New Museum of Springfield History set to open Oct. 10 (Massachusetts)

When the long anticipated Museum of Springfield History opens to the public on Oct. 10 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a .m., the area’s contributions to the economic and social life of this country from the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s through the present will come alive inside and outside the former Verizon office building across from the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards St.

Visitors will enter the museum, renovated over a four-year period at a cost of $8.6 million, through a lobby that leads to a 45-foot-high atrium addition where two Gee Bee planes - a 1937 Zeta racer built by the Granville Brothers Aircraft Company in Springfield, and a three-quarter size model - will hang this fall from the ceiling of the Great Hall to greet them.

Volunteers will be present to answer questions from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and events scheduled include a “ History on the Move“ car and motorcycle show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will also be transportation-themed hands-on science activities and craft projects in the Springfield Science Museum and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum from noon to 3:45 p.m.

The 47,000-square-foot museum includes a lower level devoted to the Springfield History Library and Archives with material - some 6 million documents, 60,000 photographs and thousands of microfilm - from what was formerly the Genealogy and Local History Library in the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum.

Exhibits on the other two levels include the collection from the former Indian Motocycle Museum that Esta Manthos donated in 2006, as well as examples of nine different automobiles made here such as M. Allen Swift’s 1928 Rolls-Royce.

Swift, whose family was in the gold-leaf business in Hartford, bought the four-passenger car for $10,900 and owned it for 77 years. This gave him the distinction of being the longest single owner of a British or Springfield-made Rolls Royce in the world...

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