tv Cities Tour Lansing MI PAAHTV CSPAN October 25, 2019 6:59pm-8:00pm EDT
they say yet everyone is going to get health care don't worry about your bills but you will have to have rationing. >> sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern, and his latest book the case against socialism, senator rand paul talks about the history of socialism and argues that there is a new threat of socialist inking on the rise in america. he is interviewed by congressman matt gaetz of florida. >> it seems as though you are making the argument that a country that is more socialist becomes more safe -- selfish. >> i think that is a true irony. it's for the other man everything is for someone else yet in the end, it is driven by selfishness. >> watch afterwards sunday night at 9:00
announcer 1: next, in american history tv exclusive. our cities tour visits lansing, michigan, where we learn more about its unique history and literary life. for eight is now, we have traveled to u.s. cities bringing historic sites to our viewers. you can watch more of our visit at c-span.org/citiestour. >> he was a pioneer. state not until the legislature designated this area as the new capital that he came with these other folks and helped build the capital. they had a slightly more sensible approach. we had nothing here. there was no transportation. they had seven months to build a veryal city and that was a interesting and exciting and unique story of the beginning.
established the about 1836, about a year before it became a state. the designated detroit as the capital but they were told that detroit could be easily attacked and they should move the capital inland but couldn't decide where. constitutionhe that the first session of the legislature of 1848 should be held in the new capital, which should be inland. decide and years to they waited until they had 10 months left. statetown in the whole wanted it to be by them, because it would be a great boon for their community. they kept voting and nobody could decide and finally, the
people who were thinking about this area, putting a dam and a mill, they decided they would try to attract the legislature to this area. thosemiller was one of who lead that. ande was persuading lobbying, but it was james seymour who made a map, put a here and said, if you put it here, it will be .his many miles it passed the legislature. they had voted 70 times, they never thought it would be the last time, but it was. that is how they decided on lansing. he came from new york. for a storeorking
in jackson. when he came here, the story is that 1000 people came to this spot, which was nothing, so they had to figure out where they would sleep, what they would eat . he got the supplies and sold them. the first thing he did was chop down all the trees. aboutere going through three or four boxes of axes every day. to get rid of all the wood. stumps and bunch of marshy, watery ground. don't get the idea that it was a great little town. they were extremely excited
about having the capital come to be here. when they said it would be here, they would come on their sleds with horses and watch the capital come in. tree, ay cut down a huge tree and pulled it all the way to the capital and started cheering and yelling and having a party over the fact that it was coming here. they built a hotel, james seymour, which is where the legislators could be. they had to walk one mile from the capital. there were 66 members of the house of representatives and 22 in the senate and all of their lobbyists that came with them. they built a white framed two-story capital there, which became the meetinghouse and the library and everything else for
this community that didn't have anything. that was their first building. theas a couple years before capital we see today was built. the first meeting at the new capital was january of 1848. their order of business was plank roads. charters were given out to private groups. department, so if your town wanted a road, you had to figure out a way to get it. the issued charters to build paint -- plank roads. james turner became the
organizer of the road. you could never build will now because it took so much would. they had everybody working on it, the farmers who had land close to the road, the business people came out and worked on it. andas a major enterprise when one was finally built, they had a party. here investeded in having a store room. they were constantly afraid that the legislature would get fed up with the inconveniences of having this capital in the middle of the forest and would vote not to have it. theas really not until 1860's when they decided you have the permanent state capital , where they really at ease about the fact that they were not going to move away.
the michigan state capitol, where c-span is learning about the city. this is the third building to house government. next, we take you inside for a tour. >> our state capital was constructed starting in 1872, concluded in 1879. we are celebrating our 140th birthday. 25 years ago, the was fully restored and the goal of the project was to have the building look as it did when it first opened in 1879. our territorial capital and our first state capital was in detroit. detroit served as the capital for 10 years. our first state constitution stipulated that 10 years down the road, the legislature would
siteto approve a permanent in capital city. there were a lot of cities competing to become the state capital. lansing was sort of picked as the capital city because no one wanted to pick lansing. it was offered as a compromise. a smallslature built wooden building, which they use for about 30 years until our present capital was constructed. here ise of the capital renaissance revival, or neoclassical. the exterior is faced with saint-saens -- sandstone and the exterior is cast-iron. right now, we are standing in the rotunda of the capital. this is the first base our tour groups get to come into. we are 160 feet from the floor
we are standing on to the inner dome. the exterior dome goes another 100 feet above that for a total of 267 feet from the ground to the very top of the capital, which is comparable to the height of the u.s. capitol in washington. are in the governor's parlor. the second floor, east wing of the capital. the parlor was used originally as a receiving space to meet legislatures, constituents, maybe the occasional foreign interior. space is basically used for the same function nowadays. this space is probably the most actively restored out of any in the capital because we had wonderful photographs and line drawings of what it would look like when the building first opened. such detail as which portraits were hanging on
the walls and which specific locations those portraits were hanging. the portraits in the parlor are of former governors. all governors who served in our capitals with the exception of governor croswell. he was the first governor to serve in the capital. what you see here is all painted by hand. the ceiling of the parlor is very unique in that it is original. it took for people over two months to clean the ceiling, using q-tips and cotton balls, inch by inch so they didn't damage the original artwork. we moved onto the floor of the michigan state senate. this is where our members meet three days a week to pass laws for the state of michigan. michigan senate is a 38 member body with approximately 250,000 people per district. it is a four-year term.
the legislature and senate have met here since 1879. sports over nine acres of hand-painted design and it is a tribute to the time, the victorian time. buildingeople expect a built in the late 1800s to basically be black-and-white. people don't realize how colorful the victorians were. this is a prime example. what you see is as close as we can come to what the building looked like shortly after it opened in the late 1870's. that includes restoring the original deck, the original chandeliers up above. each of those chandeliers has 1760 pieces of crystal and glass. the ceiling contains the coats of arms for each of the 50
states, even though there technically weren't 50 states in the union. they are in order of entry. they start in the back left corner as you approach the room and come around the perimeter as the stays join the union. in the senate, we have six wonderful portraits of individuals that were important to our nation and our state history. portrait of the marquis to lafayette. who was verychman well respected for the help he had given us during the revolution. hung atrait is actually all three of our state capitals. it was commissioned fairly early on. that speaks volumes about the strong affection americans had for lafayette. of the frontght
wall is a portrait of the michigan governor during the civil war. he was a founding member of the founding party and was a suffragist. worked very hard for women's rights. abolitionist prior to, during and after the war. very important individual to the history. off to the right wall, a hamilton,f ms. michigan's first female legislator. in 1920, whend women first got the right to vote. a year prior to that, michigan was the first place to ratify the 19th amendment to the u.s. constitution, giving women the right to vote. recent portrait additions to the capital, this fine portrait of mr. william
webster. mr. ferguson was the first african-american legislator. he was elected to the house of representatives in 1892. the reason we chose to hang presented ferguson's portrait was very intentional. two years before he was elected, he had an important court case on the supreme court of michigan. he was a resident of detroit and one evening, a friend was visiting from out of town. being a good coast -- a good host, he took him out to dinner and he was reserved -- refused service. he sued the restaurant owner for wrongful discrimination based on color. the case made its way to the highest court and the justices on the michigan supreme court ruled in his favor. that spur his interest in politics. two years later, he does and
runs for the michigan house of representatives and was elected as our first person of color to serve in this building. moved into the michigan house of representatives. historically, it was known as representative paul. this is the largest room in the capital, reflecting the larger membership of the house of representatives. representing 90,000 people. for a two-year term. in the michigan house of representatives, above the rostrum, the speaker's chair and the speakers area, we have embellished on the walls mexican -- michigan state coat of arms. errico coat of arms is unique, designed by territorial governor. interesting and most prominent features is the elk on the left and the moose on the right. very few elk or moose in
michigan. the reason they are featured so weminently is because coatlly copied part of our of arms from a company logo that had and elk and a moose. on the central portion of the coat of arms is latin and it means i will defend. it is tied into the fact that michigan shared such a large border with the british. michiganas to defend against a british invasion. i had what i consider to be the great fortune of being raised in lansing. quite literally in the long shadow of this magnificent building. one of my earliest childhood memories was visiting the capital. standing here in the rotunda thismy family and having
incredible sense of humility, all, inspiration. i see that on a daily basis when i bring it to her groups in and they look up at the dome and get this incredible feeling of inspiration. to me, this building represents what we are proud of as a state and what we are capable of and what we hope to achieve in the future. i work for the michigan state capitol commission and we have a lovely motto. a mission statement if we will. this capital stands for. >> continuing our look at lansing, we visit the michigan history museum to learn the origins of the state. from its indigenous people to early manufacturing to becoming the car capital of the world.
>> we are at the michigan history museum in downtown lansing. we are part of state government, so our museum tells the stories of michigan including lansing. today, we are going to walk through our gallery. our museum is a walk-through time. you come out in the museum and it is just at the end of the ice age. we talk about the first indigenous peoples and go through the end of the 20th century. we are standing in the exhibit we call the first people exhibit. it talks about indigenous people who lived here for thousands of years before the arrival of europeans. it is one that we have recently renovated. the focal point of this exhibition is this gigantic mural here. story of the people through four seasons. the big picture we want to
convey is what an advanced civilization they had before that theyrrival and had very sophisticated social structures. it was different in the western civilization. landchose to live off the and not try to control the land. timespent a lot of their working in harmony with the land to meet basic needs. out is the to point structure. there are a lot of misconceptions that native americans all lived in teepees, but in michigan, they lived in wigwams. we have an illustration here of one. they would use birchbark or maple to build this frame and woveny it with ruben --
reeds or grasses. they would live in these year-round. the nice thing is they are compact and mobile. they can pick the birchbark off and move to place to place as the seasons change. now we have moved into the gallery that talked about how michigan became a state. michigan was slow to settle, due to the swamplands. the opening of the earache canal spreadin 1825 to migration. by 1835, the territory of michigan felt that i had reached congress's requirements for becoming a state. we had the right population, a and ourconstitution governor appeal to congress to become a state and it was rejected. was unsettled business
between michigan and ohio in who would own toledo. both states saw it as a valuable port on lake erie and on the river that would help with transportation. it took about two years. they call it the toledo war. michigan finally agreed with the country would let it become a state, they would let toledo become part of ohio and as a consolation prize, michigan got the western half of the upper peninsula and i think everyone definitely michigan got the better deal, because that is what they found iron and copper ore deposits that were a rich natural resource that helped michigan become leaf manufacturing state it did in the 20th century. the peninsula was rich with native forests. douglas --urveyor went up to the peninsula and
discovered iron ore and copper. the 19th century in michigan can largely be considered extraction of natural resources. in the last half of the 19th century, most of the lumber in the lower part of the peninsula was cut down and harvested. full-scale mining efforts began in the upper peninsula for copper and iron. as you can see, when you are extracting copper and iron, it rarely comes out perfect. this is copper or that has other impurities in it. that necessitated the building of some of michigan's first factories to process. take theseorges, to raw materials and purify them. remove the impurities to make the pure copper that is used in items such as ingots and pots and candlesticks. all of this early manufacturing to process the or is one of the
things that set michigan up to become a major manufacturing center. some of the earliest manufacturing industries in michigan were related to transportation. we had carriage companies operating out of flint. railcar companies operating out of detroit. ship building a huge industry in detroit. one of the biggest early beanie fracturing facilities was the fact that michigan had become the stove capital of the world. wereiah and james dwyer two brothers who founded three of the four most successful stove companies in detroit. here are some examples of the cast iron stoves they made. at the turn of the 20th century, about 1900, michigan became known for the industry it is still known for today. that is the manufacturer of
automobiles. in order for that to happen, had to have success from the early industries. had money and capital that could invest in these companies from lumbering and mining. the initial investors had a lot of money to invest. we also had infrastructure and factories that made the stoves, that made transportation vehicles. they could be repurposed for this new phenomenon. the last piece that helped michigan become the motor city state was the ingenuity of the early founders of the automobile industry, from henry ford, who is assembly-line is famous, and this is a recreation of his a summary line, to walter chrysler and william durrant, who founded general motors. this exciting boom in manufacturing in automobiles was huge in the southern part of michigan, particularly southeastern michigan. at the same time, the northern part of michigan was largely farming as a major industry.
the advantage -- the advances of technology resulted in new motorizedes like the tractor. other scientific breakthroughs in farming and agriculture helped usher in a new era of farming in michigan and enabled family farms to grow in -- into sustainable businesses. early in the 20th century, 25% of michigan farmers were dairy farmers. while the factories are booming in michigan, we have got farming on a larger scale happening. both worlds exist simultaneously. we have now moved into the part of the museum that talks about michigan during world war ii. particular, the production that took place. 1940, right before the u.s. entered world war ii, our president put a call out. most -- thee the
great arsenal of democracy. >> we needed to create the projects that would help the allies win. michigan and detroit in particular were quick to answer the call. most factories are companies making consumer products manufacturing, including all of the automobile factories. one of the most successful factories that was built to make products for the war was ford motor company's willow run plant. there is a gigantic mural behind inthat shows the innovation making planes on an assembly line, which had never been done before. construction on the plant began in 1941. was completed in 1942. by 1943, 41,000 people were working to build airplanes in this plan. by the end of the war, the factory had built just under 9000 b 24 bombers and at one
point, they were rolling one off the line every 63 minutes. wartime work was very different. most of the able-bodied men who had worked in factories went off to the war. the willow run plant in particular, there was mass migration, people coming up from the thousands to work. detroit was so overcrowded, people were living in tents in vacant lots. it is also known that the war gave opportunity to women and people of color, particularly african-americans, to get factory jobs for the most part for the first time in history. the photo behind us, the workers on the airplane, there are a couple of women. women worked as riveters, worked assembling things at other factors that were not making big products like jeeps or vehicles. michigan made a lot of artillery
shells, so women would build the shells that would be used in cannons and guns and bullets. on impact of war production michigan changed the workforce in the state. we will end our tour in our 1957 detroit auto show. this is very fitting, because it shows how over the last century and a half, manufacturing in achigan landed us in prosperous state in the mid century. from michigan's indigenous to ourto our lumber minors to early manufacturers and our auto industry giants, these individuals have worked with, lived with and used michigan's natural resources in a way to benefit themselves and help our state grow.
>> while in lansing, we took a driving tour of the city. >> where is lansing? i know there's a certain way to show it on a map. >> i'm going to hold up my right hand and point right here. michigan is in the shape of a min. where will you be taking us? >> i think we will hit the downtown area, the state capital, then head to old town lansing, which is very popular, than out east to michigan state university. on the left, you will see a tall tower there. it was originally the old tower. ransom eli olds came to lansing with his family and founded oldsmobile. lotwill find his name in a
of things that you talk about in lansing. >> think a lot of people associate the car industry with detroit, but it made its way here as well. >> it actually began here. olds was kind of a friend of henry ford, but he was actually -- he built the first assembly-line and henry ford perfected it. greatad a lot of inventions. he sold the oldsmobile company and founded a company called rio car company and both of those companies were here in lansing. >> does lansing still have an auto presence? > we do. we are home of gm, general motors and we have two state-of-the-art facilities here in lansing. you can see straight ahead is the beautiful state capital of michigan. herebuilding has been since i'm going to say the
mid-1800s. capital hosts thousands of visitors and school groups each year. we like to think that lansing is not only the state capital and a place for government, but also a great tourist destination. we will pass by a lot of government buildings here. we have, i want to say tens of thousands of government workers that come down monday to friday to work. that is our downtown. it really is dedicated to sandwich shops and things they can go and grab something to eat or buy something quickly. this is washington square. washington square is five blocks of businesses and restaurants and some shopping. this building here is pretty spectacular. this was a department store at one time, then was closed down, but in its heyday, in the
1930's, that was the most modern, fabulous building of the midwest. not art deco. .t is more art moderne our lansing journal has offices in their and there are apartments on the upstairs. the downtown kind of died there for a bit when those department stores went away, and now they have come back with some wonderful housing options. we are coming into old town here. thetown was kind of original settlement of lansing, 1840's,the mid-1800s or the first white settler here in on thehigan put a dam up intersection of the grand river on the indian trail or native
american trail. few houses and businesses started to pop up, and it became quite an industry. andad its own train station its own post office. businesses were thriving there. the capital came and things changed a little bit. in the 1960's, olds town foundered a bit and firmly 1980's, 1990's, it started to have some artists that were interested and it turned into this wonderful boutique art gallery filled area. we're going to head east down michigan avenue toward michigan state university. >> i saw where going into east lansing now. lansing was actually built around michigan state university as an answer to the
university, because when the university started, it was the first land-grant college in the united states. it was the first university to study agriculture. they were out in the middle of nowhere and they had to have housing for faculty and students , so east lansing has actually built up around michigan state university. this is msu on the right. it is a huge campus. the acreage is phenomenal. you will see a lot of green space here. it is really beautiful. >> we have been all around lansing and east lansing. we have seen university, the state capital.
if somebody lives in reno, nevada, far from the midwest, don't know anything about michigan, what would you really want them to know about your city? >> i would like them to know that it is not just a government city and it is not just car city and it is not just -- it is a fun place. and honest and greedy. and genuine. i think that is the biggest word is genuine. thank you so much for showing us around today. >> car manufacturing in the city is very important to us. that industry is one of the backbones of lansing. university,n state and we have automobile manufacturing. those three components have kept
lansing very successful. it all started with building -- he was one of the founders of the other mobile industry. he moved here when he was 16 years old and his father had a machine company. they actually built small steam engines and that is where he became familiar with the manufacturing process. this we are talking about the late 1800s. frankly, he hated horses and said there has got to be a better way to get around than a horse. he was tinkering in his father's shop, trying to build something that would be self-propelled and he came up -- behind me there is a three wheeled car that he built. it was a steam powered car. didn't work very well at all. he rebuilt the engine three or four times and finally they scrapped the project and he built a bigger four-wheel car
and that worked pretty well. to remember, there were no self-propelled vehicles. the only self-propelled things were maybe a steam engine train or a ship. there were no self-propelled automobiles. they didn't even have the name automobile at the time. they had bicycles. he just took these ideas and went with them. again, to have this guy in his ite 20's around lansing, scared the horses, but it worked. at a time 30 miles with this thing. it caught the eye of a couple investors and they said we want you to make us a car. they built three and sold them. 1915,ey got back and in it was given to the smithsonian.
when we opened this museum, we received that car from the smithsonian. we are standing in what we call the 1897 room and this is one of the three vehicles that were made in 1897. this is the rarest car we have any museum. this is a gasoline car. they call it a trap, because once you got in the backseat and people got in the front, you were kind of trapped in the backseat. what makes this car so unique and valuable, there were no cars on the road. you could find may a bicycle or two but never a powered vehicle. the same investors said let's build a car company. he bought his dad's company and it was the old gasoline engine works. he took that profitable company and put it into the old motor works. that was the new company they were going to build cars with. smithby the name of sam
lived in detroit. he was a mining guy. he put most of the money in. they started this thing. if on going to invest in your car company, we are going to build it in detroit. detroit,t a factory in built several prototype models and this was in 1899, when they incorporated. by 1901, they were going into production. the whole factory burned to the ground. a group of lansing businessmen got together and said, we have got 53 acres in lansing. factory inuild your lansing. they rebuilt the factory in detroit and built a factory in lansing. by the end of 1901, they had built 525 cars on an assembly
line. he invented it way before henry did. the first car that came to put oldsmobile on the map. he was a pioneer in the automobile industry. this has got a gasoline engine, a one cylinder gasoline engine. it slung underneath the car. it had a tiller steering. you crank the motor up on the side. it had two gears. a slow speed and a reverse gear. that was very successful. yearbuilt 525 the first and more the second and more the third. that really propelled olds motor works into business. in building these cars, he also built will be called a progressive assembly line. this car moved from station to station and this was 1901.
henry did not sell his first car until 1907. he watch this and said i bet i can do this later. i can put a bill in here and make this better. and he did. buildith family wanted to big cars. they thought it was prestige. big money, big profit. he said we are building a small car. if it is good for the masses, it is easy to drive, easy to maintain. in 1903, he said i am out of here. control of his gasoline engine works, because he used as collateral. eventually, olds motor works was making a profit and the smiths soul off the gasoline engine works. after a dispute, he wasn't going to build any more cars. he was quite wealthy, he made money and a group of businessmen
that got the factory going in lansing said wait a minute. we want you to build another car. we are going to give you 51%, because you are the brains behind this. we need the things that you know to start another company. they did. they couldn't use olds anymore, the name, because they lost that. oldsmobile owned his name. he used his initials. r.e.o. motor car the reo company. now we have got to car companies in lansing, michigan. we were the motor city. this little car, you think it might be a toy, it is not. 1905 to this car in take it to the 1905 auto show. that was for dealers only. it was to show the dealer or perspective dealer what the 1906 touring car was going to look
like. this was way ahead of its time. they didn't have the tooling to building 1906 so he bought a half scale model by hand. if this has got 13 inch tires, that has got 26 inch tires. this really started his company and they called it the baby reo. this was not for sale although he probably took several orders for them. people wanted this car for their kids or whatever. he said we are not going to build it but it was a popular, upscale car. this was the heart and soul of the company. it was a very advanced car for its day. they always did things ahead of everybody else. full-fledged car company. they are building several models. all production at oldsmobile came to lansing in 1905 and that is a big automobile town.
there are new factories coming up. stamping facilities, foraging companies. it was great for the city. this man brought in thousands of jobs and thousands of workers. now, we can build churches and hospitals. this whole thing is because ofreo in development of a car. untiluilt motor cars 1936. the depression had a lot to do with that. they started building trucks. this is an example of a 1911 truck. they were one of the first companies that built trucks. passenger cars were her passengers and this is more of a utility vehicle. you could put something in the back and carry around. here isare looking at the reo speed wagon. they were called speed wagons
because they were fast for their day. faster than any other utility type vehicle. they had a bigger engine. this is the 1923 model. this became their stock and trade. they are very popular trucks. edwagon, ireo spe think they were going to college and the drummer in the band like the name and they said let's call ourselves reo speedwagon. that truck division stayed on building trucks until 1975. eventually, the truck company would be bought out by the diamond truck company. it was such a big name, the trucks were called diamond reo. he was always with the motor car company throughout may be 36 or so when it ceased to exist. the car portion of it. they did much more than the car
company. he was a philanthropist. he did a lot for the community. one of the big impacts that he had all lansing, we are talking about going from horses to building cars and all of the ancillary things with that. the mills, the shops, the forges. oldsmobile at one time had 21,000 workers there, plus fisher, which was even more. that is how many people in one way or another he got to work. he was major. take himke lansing and out of the equation, we would not have the manufacturing that we have today. he started the manufacturing. that is why we have the manufacturing we have here in lansing today. reo motor car
company plant closed. oldsmobile became a subsidiary of general motors. has twoeneral motors manufacturing plants in town. the lansing grand river and the delta township assembly plants. >> rebuilt three models of the cadillac and the camaro here. a brand-new state-of-the-art facility called the grand river assembly. automated or three plants in america. .e build suvs that is probably the plant of general motors, their highest automated plant. >> workers at both plants joined strike monday,w when negotiations broke down over pay. job security and health care coverage. up, we sit down with congresswoman a democrat who represents michigan's eighth congressional district.
>> my district goes from the northern suburbs of detroit all the way west to lansing and east lansing. driver ist economic both our gm plant but also state government, because we have lansing. there is a big relationship between the federal government and our district. let's remember that in michigan, 43% of the state budget is federal dollars. that means every day we should be working together. she can state university takes in a ton of federal grant money for research that we do here. we have law-enforcement, fire departments that have federal grants. we have block grants here. we have an incredible amount of folks competing for and winning federal dollars. we have a lot of interaction between the state and federal government and it is wonderful to have the state government
here in the district, because it means you can work as a team. you don't have to work hard to find the right people in state government who can tagteam on important issues and it means i am the congresswoman for our and itr, for our senator makes it effective to work together. the most important thing i carry with me is a focus on the mission. i think that is the biggest one. when you are at the cia or doing a tour in iraq, none of the politics matter. what are you trying to get done, how do you work with your team to get that done? i bring that same spirit to congress on homeland security in particular. there is no way to get around the fact that we have a crisis at the border. the number of people coming over the border would swamp any administration of any political
persuasion. we have a responsibility to deal with that in a decent way. that is definitely a big issue that we work on. election security. we need to protect our election system. it is the heart of our democracy. that is a big issue we spend a lot of time on and trying to spend -- to understand the role of social media. what are their responsibilities when it comes to things like spreading fake news, hate speech, anti-semitic, racist messaging, terrorist messages. what are their responsibilities? roledone hearings on the of social media and we will be evolving on that. >> c-span cities tour it is on lansing. it once -- the history museum launched a new exhibit asking visitors to take another look at some everyday objects.
>> we are in the michigan history museum, king at our new exhibit, secret lives of michigan objects. it is a playful, fun behind the scenes exhibit about the museum collection. the way that objects we hold in museums add up to michigan history. it is a way to involve people who live in michigan to think about their stuff as part of michigan history. especially history museums, we like to put things into context. an object tells a whole story about the time it was made, the people he used to, and in this exhibit, we are saying what are other ways to look at objects and what are other stories objects can tell? >> the first thing people see in this exhibit space is a dramatic presentation of one object in a dark room. it is lit very dramatically. a bottle.se is
pop, as is a kind of ginger ale from detroit. very well known to people in michigan. we decided to exhibit it like the hope diamond, like a precious piece of art. we wanted to change the way people think about everyday objects, things they use every day. as anf we thought of this art object? how does it change the way we think about it? in a lot of museums, you may see what we call period rooms decorated to be like it was in a certain place. perhis exhibit, we did a room ofi ao 1970's basement. d we wanted people to understand that this is part of history. maybe it is your childhood, but it is still part of history and it means the things that you used and the life experiences you had are part of history. a vital part of history. from the orange carpet to the
atari to some of the other games people use. another fun thing about this exposinghat we are what it is like to build a period room and what choices you make. we decided to make this room unfinished. it is showing the process of making a period room. you see a cart from our collection staff, a little box with objects in it. we're are going to start putting up vinyl wallpaper that looks like wood paneling. from are tags on objects being in storage. really giving the sense of what it is like to build a period room and the questions we ask ourselves when we build them. what will make this look real? you might not be able to put your finger on the exact thing, but if something is wrong, you know it.
we want to help people think about what it means to be part of history. while a lot people's reaction might be i am so old, my childhood stuff is in a, we want to get a little further than that and say, what does that mean? does that mean the stuff you live through is a part of michigan history? are they worth talking about in a museum? exhibit isn of the green things from michigan. they have no other connection besides being from michigan and being green. tothought that was a fun way think about our collection and say usually we put things in context or we arrange them by time, by kind of thing. what do we learn from putting all the green things together? here are some of the story is about green things on display.
this pair of rollerskates belonged to a michigan governor. this set of post office boxes was at the state capital. it was used by legislators. i just want to point out the wallpaper in the back. that has a michigan connection, too. in the late 19th century, it was very popular to make green pigment with arsenic and wallpaper was one of the things they made. be a full green designs with arsenic. a michigan physician published a scary title that was a book of pieces of arsenic wallpaper to raise the alarm that there is lots of arsenic wallpaper. it is not really a book you want to keep around, even for public health purposes. all of these wallpapers have arsenic in them. but we do have a copy in our
collection and we digitized it with lots of safety precautions and this is a reproduction of one of those wallpapers. exhibited them now, there is no information about the objects. processour experimental in building this exhibit is to ask people who come in, what do you recognize and what do you want to know more about? puthe show goes on, we will out more information based on that. we are really excited for the input of visitors about the exhibit. the cabinet of curiosities is based on the early ancestors of the museum that were places for all kinds of curious, unusual things. in this section, we offer a selection of some of the most unusual things from our
collection and asking visitors which ones they want to see. one that i like, this is a vibrating chair that was used for health reasons. it was produced by the battle creek sanitarium, which is a well-known michigan story relating to the kellogg's. it is a chair that has a motor attached to it basically. another some i'm medical object medical-- another semi- object that visitors are interested in is a foot measuring machine used that she was stories. you would put your foot into the machine and there were two viewing ports so the shoe salesperson and a parent could look and see how well the shoe for you. of course, you got a dose of radiation as well. this is a very familiar object. for people of a certain generation, they were in lots of shoe stores and it was a treat
to go to the shoe store and be able to see the bones in your feet. another unusual object from our collection is this umbrella. a silk number love that has a compass in the handle. given story goes, it was by president lincoln. she was a nurse in the civil war and got turned around in the dark and ended up in a confederate camp and was imprisoned as a spy. she was released and ended up meeting president lincoln, who so that this umbrella she would not get lost again. we have opened the exhibit with pictures of these objects and voting boxes. put objectswe will that have been voted on in this exhibit. this is the kind of exhibit that will grow and change every time you come in and people who come in see this exhibit will be able
to make those changes. there are lots of opportunities for people to come to the show to say what they want to see in here, what objects, what stories. to really feel like they are part of the exhibit. i hope that people who visit this exhibit get a sense that the things in their house, the things that they use every day are part of history and they are part of michigan history. announcer 1: our visit to lansing, michigan is in american history tv exclusive. years, we have traveled to u.s. cities ringing the literary scene and historic sites to our viewers. you can watch more of our visit at c-span.org/citiestour.