Aug 19th, 2016Press Release from National Museum of Industrial History

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The National Museum of Industrial History, which opened its doors to pubic on August 2nd, 2016, is excited to announce the fulfillment of a $20,000 pledge from the R.K. Laros Foundation.  The grant is in support of an exhibit showcasing the rich history of silk production in the Lehigh Valley.

Founded in 1952, the R.K. Laros Foundation, Inc, a non-profit charitable trust, was established by Mr. Russell K. Laros and Mrs. Helen K. Laros. The Foundation was established to support community non-profit organizations serving the arts, education, the environment, health, historical preservation and public and human services.

“The R.K. Laros Foundation has been proud to be a supporter of the National Museum of Industrial History’s endeavor to preserve and tell the story of our nation’s industrial past. Since 2000 the foundation has invested in the museum’s plans to specifically relate the part that textile manufacturing played in the 19th and 20th century dynamism of our country and of the Lehigh Valley,” said R. Keller Laros, III, R.K. Laros Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman. “The Laros Silk Mills were founded in 1919 by my grandfather R.K. Laros and the foundation he established in 1952 continues to make a difference in the well-being of the community that he believed contributed so mightily to the success of Laros Industries. I join with our trustees to wish the NMIH leadership and staff best wishes as they open their doors. We are very glad to be a part of their important mission.”

The silk exhibit at the National Museum of Industrial History showcases the innovative machinery from the 19th century that helped revolutionize silk production in the United States.  At the forefront of silk production in the Lehigh Valley were the Laros Silk Mills, which employed thousands of residents over four decades and set standards for silk production across the world.  “The history of both the local and national silk industry tells a compelling story of invention, innovation and social reform,” said Amy Hollander, President and CEO of the National Museum of Industrial History. “The support of the R.K. Laros Foundation has enabled us to share that story through artifacts, oral histories and hands-on interactives.”

The grant check was presented to NMIH President & CEO Amy Hollander in a small ceremony by R.K. Laros Foundation Trustees Diane Donaher, Robert Bilheimer and Laura Bennett Shelton.

About the National Museum of Industrial History

A Smithsonian Institution-affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Restoring an 18,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum will be home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history.

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