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Boyertown Museum Exhibit Highlights Wilson-Era Tech

President Woodrow Wilson

President Woodrow Wilson

BOYERTOWN PA – Technological innovations that occurred between 1913 and 1921 during the tenure of the United States’ 28th president, Woodrow Wilson, go on display beginning April 10 (2014; Thursday) in the newest exhibit to open at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, 85 S. Walnut St.

The award-winning show, titled “Woodrow Wilson, President Electric: Harnessing the Power of Innovation in the Progressive Era,” is being made available on loan from the Woodrow Wilson House Museum in Washington DC, Boyertown museum curator Kendra Cook said.

The exhibit, she added, engages visitors with artifacts from the era, multimedia content, and interactive materials. Six different areas of technological innovations are highlighted: medicine, World War I technology, household appliances, communication, entertainment, and transportation.

Its centerpiece, however, will be the Boyertown museum’s own 1921 Milburn Light Electric Opera Coupe. Cook described it as an “exquisite example of an early electric vehicle” that’s similar to a Milburn Electrics model driven by Wilson’s Secret Service detail. A proponent of electric vehicle technology, Wilson himself did not drive an electric car … but his wife Edith did.

When the exhibit was originally displayed at the Woodrow Wilson House Museum, the Boyertown Museum loaned its 1921 Milburn for the duration; it sat on display in the Wilsons’ garage. The exhibit and car are being reunited again to tell the story of the country’s scientific advancement during this period.

The Boyertown museum will also hold several special events throughout the duration of the exhibit to highlight different elements.

  • President Wilson formalized Mother’s Day as an official holiday in 1914. To observe the occasion, mothers will be honored with free admission to the Boyertown museum on May 9, 10, and 11.
  • Also during Wilson’s tenure, the Lincoln Highway, the nation’s first transcontinental roadway for automobiles, was dedicated. On June 7 (Saturday) at 2 p.m., Professor Fred Gantz of Harrisburg Area Community College will offer a presentation on Lincoln Highway history.

The exhibit continues through Sept. 30.

The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is closed on Mondays and most major holidays. The museum preserves Pennsylvania’s transportation history and displays more than 80 locally manufactured cars, trucks, carriages, motorcycles, sleighs, and other types of vehicles. Admission costs $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and AAA members, and $4 for students; children age 5 and younger are free.

For more information, call 610-367-2090.

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