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