Hassan Najjar gives museum update to group
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jun 18, 2013 | 1060 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
He came from the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga. On Monday, he presented MainStreet Cleveland members with ideas about how to make the Museum Center at Five Points grow, and tell the history of Cleveland and Bradley County.

Hassan Najjar was chosen recently to be executive director at the Museum Center.

“Imagine a person whose father and family moves a lot,” Najjar stated to the members.

At the end of his story, Najjar said the person was him while growing up.

From town to town, museums were where Najjar learned to love history and culture in the towns where his family lived.

He claimed it “weird” when he would cut classes at school with friends, but he would wind up at a museum while his schoolmates would be doing other things.

Still, Najjar said it was odd that he eventually ended up in the museum business.

He said several changes have been made since he has been the executive director at Five Points, including “the way we communicate to each other, the way we will communicate to visitors and residents. Education and marketing are what [have been and are] changing,” Najjar said.

“We want to make the Museum Center a ‘community experience,’” he said.

Storytelling is the medium, along with the correct marketing of the area.

Museums are full of local stories.

“Those are the stories we are going to tell,” Najjar said.

Through strategic planning and marketing ideas, Najjar and the Museum Center staff hope to grow through participation from the community.

“This is your museum,” Najjar explained. “We want to make ‘people’ connections.”

Najjar explained that some of the exhibits have been changed and collections brought out of storage.

One particular exhibit will be the “Story of Early Industry …” covering what built Bradley County and the city of Cleveland.

In early August, the story will begin with a preview by members of the museum.

More than 24,000 people reportedly visit the Museum Center annually.

In other MainStreet business, two members of the MainStreet board of directors were recognized for their participation throughout the years.

Jo Benjamin and Scott Taylor were presented plaques for their service by MainStreet Executive Director Sharon Marr.