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Birmingham Museum to focus on Birmingham's bicentennial during 2018

In 2018, Birmingham will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its founding, when Elijah Willits first claimed his land parcel in the wilderness in what is now downtown Birmingham. Since then, the generations of its citizens have made all the difference in creating the unique character of a dynamic city with a small town heart. The Birmingham Museum wants to celebrate the past 200 years with an exhibition that takes a novel new approach: seeking crowd-sourced stories about the people of Birmingham, past and present. 

“This will be an exhibition ‘of the people by the people,’ said Museum Director, Leslie Pielack. “We want everyone, from students to seniors, to get in on this opportunity and share a story about someone from Birmingham who has made a lasting impression on them.” Submissions can be about anyone from the present or the past—a friend or family member, an ancestor, a neighbor, a famous person or someone less well known. The material gathered will be used to create a panel display that will be placed in the museum and online. Similar to archival initiatives such as National Public Radio’s Storycorps, the museum is primarily interested in the story and why the person is memorable, not exact facts. The museum will use the submitter’s own words when possible. And, says Pielack, “We will be able to add the material to our permanent archives, which will help us preserve this important information about Birmingham and its people.”
 
The museum has created an online form and hard copy for public submissions of 200 words or so, including options for uploading digital photos.  Deadlines of December 31, 2017 and March 31, 2018 are available for submissions for the exhibit, which will run throughout 2018. Photos or artifacts contributed by the public are especially welcome and will be displayed with the story panels.  
                                                   
The Birmingham Museum is located at 556 West Maple. Exhibit hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and until 8:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. Two hours of free parking is available at the Chester Street Parking Deck; credit card required for entry and exit.  For more information, call 248-530-1928 or visit www.bhamgov.org/museum . Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for students and seniors.  Kids 5 and under and Friends of the Birmingham Museum members are free.
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