Smithsonian Museum Features Top Community Newspapers and their Families
WASHINGTON—Leading community newspapers are featured in a new virtual exhibition by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. The exhibition, “America’s Mailing Industry,” was launched in a reception at the museum Sept. 13.
The National Newspaper Association developed the story of newspapers for the exhibit, working in conjunction with the NNA Foundation and the Smithsonian staff. Curators interviewed key publishers during the March 2015 NNA Leadership Summit, and developed the stories of their newspapers and their use of the mail.
The exhibition is found here.
Other industries included are the direct mail, shipping, printing, software and nonprofit sectors, all of which rely upon the U.S. Postal Service and which collectively represent more than $1 trillion in economic activity each year.
Allen Kane, director of the museum, said: “America’s mailing industry is quite possibly the most successful government-private sector partnership in our nation’s history. We are excited to tell this story, as most people don’t even know the industry exists.”
The project will be expanded to include on-site physical artifacts at the Postal Museum’s Washington site. The museum draws more than 1 million visitors a year. The digital exhibitions bring in about 3 million people a year.
More industry stories will be added as resources permit, according to the museum.
“NNA and the NNA Foundation are delighted to participate in this excellent exhibition,” NNA President Chip Hutcheson, publisher of The Times Leader, Princeton, KY, said. “America’s community newspapers play many roles in our nation’s culture and economy, but one role that is not always visible is that we are mailers. The U.S. Postal Service essentially links us to our readers and supports our communities, particularly in small-town America. We depend upon the mail, and the Postal Service depends upon us to tell its story. We hope many people will learn from visiting this exhibition that community newspapers are thriving and that they can be found in the mailbox!”
Newspapers and newspaper families featured in the exhibition are:
- “The Budget,” Sugar Creek, OH, whose story is told by the late Publisher Keith Rathbun.
- “The News-Gazette,” Lexington, VA, whose story is told by fourth generation Publisher Matthew Paxton IV.
- “The Nebraska Signal,” Geneva, NE, whose story is told by fourth generation publisher John Edgecombe Jr.
- “The Times Leader,” Princeton, KY, whose story is told by John “Chip” Hutcheson, NNA president, who succeeded his father as publisher.
- The Tom Mullen family, of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Ohio and Washington state, who have started, purchased and published small-town newspapers for several decades. Tom and his wife, Annie, have been joined in the family by sons Jesse, Louis and Lloyd, all who are now active in the business.