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Observer 11/24/14

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I, ROBOT: Visions of the future saw robots doing household chores and much more. This robot, from the late 1950s, is featured in the Yesterday's Tomorrows exhibit opening Aug. 18 at the Union County Museum. (Submitted photo).
I, ROBOT: Visions of the future saw robots doing household chores and much more. This robot, from the late 1950s, is featured in the Yesterday's Tomorrows exhibit opening Aug. 18 at the Union County Museum. (Submitted photo).

UNION — For months now, a dedicated group of history lovers has been putting together all the details that will bring a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit to Union.

"Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future" will open at the Union County Museum in just over a week to begin a six-week stay.

The grand opening of the event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 18. Recalling the flavor of the 1920s, and honoring the memory of flappers and ragtime, the museum's board of directors and the Union County Ambassadors will serve fruit pies and ice cream.

Any woman who wears white gloves or flapper beads will be charged half price — a great deal for only a dollar.

And anyone who has display items from the 1920s — such as clothing, jewelry, books, dishes or sheet music — is asked to call Judy Loudermilk at 963-8588.

The theme of the traveling exhibit is, how Americans have envisioned their future in times past. How will we live? What will we eat? How will we communicate, travel and entertain ourselves?

We plan and we dream every day. But how did early generations think we would be living today?

The exhibit includes paintings, inventions and harebrained ideas about how people of the last two centuries thought we'd be living today.

During the six weeks the Smithsonian exhibit is in Union, more displays featuring local people, events and treasures are being designed on the themes of "Toys Through the Twentieth," "Back to the Future," and "Today's Tomorrows" on how kids and adults view life in the future.

"We are happy to have been chosen to host the exhibit," said Val Stockhoff, chairwoman of the Union County Museum Society. "We hope having it here will prompt people who have never visited the museum to come out and see what we have to share."

"The museum really needs support," added Janet Dodson of the La Grande/Union County Visitors and Conventions Bureau and a member of the group putting on the Smithsonian visit.

"People need to know what a gem it is."

The Smithsonian traveling exhibit is also visiting Hood River, Newport, Corvallis, Ontario and Medford during several months in Oregon.

While it is in Union, the exhibit's weekly themes will focus on swing-time dance beginning Aug. 24; on the years 1945 to 1965, Sept. 1 to 7; on the years 1965 to 1980, the "Flower Power" period, Sept. 8-14; and the decade from 1980 to 1990, the time of "Techies and Toys," Sept. 15-21.

The final week of the exhibit, Sept. 22-28, will look at the present and future with "Today's Tomorrows." Tressa Seydel, at 962-2970, is interested in working with children who might want to share their vision of the


The Union Library is beginning to distribute books that accompany the exhibit and will be the centerpieces of reading discussion groups at the library. Call 562-5811 for details.

Volunteers, Dodson and Stockhoff stressed, are still needed to serve as guides and hosts at the county museum during the Smithsonian exhibit.

While the exhibit will be set up for six weeks, local organizers are building a changing set of locally based related exhibits. More help is needed.

Call Stockhoff at 962-3691 or 562-6003, or Jan Smith at 562-0120 for information. "The museum has grown and improved greatly in recent years," Stockhoff said.

"We're looking at this as a chance to increase our local support, in addition to providing access to a highly acclaimed Smithsonian exhibit."


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