For many people who call this city home, Baltimore is practically synonymous with Bethlehem Steel. The BMI recently embarked on a multi-year community engagement and preservation initiative to document the 125-year history of the steelmaking giant through the creation of a long-term exhibit slated to open at the museum in 2021. The partnership includes a significant investment made by Tradepoint Atlantic,
a 3,250-acre multimodal global logistics center located at Sparrows Point, the former site of Bethlehem Steel's Baltimore operations.
For nearly a century, Bethlehem Steel was one of America's leading producers of steel and shipbuilding before falling into bankruptcy and finally shuttering operations in 2012. Its decline and fall displaced thousands of workers, and many lost the pensions, healthcare, and benefits they had been promised. Former Bethlehem employees share a fierce pride and enduring kinship, but much of the labor force never recovered from the loss of the steady and well-paying jobs that the mill once offered.
The BMI and Tradepoint Atlantic will work with members of the Sparrows Point community to identify previously untapped cultural resources for the exhibit through the collection of images, documents, artifacts, and interviews. Members of our collections and archives department will be onsite at the Tradepoint offices to catalog and move collection items from their site to the museum.
"The museum has long recognized the need to tell the story of Baltimore steelworkers and help carry their legacy forward. This partnership with Tradepoint Atlantic will allow us to do that in a very meaningful way. We look forward to working with the communities of Sparrows Point to help tell this remarkable account of hard work and innovation," said Anita Kassof, the BMI's Executive Director.
Aaron Tomarchio, Sr. Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Tradepoint Atlantic said, "We are proud to partner with the Baltimore Museum of Industry to fulfill our commitment to honoring the legacy of the men and women who worked at Sparrows Point--and we are eager to facilitate the telling, sharing and preserving of these iconic American stories for future generations."
Intensive community outreach and programs will take place at the BMI, Tradepoint Atlantic, and other locations, to usher along the development of the Bethlehem Steel collection and the exhibition.
The new exhibition will be installed in the BMI's Decker Gallery, where it will be seen by the tens of thousands of adults and schoolchildren who visit the museum each year.
The public is invited to attend the Tradepoint Atlantic Open House on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 from 6-8pm to learn more about the preservation initiative and meet museum staff.