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Wanted: Scrap Industry Stories, Artifacts

Help tell the scrap recycling industry’s story by sharing your family’s or company’s historical stories and artifacts.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM) is developing American Alchemy: Junk to Scrap to Recycling, a national traveling exhibition on the history, technology, and art of scrap recycling in America. ISRI is supporting the development of this exhibition, which is intended to open at JMM in October 2018 and then travel to science and history museums across the United States from 2019 to 2021.

You can help the JMM project team in its search for stories and artifacts to capture the industry’s history. Examples of artifacts include:

  • Articles used or worn by an ancestor who collected scrap in the 19th or early 20th century: A sack or bag, hat, shoes, jackets, wagon, or other items.
  • Hand tools used in early scrap processing.
  • Decorated papers relating to the development of a business, such as charters, proclamations, or stock certificates, particularly 19th or early 20th century.
  • Photographs related to scrap collecting: people in their yards, on trucks, processing metal, rags, or other materials.
  • Art of any sort related to scrap collecting and processing.
  • Patents or patent models related to scrap technologies.
  • Reminiscences in written, audio, or video formats, including topics such as funny or sentimental stories; people in the business, both owners and workers; and the communities and families linked together through the scrap business.

This is your opportunity to be part of scrap history. Contact JMM’s scrap project team to share your historical stories or artifacts. 

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