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August, 2016
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DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons enjoys some ice cream during his visit to the Hamtramck Historical Museum.

DIA director pays a visit

The museum welcomed a special guest in July when Salvador Salort-Pons, diector of the Detroit Institute of Arts, paid a visit and shared some ice cream with a large group of visitors.
 
Hamtramck was part of the DIA Inside/Out exhibit in which reproductions of famous artworks are placed on buildings around town. One evening Pons led a walking tour of the art works, and as part of the event the group of more than 60 people stopped by the museum for a tasty Ice Cream Social.
Pons later had kind word for Hamtramck in his note in the DIA newsletter.
 
"Walking and talking about art and life with the people of Hamtramck and beyond was simply a pleasure," Pons said. "The walking art tour, enjoying conversation and exposure to an incredible community has been one of the most meaningful experiences I've had since I moved to the U.S."
President Kennedy greets the crowd while visiting Hamtramck. The photo is part of the Christopher Betleja collection that was recently donated.
Museum receives stunning collection
       A rare color photo of John Kennedy taken when he visited Hamtramck in 1960 was just one of the items recently donated to the Hamtramck Historical Museum.

Christopher Betleja has been collecting Hamtramck memorabilia for decades, and recently decided to donate the collection to the museum. This is an outstanding assortment of material dating to the 1850s.

Among the items is a superb assortment of photos, including some of early Hamtramck. One, taken in about 1913, shows Jos. Campau where a vaudeville theater once stood, near where Berres Street is today.

Another depicts an early post office building. Also included in the collection are such items as a menu from the old Bowery night club, an assortment of matchbooks and a dish embossed with the name "St. Francis Hospital."

The entire collection has been catalogued and archived. Some of the pieces have been put on display at the museum.

This is one of the largest, finest collections of material ever donated to the museum. It contains so many extraordinary things that they will be featured in a special presentation later this year or early next year with Betleja speaking how he acquired the items.
Art in the Park
The Hamtramck Historical Museum doesn't just do things in the museum building. Earlier this year the museum had a table set up at the Art Festival held at Zussman Park in front of City Hall. As part of the activities, artist Dennis Orlowski drew quick portraits of visitors.

Planning for the future

On a the afternoon of Sunday, July 11, the Friends board met to address the most pressing issues facing the museum. This was a retreat where the Friends discussed a series of key issues: the Future of the museum; how to best implement the StEPS program on museum operations produced by the American Association for State and Local History; and the scheduling of programs going into next year.

A series of proposals was drawn from the session including bringing more volunteers to help with operations, publicizing events more through social media and expanding the Friends Board.

StEPS is a program designed by the AASLH (American Association for State and Local History) to help organizations like the Hamtramck Historical Museum determine if they are using professional standards and showing how that can be achieved. Directors Cindy Cervenak and Stacey Trarop were designated as StEPS program evaluators to make recommendations  and monitor progress toward reaching full compliance with the program. This will be on ongoing task, but we feel it is important not only to help up improve operations but also to show how seriously we take attaining professional standards to be.

Regarding programming, a full schedule of programs was mapped out going into next June. This will include more Hungry for History dinners, but with a sharper focus on topics of greater interest to the public. Hamtrivia also will return at the Moose Lodge. We've got some ideas to make this more lively as well. Also, special care was taken to choose dates that won't conflict with other popular events or holidays.

The full schedule will be announced in the next eNewsletter and on our website www.hamtramckhistory,org once it is finalized within a few weeks.

Stay tuned.

A New Look

If you haven't been to the Museum in a while you're in for a pleasant surprise. The entire first floor has been reconfigured to provide a more wide-open floor space and better presentation of displays and programs.

The new design is closer to the concept envisioned by architect Marcus Colona who provided plans for how the museum could best use its space
Come and see.

Be a Friend
In order for the Hamtramck Historical Museum to thrive and be sustainable for the future, we need your support. One of the best ways to do that is to become a Friends of Historical Hamtramck.

There are a variety of Friends' membership levels, and it's easy to join. Membership information can be found on the Museum website, www.hamtramckhistory.org. Just click on the tab "Join."

So if you are not a member, please become one, and tell all your friends about how they can become our Friends. We have made tremendous progress in the past few years as we have
renovated the Museum building and expanded our programs, but much remains to be done.

Be a part of that.

Copyright © 2016 Friends of Historical Hamtramck, All rights reserved.