BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The National Museum of Industrial History, which opened its doors to pubic on August 2nd, 2016, is excited to announce the fulfillment of a $20,000 pledge from the R.K. Laros Foundation. The grant is in support of an exhibit showcasing the rich history of silk production in the Lehigh Valley.
Founded in 1952, the R.K. Laros Foundation, Inc, a non-profit charitable trust, was established by Mr. Russell K. Laros and Mrs. Helen K. Laros. The Foundation was established to support community non-profit organizations serving the arts, education, the environment, health, historical preservation and public and human services.
"The R.K. Laros Foundation has been proud to be a supporter of the National Museum of Industrial History's endeavor to preserve and tell the story of our nation's industrial past. Since 2000 the foundation has invested in the museum's plans to specifically relate the part that textile manufacturing played in the 19th and 20th century dynamism of our country and of the Lehigh Valley," said R. Keller Laros, III, R.K. Laros Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman. "The Laros Silk Mills were founded in 1919 by my grandfather R.K. Laros and the foundation he established in 1952 continues to make a difference in the well-being of the community that he believed contributed so mightily to the success of Laros Industries. I join with our trustees to wish the NMIH leadership and staff best wishes as they open their doors. We are very glad to be a part of their important mission."
The silk exhibit at the National Museum of Industrial History showcases the innovative machinery from the 19th century that helped revolutionize silk production in the United States. At the forefront of silk production in the Lehigh Valley were the Laros Silk Mills, which employed thousands of residents over four decades and set standards for silk production across the world. "The history of both the local and national silk industry tells a compelling story of invention, innovation and social reform," said Amy Hollander, President and CEO of the National Museum of Industrial History. "The support of the R.K. Laros Foundation has enabled us to share that story through artifacts, oral histories and hands-on interactives."
The grant check was presented to NMIH President & CEO Amy Hollander in a small ceremony by R.K. Laros Foundation Trustees Diane Donaher, Robert Bilheimer and Laura Bennett Shelton.
About the National Museum of Industrial History
A Smithsonian Institution-affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America's rich industrial heritage. Restoring an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum will be home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history.
Marketing and Outreach Coordinator
In celebration of its very first weekend open to the public, the Lehigh Valley's newest museum has a variety of educational and entertaining programs planned. The National Museum of Industrial History's Grand Opening Weekend festivities will run from Friday August 5th through Sunday August 7th.
Visitors will have a chance to explore the new cultural attraction - featuring a wealth of unique artifacts, hands-on experiences, and compelling stories - for the first time. Set in the 100-year old former Bethlehem Steel Electric Repair Shop, the museum houses four galleries whose themes showcase stories of local industry and their global reach.
"We are looking forward to the grand opening of National Museum of Industrial History, the newest attraction at SteelStacks," said Kassie Hilgert, President & CEO of ArtsQuest. "It is so important to have a place where people can go and learn about not just our nation's industrial heritage but also the important role Bethlehem has played throughout our nation's history as we continue to innovate and reinvent ourselves."
On Friday, August 5th, museum visitors can participate in staff-led Insider Tours to learn more about the museum's artifacts and take a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to build the museum. Tours begin at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
On Saturday, August 6th, Josh Gears from 100.7 WLEV's Josh and Scott in the morning will be broadcasting live from the National Museum of Industrial History from 12pm to 2pm. Tune in or stop by for giveaways and more.
Sunday, August 7th is industrial-themed costume day. Children and adults alike can visit the museum dressed as anything from Bob the Builder to a train conductor, a Bethlehem Steel employee or Rosie the Riveter. All costumed visitors get $2 off admission. From 1pm to 3pm visitors can get a chance to meet a roaming Rosie the Riveter. Actress Elizabeth Michaels, of the American Historical Theatre, will be on-hand as this popular American cultural icon, to share the stories of women workers in wartime.
"We are so excited that our Grand Opening Weekend will coincide with Musikfest, a time when both the local community and out-of-town visitors come together to celebrate arts and culture," said NMIH President & CEO Amy Hollander.
In honor of Musikfest, the Museum will open every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm between August 5th and 14th. More information can be found at www.nmih.org. Tune in throughout Musikfest to NMIH social media sites and WLEV for a variety of ticket and membership giveaway contests, scavenger hunts and more.
About the National Museum of Industrial History
A Smithsonian Affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America's rich industrial heritage. Restoring a 40,000-square- foot, 100-year- old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history. For more information on NMIH please visit http://nmih.org or call 610-694- 6644.
Glenn Koehler, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator