Smithsonian exhibit to visit Ironwood


Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

PAUL KOSTELNIK, project volunteer for the Smithsonian Institute's "Museum on Main Street - The Way We Worked" exhibit, speaks about the project to potential planners and volunteers during an introductory meeting, Friday in downtown Ironwood.

IRONWOOD - It will be a while before the Smithsonian Institutes exhibit makes its way into Ironwood, but volunteers and project leaders are already planning ahead.

More than a dozen citizens attended a meeting Friday to discuss the planning process to have the "Museum on Main Street - The Way We Worked" exhibit from the Smithsonian come to Ironwood.

The exhibit is set to arrive in April, and will be on display at the Downtown Art Place from April 4 to May 31, 2015.

Ironwood will be one of five locations in Michigan, and the only location in the Upper Peninsula to host the exhibit.

According to project manager Mara MacKay and volunteer Paul Kostelnik, the exhibit will include a fixed display at DAP, but the community will input it's local heritage and culture to make it more unique.

The goal is to get as many volunteers as possible to help with the exhibit, as well as create their own "wrap-around" exhibits throughout the community, tied together with TWWW.

"A small number of people can change a community," MacKay said.

The exhibit includes iPads, video screens and handouts all provided by the Smithsonian. State historians will also be on hand for visitors during the display.

According to MacKay, approximately $100,000 in investments will be coming into the community with the display, at no cost to the community.

However, additional local displays will come at a cost. During the meeting, different ideas were tossed around including live activities during the weekends of the exhibit, including fashion shows, farming displays and other ideas.

Another idea that was presented included having school field trips to the exhibit, allowing kids not just from Ironwood, but from across the Gogebic Range to take part in the display.

The goal is to have 10,000 visitors view the display, and if the event is successful, possibly get future exhibits as well.

According to MacKay the Smithsonian has nearly 300 different exhibits that travel to communities across the country.

"If things go well, we're setting ourselves up for any of these to come back to Ironwood," MacKay said. "We will gear this towards our area, and I am excited to see what we can do in this community."

Future meetings will be held to discuss the project in detail and organize volunteers.


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