Museum project will bring national spotlight to community

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The Plainsman Museum has long been regarded as a treasure trove of local history, preserving artifacts and archives for future generations to learn from and enjoy. The local museum is now making headlines of its own.
This week’s edition shares the story of how and why the Plainsman was selected by the world-famous Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. to participate in a pilot project focused on local work history. Over the next several months, Smithsonian officials will work with a local advisory team to create a top-notch exhibit showcasing Hamilton County on the job.
Anyone who has roamed the fascinating exhibits at the Smithsonian, spread out in several different buildings along the historic Washington Mall, knows what an amazing experience that can be. It’s like a time machine adventure, with so many original artifacts from all aspects of life teaching lessons and/or taking you back to an earlier era of American life.
I can’t wait to see the final results of a project focused on the hard-worming men and women who turned the soil, managed the stores, fixed vehicles and in various ways kept the economic engine of Hamilton County humming years ago. That’s a story worth telling, and who better to tell it than the Plainsman Museum. Having input, feedback and guidance on that exhibit from one of the world’s most famous museums is a very special opportunity, indeed.
This isn’t the first time, by the way, that the local museum has worked with the Smithsonian. Some locals may recall the 2015 exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” which offered a fascinating look back at the strength and spirit of American workers through rare archival images, videos and interviews. The Smithsonian exhibit was on display here in Aurora for a full month and left a lasting impression, as I recall.
The exhibit we will see in 2020 may have a similar feel, though the focus will be on our own unique history here in Hamilton County. That’s one you won’t want to miss.
Congrats to the Plainsman staff for being selected -- and honor in and off itself -- and for drawing a national spotlight to our community.
Kurt Johnson

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