IRONWOOD — Wintery weather on Tuesday didn’t stop the city of Ironwood from putting on a good show as a possible stop for a traveling Smithsonian exhibit next year.
Gina Schreck, Michigan Humanities Council program officer, visited Ironwood to see if the community would be a good fit for an exhibit called, “The Way We Worked — A Museum on Main Street.”
Winter weather cut Schreck’s visit shorter than expected, but according to project leader Mara MacKay, things went well despite Mother Nature.
“It was a wonderful experience, and we got a positive take from her about the tour,” MacKay said. “She was very pleased with how things were organized and very interested in Ironwood.”
Ironwood and Calumet are competing to host the exhibit for two months. Six locations across the state of Michigan will host the exhibit.
“We have a month before we find out, but we believe it was a really positive experience,” MacKay said.
A focal point of Schreck’s tour was mining and logging. She was given a driving tour of mining areas by resident Rick Semo, showing different historical locations.
“Rick did a nice job, complementing the tour with a connection to mining history, and being a long-time resident,” MacKay said.
Schreck also visited historical sites, including the Ironwood Carnegie Library, Historic Ironwood Theatre, Miners Mural downtown and Luther L. Wright High School.
“We went to the high school and discussed opportunities they may be able to provide in addition to the exhibit,” MacKay said. “We were supplied with curriculum for high school and upper middle school students, related to the exhibit, so it was a great way to show the community working together to make this possible,” MacKay said.
While visiting the library, MacKay and other tour guides focused on community groups working together, including the library working with the Ironwood Area School District.
In addition to providing a tour of the community, each community has to supply a location for the exhibit. In Ironwood, the plan is to have the exhibit at the Downtown Art Place on Aurora Street.
“We gave her a tour of the gallery space, and she liked DAP a lot,” MacKay said. “She thought it was impressive. Her main concern was how we will staff and supervise the display, with surveillance. DAP is new, but we are organizing those pieces and I think we gave her confidence about this space.
“We’re in a strong position and our community showed well,” MacKay said. “‘The Way We Work’ is a nice match and I think we came out strong. We’ll see for sure in a month.”