TODAY: International Peace Museum celebrates grand reopening with exhibit spotlighting exclusive MLK photographs

Having remained closed for more than 26 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Peace Museum will celebrate its grand reopening Friday, June 3 at its new home in downtown Dayton.

Previously housed in the Isaac Pollack House at 208 W. Monument Ave, the museum has moved to 10 North Ludlow Street, particularly the northeast corner of North Ludlow and West Third Street. The museum is regarded as America’s only brick-and-mortar peace museum complete with rotating exhibitions and special programs.

The new space, formerly a branch of U.S. Bank, is 4,600 square-feet lined with street level windows and faces the fountain on Courthouse Square.

“The space has purpose-built, multiple functions,” said Kevin Kelly, director of the International Peace Museum. “We have a stage and professional audio/video equipment to do workshops, programs and live music. We can have 165 people in the space versus 15 people at (our old space). We also have a classroom and an area set aside just for guest exhibits. ‘The Chicago Freedom Movement’ will be our first guest exhibit.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“The Chicago Freedom Movement” is a rare collection of early photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the open housing movement. From 1965 to 1966, King moved his crusade for civil rights to Chicago in a campaign named The Chicago Freedom Movement. He particularly raised awareness of “fair housing” during a series of nonviolent freedom marches in all-white neighborhoods in the summer of 1966. Photographer Bernard Kleina documented those marches and has bestowed the collection being exhibited to the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center. The center will use the exhibit as an educational tool to spotlight the message of equal housing opportunity.

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Kelly is eager to present the exhibition and also have the 89-year-old photographer appear at a special reception on Thursday, June 2.

“Unlike journalists at the time who only had black and white film, Kleina had color film,” Kelly said. “He created an incredible collection of King and pictures of the era such as counterprotests. It’s also an expanded collection.”

“An Evening with Bernie Kleina” will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available on the Peace Museum website or in person until sold out.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“The Chicago Freedom Movement” exhibit will open to the public Friday, June 3 and continue through Saturday, July 30.

Regular museum hours are Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with special events during the week. Regular admission to the museum is $5.

The International Peace Museum was founded in 2004 by Ralph and Christine Dull, J. Frederick Arment, Steve Fryburg and Lisa Wolters to provide a place for the community to learn alternatives to war, racism and violence. It honors the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended war in Bosnia.

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Kelly acknowledges the reopening is an exciting turning point for the museum.

“It’s an opportunity to expand and to be much more relevant to more people by being in the location we’re in and having the facility we now have that we’ve never had before,” he said. “Part of our mission is to collaborate and work with other organizations and we’ve already started doing so. Education is also going to be a greater part of what we do.”

For more information, visit peace.museum.

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