the museum purchase features such as lighting and interactive components for the exhibit, and will provide the exhibit with long-term sustainability, she said.
“We are so thankful to La-Z-Boy and Audra Farrell, who toured our Museum and first saw the chair and accompanying photos in our current facility,” Rennard said.
While the museum is under renovations, the 1970s style avocado green chair is on display in the lobby of the La-Z-Boy factory alongside a replica of the original 1927 wooden La-Z-Boy chair.
“They had the foresight, at that time, to give that chair to the museum, to realize that it’s historically significant,” Rennard said. “That’s one of the things that we at the museum keep wanting to strive to say to people is that ‘What happens today in our town is history tomorrow.’”
There is a strong history of industry in Siloam Springs, according to Rennard. The town was once home to the world’s largest vinegar plant, but now produces more chickens than apples, she said. Access to the railroad tracks, transportation, a strong workforce and golf course to entertain clients may have been factors in the development of local industry, she said.
“At the end of the day, our quality of life changes every time an organization makes a commitment to our community, because not only do our employees have a chance to get a job at a living wage, but they also have children who grow up and sometimes take their place working in the corporation,” Rennard said. “You also have all these volunteers who want to give back to the community, so Boys and Girls Club benefits, United Way benefits. … And all this happens because a corporation makes a decision to choose our area to make their home. The years and years of combined income have changed the economic flow of Siloam Springs.”
Museums can play a vital role in helping the community remember the impact of the past.
“It’s great we are where we are, but it’s great we realize how we got here,” she said. “That’s why we have museums.”
A photo, dated May 10, 1973, depicts the first La-Z-Boy chair off the assembly line in Siloam Springs, which was donated to the Siloam Springs Museum. The caption identifies the people in the photo as Marie Andrews, Charles Nocella, Bob Kilgoar, Mac McCloud and Jim Sheets.