Arnolf Tockley exhibit opens

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A new exhibit, “Arnolf Tockley’s Story – Intersecting with the 20th Century,” opens at the Merrill History & Culture Center, 100 E. Third St., on Saturday, Sept. 24. Special hours on opening day are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Merrill native Arnolf Tockley was the son of Norwegian immigrants. The new exhibit highlights the journey that took Tockley from Merrill to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. and shows how his life intersected with many of the key themes and events of the 20th century in the U.S. including immigration and economic opportunity, education, World War II, the Cold War, and America’s race to space. Tockley returned to Merrill following his career and after his death in 1991 a collection of his papers and memorabilia was donated to the Merrill Historical Society. In Tockley’s high school yearbook, now a part of the Society’s collection, this quote was penned by his name: “I am Sir Oracle, And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark.”

The exhibit includes several model rockets on loan from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville that would have been developed during the time when Tockley worked with Wernher von Braun at the Army Ballistic Missile Base and the Marshall Space Flight Center.

As part of the Opening Day festivities on Sept. 24, the Dream Flight USA STEM shuttle will be hosting an open house at the History & Culture Center. Dream Flight USA is based in Wausau. The STEM Shuttle recently returned from a seven-day stay at the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. While there, visitors from nearly every state as well as South Africa, China, Australia, France, and New Zealand took the opportunity to tour the shuttle. Now visitors in Merrill will be able to take a look at the technology available and learn about space exploration.

Regular hours for docent guided tours of the Tockley Exhibit are Wednesday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Self-guided tours are available Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other hours are available by appointment. The exhibit will run through May 1, 2017.

The Merrill Historical Society’s mission is to educate the public about our heritage using the unique historical and cultural resources we collect and preserve. For further information on the programs and activities of the Merrill Historical Society, or to become a member, please contact the Society at 715-536-5652 or merrillhs@frontier.com, or see the website at www.merrillhistory.org.

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