That is how the presentation for the Rotary Club of Cleveland began Tuesday as The Museum Center at Five Points’ executive director, Hassan Najjar, demonstrated how to turn the objects into a simple toy.
Najjar said he grew up liking history and going to museums.
“My mom always took me to museums. Even in high school we would cut school to go to museums,” Najjar said.
After explaining the Museum Center’s vision of “telling the story of the Ocoee Region,” Najjar solicited ideas from his audience.
“What would you like to see at the museum? What do you get excited about?” Najjar said. “One of the refrains I hear over and over again is people say the museum isn’t for them.”
Rotarian William Brown asked if records of what local residents had donated to the museum had been kept, and if it would be possible to highlight who had donated specific items. The museum is currently working on an online database to keep track of donated items and when they would be displayed. Najjar said the museum has rearranged the “River of Time” exhibit to make room for more local artifacts.
One donated artifact that will now be able to be displayed is a 4-ton printing press.
“We have a lot of meaningful stories that would probably mean a lot to you,” Najjar said. “Personal stories they feel real, versus something that is abstract.”
Najjar listed upcoming exhibits about Cleveland industry, displaying local artifacts, and an exhibit about comic books.
Najjar said the museum is also looking to physically put exhibits at a more child-friendly level, so the youngsters can more easily see and experience exhibits as well.
Rotarian Dr. Bill Balzano asked about loans of artifacts from other museums. Najjar said this is something the museum is working toward.
“They need for our temperature and humidity to be constant,” Najjar said.
He said some elements of the heating and air conditioning units had never been installed correctly. Changes are being made that would allow the museum to borrow artifacts from museums such as the Smithsonian.
“So, we are building up to that,” Najjar said.
He said there was also a cost involved to be able to borrow artifacts.
Rotarian Nicholas Lillios asked about having traveling exhibits come to the museum. Najjar said many of the exhibits only go to larger cities and do not reflect the museum’s vision.
Also during the meeting, the Rotary Club of Cleveland received a Rotary District grant for $2,500. The scholarship money is from quarterly donations by Rotarians. The grant will go toward a water and sewer project being completed in the highlands of Guatemala.