp Algona POW Museum will be celebrated Thursday.

Jenny Morgan Bailey, the designer of the museum’s original displays, will speak during an event that will begin at 7 p.m. at the museum, 114 S. Thorington St. A reception will follow.

Camp Algona housed German prisoners of war during World War II. It was built in 1943 by Italian prisoners of war, and was used from 1944 to February 1946. The camp was located on the city’s west side, where the airport and the Iowa Army National Guard Readiness Center are now located.

Jerry Yocum, the vice president and historian of the museum, said one of the newest exhibits features drawings and paintings made by the prisoners.

“We think that this is the biggest collection of prisoner of war art in the entire country,” he said Friday.

Yocum said recent research revealed that a grandfather of comedian Chelsea Handler was a prisoner in the camp. A photo on display in the museum shows him performing as part of the camp’s orchestra.