Crawford and Smithsonian Engage In Historical Trade-In

Museums' Alliance Bears First Fruit With Swap of Historic Vehicles

Nov 27, 2000, 00:00 ET from Western Reserve Historical Society

    CLEVELAND, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Kicking off their recently formed
 alliance, the Smithsonian Institution and the Western Reserve Historical
 Society are making the swap of the century today as the Smithsonian
 Institution trades the first U.S. Highway Post Office Bus for the Crawford
 Auto-Aviation Museum's rare 1935 Chrysler Airflow Imperial automobile.
     "Today, in this age of supersonic air travel, and even experimental space
 flight, it is easy to forget just how revolutionary the car was when it first
 came upon the American scene," Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small said.
 "These two vehicles remind us of those stories.  Families will come to learn
 the stories.  Grandparents will tell their grandchildren about a first car
 ride, or a long bus trip across country, or how the ability to move across
 vast distances changed their lives.  This is what our museums do best --
 preserve and display America's treasures so they can reveal to new generations
 what it means to be an American.  This is an exciting start to our alliance
 and a perfect example of how museums can work together, share resources, and
 better serve the American public."
     The two vehicles will eventually go back to their respective museums, but
 not before each plays a large role in the current plans of both the Crawford
 and the Smithsonian.
     The Smithsonian currently plans to use the historic Chrysler when it opens
 its new transportation exhibit at the National Museum of American History in
 2003.  The trade represents a homecoming of sorts for the Highway Post Office
 Bus, however.  The vehicle was manufactured in Cleveland by the White Motor
 Company of Cleveland and made its inaugural delivery run between Washington
 D.C. and Harrisburg, VA on February 10, 1941.
     The Crawford will use the bus in an exhibit to be displayed at the grand
 opening of its new museum, which it plans to open in Downtown Cleveland in
     "We want this bus to play a second role in Cleveland's history by being a
 part of the development of the new museum.  Many people today do not realize
 that Cleveland was once a major manufacturing center for automobiles in this
 country and companies such as White Motor Company played a significant role in
 this nation's rich automotive history," said Richard Ehrlich, Executive
 Director of the Western Reserve Historical Society.
     Ehrlich said the Museum hopes to find someone who worked at the White
 production facility in the 1940s to tell them a little about how the bus was
 made and what was entailed in manufacturing vehicles here in the first part of
 the last century.  He said the Museum is also interested in interviewing any
 former postal workers who may have worked on the Highway Post Office buses,
 prior to their retirement in 1974.

SOURCE Western Reserve Historical Society