With some federal help, the Putnam Museum in Davenport is embarking on a multi-year effort to collect and present local history.
Putnam trustee Janet Masamoto says a new grant will allow the museum to update local history exhibits, work with other groups to collect artifacts and stories from Quad Citians, and set up local history kiosks around the area.
Masamoto says, “We are so proud of this work and proud to be representing our region at the national level to showcase the innovation, collaboration, and heart of our beautiful community.”
The museum has announced the receipt of $245,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Gaye Burnett, co-founder and president of the Azubuike African American Council for the Arts, says they’ll make sure stories from that community are included.
“In the Quad Cities, we feel as African Americans that a lot of our history has been neglected and ignored,” Burnett says, “and when people pay attention to it, oftentimes they don’t include us or ask us about the stories that we have lived.”
The regional history exhibit, “River, Prairie, and People,” first opened in the early 1980s. Putnam Trustee Kerry Smith says the grant will help pay for a significant update.
“Now it’s time to bring that work to life in this permanent gallery and to continue our commitment to preserving and presenting our community’s history and legacy across all audiences and generations,” Smith says. “This is the story of us.”
Local residents can contact the Putnam with suggestions, and their stories, about what they think should be included in the updated local history exhibit. Museum staff will also hold community meetings at local libraries in the coming weeks to gather material.
(Herb Trix, WVIK, Rock Island)