NMIH Receives Grant from R.K. Laros Foundation

Jan 6th, 2016Press Release from National Museum of Industrial History

rklarosdonationBETHLEHEM, Pa. – The National Museum of Industrial History, opening in the summer of 2016, is excited to announce the receipt of $30,000, the first installment of a $50,000 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.

Robert Bilheimer, a trustee of the R.K. Laros Foundation, presented the check to the National Museum of Industrial History, commenting that,“the story of textiles is so important to the Lehigh Valley, important to the industrial history of the United States, and important to this community.  We felt it was absolutely essential to make that part of this museum.”  He added, “Somehow we forget that history today is really yesterday’s innovation, and the innovation message is an important story that needs to be told here.”

The silk exhibit at the National Museum of Industrial History will showcase Scalamandre and Valenta machinery from the 20th century which were used in silk production in the United States.  The exhibit will also feature original footage, oral histories, advertisements, and photographs from the Laros Silk Mills. Employing thousands of Lehigh Valley residents over four decades, the Laros Silk Mills set standards for silk production around the world.  “We are excited to receive support from the R.K. Laros Foundation.  Their historic ties to the silk industry and their legacy of community giving make them the ideal partner in conveying the story of silk mills in the Lehigh Valley to the museum’s visitors,” says Amy Hollander, President and CEO of the National Museum of Industrial History.

The National Museum of Industrial History is currently installing and conserving artifacts and is on-schedule to open in the summer of 2016.

Attached photo: L. Charles Marcon, chairman of the National Museum of Industrial History, accepts a check from Robert Bilheimer, trustee of the R.K. Laros Foundation.  Also present were NMIH board members (L-R) Ned Rauch-Mannino, Laura Bennett Shelton, Curtis H. Barnette, and Fr. Daniel Gambet.

 

About the National Museum of Industrial History

A Smithsonian Affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Restoring a 40,000-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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