Museum Monday: Tripping Over a New Museum at Steelyard Commons, Cleveland

A train car to carry molten iron. RL Fifield 2012.

I wasn’t sure what to feel about Steelyard Commons. It’s a rather run-of-the mill (pun, ha) shopping center created on lands once occupied by a Cleveland steel mill in 2007. Other steel mills are located nearby. It’s identifying characteristic is the fragments of the ground’s former past, with interpretive signage nearby. So above the Five Guys Burgers & Fries, there is a utilities bridge, that once carried resources over the roadways and railways of the steel operation.

Along the edge of a parking lot, other bits of steel mill past are arranged, and the old “clock house” (where you clocked in for work at the mill) is being turned into a small museum. A  running trail runs along side, and there are plans to route the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad near  the exhibits, extending eventually to Cleveland (the eventual restoration of service after all these years?)

RL Fifield 2012.

So while for once a new commercial development didn’t completely obliterate what came before, it’s still a vast arrangements of parking lots and big box stores. But I did learn about equipment used in steel production, and that helped me interpret what I was seeing around Cleveland.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.

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