Never has a more diverse compilation of miscellany been pulled into a single exhibit and unified under such a lofty title: Mansfield’s People Change the World. We may be a small local history museum, but we think big. Essentially, this is an exhibit of items each of which has some connection to a graduate of Mansfield High School.
The inspiration came when Tom Brace(MHS 65) gave me a couple of bottles of his homemade wine. The wine was good, the bottles were attractively labeled, too attractive to discard, and the wheels started turning. Our collections are full of items, major and trivial, that relate to people who launched their lives from Mansfield High School. We gathered some together, put them on shelves, made display cards for each with a high school picture of the person and a little information, and called it the start of something big.
In years the collection spans the century with a leather mail bag representing mail carrier Stephen Beach, MHS 1913, to a collage of thumbprints of the graduating class of 2016. We have business promotional doodads, old drivers licenses, campaign buttons, milk bottles, books written by MHS grads, paintings by MHS grads, badges, and more.
People who graduated from our little town have spread world-wide or stayed here. They have been in government and military, built waste water plants and stadiums, headed colleges and corporations, established businesses in our own town. In any case, the accomplishments might surprise us, particularly when we see the range of possibilities. That’s part of the reason for the exhibit: to see the limitless opportunities that are available and to instill pride in our community.
We expect this display to grow and expand as people see it and think of objects or ideas to contribute to it. It’s about us, the places we’ve been, the things we’ve done and everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate.