Smithsonian Exhibit In Cowan

AEDC 1st Lt. Charmeeka Scroggins talks to students about the way work was done at AEDC in the 1950s and 1960s during the Smithsonian Exhibition at the Cowan Railroad museum

Over the last 60 years, Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) has continued to perform its primary mission: develop, test and evaluate weapon, propulsion, aerodynamic and space systems at realistic conditions for the nation.

But many things regarding the way AEDC employees worked have changed, and some of them are being shown off during an exhibit at the Cowan Center for the Arts.

As part of the Smithsonian Exhibit “The Way We Worked,” which wrapped up a visit to Cowan recently, AEDC set up a booth with photos, historic information and instruments that were commonly used during the 1950s and 1960s.

The Smithsonian exhibit explores the diversity of the American workforce and dramatic changes in work environments and conditions throughout the years. Cowan is one of six towns in Tennessee to feature the exhibit.

Cowan Railroad Museum board member Patricia Ann Underwood said after they learned the exhibit would be coming to town, they started looking for area businesses that could contribute to the exhibit. In addition to reaching out to Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA), Arnold Engineering Development Center’s operating contractor, they were able to get displays for other area landmarks such as Falls Mill, the University of the South and Kokomo Grain Company. The museum board members also had to develop a companion exhibit about Cowan to go with the Smithsonian’s.

The goal of the Smithsonian exhibit was to help the Cowan Railroad Museum and to make it a better museum for people when they come through.