Tune in to the Discover Uncover Podcast | A Deeper Dive into the Sloan Museum History Archives

Discover Uncover delves into the deeper backstories of Sloan’s vast historical collection of nearly 50,000 artifacts. Hosted by Geoff Woodcox - Sloan Museum Curator of Collections, and Jerome Threlkeld - Community Engagement Coordinator, listeners and viewers will go on a journey back in time as we dig into the fascinating stories of Flint, Genesee County, and Michigan using the artifacts as a jumping point. Immerse yourself as the stories unfold and gain a deeper sense of the impacts the artifacts and archives have on today’s culture, customs and society.

If you’re curious about how the past influences our future, and love to learn about the untold stories, take a listen to one of the episodes of Discover Uncover linked below, or on your favorite podcast app starting November 30, 2023.

Podcast Feedback and Contact Info:

If you have a personal connection to one of our podcast historical topics, an artifact relating to Flint or Genesee County history, or have a burning question prompted by one of our past podcasts, please call (810) 237-3417 and leave a voicemail (we may use your question on air), or email us at Podcast@SloanLongway.org



Episode 12 - Contemporary Curation

Collecting artifacts and their stories for future generations

Collecting historical artifacts doesn’t always mean seeking out the old. Museums also collect contemporary artifacts, as well as the stories surrounding those objects, for the benefit of future generations. In this podcast episode Curator Geoff Woodcox and Registrar Sarah Dickinson show some contemporary pieces in the Sloan Museum history collection and the significance they hold for future museum-goers. Sarah also talks about the donation process for anyone who thinks they may have an artifact of significance that will help tell the stories from Flint and Genesee County.

Episode #11: From Crisis to Care | Community Gallery Exhibit

The Evolution of Hurley Medical Center and Emergency Response

Hosts Geoff Woodcox and Sarah Dickinson delve into the backstory of a new community gallery exhibition at Sloan Museum that will open June 25, 2024. “From Crisis to Care” is a community exhibition showcasing the evolution of Hurley Medical Center from one small institution serving Flint to its current status as a Level I trauma center with an international footprint. It also showcases the evolution of emergency response into the system we have now, from your first call to 911 to what happens in the emergency room and general treatment floors. The exhibit was a year-long, collaborative project between Sloan Museum curatorial staff, Exhibit team members, and staff of Hurley Medical Center who generously provided artifacts and directed the story. Also partnering on the exhibit is Patriot Ambulance Service, which provided artifacts including a real ambulance.

Episode #10: The 1950 Buick Estate Wagon “Woodie”

Celebrating Wonderful Woodies

Wood-paneled vehicles from the 1940s and 1950s became affectionately known as “Woodies” by historic car enthusiasts. Curator of Collections Geoff Woodcox and Registrar and Exhibits Liaison Sarah Dickinson go into the backstories of a wood-paneled 1950 Buick Estate Wagon that’s part of Sloan’s historic vehicle collection. Donated in 1969 by Donald Mitchell, the President of Ionia Manufacturing Company, this “Woodie” is an example of General Motors’ outsourcing for niche vehicles. This podcast episode also gives listeners and viewers insights into the automotive design elements that emerged after WWII and how post-war popular culture influenced both the buyers and the manufacturers.

Episode 9: Old Money

A Peek Inside a Rare Coin Collection Spanning 2000 Years

Hidden away in the vast artifact collection at Sloan Museum is a coin and bill collection that spans 2000 years, dating from an ancient Roman coin dated 240 BCE, through American colonial coins from the 1600s and a $7 hand-signed bill in 1775, and up through the 19th century. Altogether, there are about 600 pieces that were primarily transferred from the Genesee County Historical Society. Sloan’s Curator of Collections Geoff Woodcox and co-host Sarah Dickinson, Registrar & Exhibit Liaison, go down into the Sloan Collections and bring out these rare coins for an interesting peek into geo-politics and history through money from the past.

Episode 8: Flint Faience Tiles

AC Spark Plug’s Clever Spinoff That Beautified the World

Sloan Museum Curator of Collections, Geoff Woodcox, tells the intriguing genesis of Flint Faience Tiles. This short-lived tile company began with an unusual partnership between French-born Albert Champion, who founded AC Spark Plug (now ACDelco), and an entrepreneurial Belgian-born ceramic tile artist named Carl Bergmans. Faience is a style of tile named after a village in Italy and was very popular in the early 20th century. During the early days of spark plug manufacturing, there were times when the kilns used to produce the ceramic insulators were not in use. Tilemaker Bergmans approached Champion in 1921 about using the kilns to produce decorative tiles and a clever new business was born. At its peak, Flint Faience Tiles were used on cruise ships, schools, factories, and homes around the United States. There is a small exhibit of Flint Faience Tiles in the History Gallery that tells the story of this unusual partnership between an enterprising automotive parts supplier and an innovative artist.

Episode 7: The 1956 Buick Centurion Concept Car

A Marvel of Ingenuity and Art

This 1956 Buick Centurion on display in Sloan Museum's vehicle gallery is a one-of-a-kind concept car. Developed for and debuted at the 1956 Motorama, the Buick Centurion's futuristic design has been beloved for decades. With many features considered "new" today, this car was certainly ahead of its time. In this episode, Sloan Museum Curator of Collections Geoff Woodcox details these unique features, such as a freestanding speedometer with a fixed indicator and rotation dial. There is also a television camera mounted just above the tail cone that projected images from the rear of the car to a screen on the dash, thus eliminating the need for a rear view mirror. While rearview cameras with unobstructed views are now mandatory on all new vehicles, the 1956 Buick Centurion was the very first to unveil this forward-thinking feature.

Episode 6: Flint's Bozo the Clown

The Legacy of Frank Cady

Most big city television markets had a Bozo the Clown show in the 1960-70s. In Flint, Michigan, Frank Cady was Bozo. As part of the Sloan Museum of Discovery's artifact collection, Frank Cady's original costume, clown shoes, hair and accessories are on display. In this lighthearted episode of Discover Uncover, Jerome and Geoff go into some of Bozo folklore and show off some of his lesser-known accessories, like his giant comb and some of the original "magic" acts seen on the set of ABC 12.

Episode 5: Revisiting The Impact of the 44-Day UAW Sit Down Strike of 1936-1937

The long-lasting effects of the historic United Auto Worker Sit-Down Strike in Flint, Michigan can hardly be overstated. The resolutions from the strike greatly improved the quality of life for generations of automotive manufacturing workers throughout the country. In this podcast, Geoff Woodcox, Curator of Sloan's Historical Collections, goes into details about why the Sit-Down Strike happened, the sacrifices made by the strikers and their families, General Motors' and the City of Flint's response, and the eventual demands that were met by GM. As mentioned in the podcast, there are surprisingly very few artifacts from this historic event. If you have any letters, artifacts or stories that have been handed down from family members or friends who were involved in this significant historical event, please email us at podcast@SloanLongway.org.

Episode 4: Uncovering the Legacy of Flint’s WWII Hellcat Tank Destroyer

The WWII Hellcat Tank Destroyer was built by General Motors in the Flint, Michigan, region from 1942-1945. General Motors stopped building automobiles during that time frame to build the Hellcat, engines, and ammunitions as part of the war effort. Curator of Collections, Geoff Woodcox, gives some fascinating historical details about the 33,000 pound Hellcat that is part of the Sloan Museum History Gallery and how Flint’s contributions helped accomplish victory during World War II. The 1942 Hellcat on display--found in Eastern Europe in 2000 covered in graffiti--is now fully restored and in working condition. Video of the Hellcat being driven to the museum to be permanently displayed in a special fortified section is included for viewers of the podcast.

Episode 3: A Conversation with Adam Avery – Anishinabek Artist

Sloan Curator of Collections and Jerome Threlkeld interview Adam Avery, a Michigan-based Anishinabek artist who created and donated his Native American regalia art to Sloan's History Gallery. Their conversation in this episode delves into the process to get the details accurate in the Anishinabek section of the History Gallery through Sloan's partnership with the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Avery gives details about how he learned his craft in beadwork, and the importance of the artifacts he donated to the Sloan History Gallery. We also learn why the Native American tribes originally came to the region of Flint, how Michigan got its name, and how harvesting the bark from trees led to bear and wolf encounters in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Episode 2: An Equal Opportunity Lie

Housing Discrimination in the City of Flint

As the birthplace of General Motors, the City of Flint's population exploded in the early 20th century, going from about 30,000 to 90,000 people between 1910 and 1920 as workers from the Southern US and abroad poured into the region for jobs. Flint's infrastructure wasn't keeping up as tent cities and shanty towns cropped up. As a housing solution for their workers, GM and other companies created the Modern Housing Corporation to build affordable housing and entire neighborhoods for their workers. Behind the scenes, there was something else happening. Restricted housing "covenants" were built into the contracts, formalizing segregated housing and inequality. As the community grew, the housing ordinances made long-lasting impacts on the City and surrounding areas. Listen in as host Geoff Woodcox and Jerome Threlkeld discuss how this affected the Flint community, and the great strides taken by former Mayor Floyd McCree to achieve fair housing.

Episode 1: The Beecher Tornado of 1953

Honoring the 70th Anniversary

Listen in as Geoff Woodcox, Sloan Museum curator of Collections, and Jerome Threlkeld, Community Engagement Coordinator, discuss the catastrophic EF5 tornado that destroyed entire neighborhoods in the Beecher community. Letters from high school students' accounts of the storm are read aloud, as well as how the community came together to heal and re-build.

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