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A spark of an idea

Michael Gonzalez
The maker-space on August 5 at the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library has plenty of room for a large printer and many production machines for locals.

Smithsonian museum exhibit arriving in Northern Michigan next year

A Smithsonian Museum exhibit is coming to Alpena next year. The exhibit is called Spark: Places of Innovation. It explores factors that turned rural community members into innovators.

Alpena County Public Library is excited to host the exhibit since the town fits the demographic and it had an inventor in its past. In 1904, Jesse Besser created one of the first hand stamp cement block machines.

Tina Markowski is the department head of public services at Alpena county’s public library. She said she’s excited to inspire members of the community.

“We've done exhibits before. But with the pandemic, it kind of – everything halted,” she said. “And we're really excited to start that back up and getting exhibits into the library for patrons and doing programs around those exhibits.”

One thing Markowski pointed out was the maker-space the library has.

With a large printer, virtual-reality, 3D printing, and more - Alpena locals can get the spark that they need and start building their next big invention.

“We're just really excited to help showcase exhibits for our community, '' Markowski said. “Our community can't just jump in and go to the Smithsonian, so it's nice to bring it here.”

The exhibit will open in Alpena next year in May. It’s also scheduled to travel to locations in Benzie and Charlevoix counties.

Michael Gonzalez is a fourth year at Central Michigan that majors in journalism. He is from Pinckney, Michigan, will be an intern for WCMU and the Alpena News this summer.