New history museum to unveil propane industry exhibit

July 6, 2016 By    
 Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Industrial History.

The propane exhibit will include a mock hot air balloon display. Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Industrial History.

The Smithsonian-affiliated National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Pa., will debut a permanent propane exhibit when it opens in August.

The new museum being constructed in the 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 2. It also plans to celebrate the new propane exhibit with a propane industry event Sept. 10. Propane industry members are encouraged to attend the celebration in September, the museum adds.

The propane project has been in the planning stages for several decades. Museum officials and a group of propane industry members have collaborated on the design and development of an exhibit that will showcase the history and contributions of the propane industry.

The propane portion of the museum will feature a 1,200-sq.-ft. education center with more than 200 artifacts in the display. The propane portion will also include interactive exhibits, as well as a mock hot air balloon and aerial footage of the propane supply chain from production to the customer, showing propane’s many applications and uses.

Industry artifacts include digital images of the original stock certificates and demonstration equipment from American Gasol, the company that Walter O. Snelling founded in 1912 after discovering propane. The facility also offers permanent storage for many of the industry archives collected over the last few decades. The Young Gassers organization, which helped to spearhead the project when it merged with the Ancient Gassers, has been archiving a digital collection of nearly 2,000 historical images for the display.

The National Museum of Industrial History focuses its exhibits on the accomplishments of inventors, industrialists and workers in various industries while preserving a record of industry advancements from the mid-1800s to the present. The museum says it expects about 50,000 visitors to view the propane exhibit per year.

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