I remember going to the Putnam Museum in Davenport as a McKinley Elementary School student back in the early 2000s. It was thrilling to walk through the nature exhibit of Mississippi life and then see suits of samurai armor and an Egyptian mummy. The Quad-Cities have roughly a dozen museums, but only one dedicated to natural and human history of this region and the larger world.
But the Putnam is now at risk due to dwindling funding and reduced attendance. Now more than ever, it is vital to protect the Putnam and the educational resources that it houses. Its exhibits provide a first look for many Quad-City children at ecology, history, physics, zoology and geology that may pique their interests.
The Putnam’s East Asian and Egyptian collections were my first interaction with world history. Last year, I graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in history and volunteered for three years at a Chicago history museum that had mummies of its own. Although I had many influences that crafted my love of history and museums, the Putnam deserves credit for being the first.
Today, the Putnam’s layout has changed, but the history, memories, and latent potential are still there. No longer a bright-eyed kid, I can still look forward to learning something new whenever I visit. It is the home to local and world history and natural science, with a unique education for all that cannot be lost. Whether for the first or hundredth time, visit, support, and discover.