Although Boeing is already halfway through its 101st year in business, the spirit of the 2016 centennial lives on through a company-sponsored oral history project — and employees still have a chance to leave their mark on that history.
An interactive experience that tells the Boeing story through the words of those who lived it is part of the Boeing Flight Path exhibit at the Museum of History & Industry in Seattle. When the oral history installation is complete in April, it will feature 100 personal stories that reflect on community, innovation and collaboration to commemorate Boeing’s first 100 years.
But the chance to contribute to the project will continue through a kiosk that any museum visitor, including Boeing employees, can use to record a company-related memory.
“The story of Boeing and the Puget Sound region is literally one and the same,” said Michael Lombardi, Boeing senior corporate historian. “Without Boeing, the Seattle and Puget Sound communities wouldn’t be what they are today. And likewise, without those communities, Boeing couldn’t have grown into the successful company we see in 2017.”
To commemorate the July 15, 2016, centennial celebration, a team worked with the museum to identify 100 people influential in the company and the region from 1916 to 2016. To date, three sets of video interviews of those contributors have been edited into a series of 90-second clips. A set of 25 interviews has been installed every quarter since then, leading up to the final set in April.
Lorraine McConaghy, public historian, said, “Boeing is firmly woven into the fabric of Seattle — it is one of the watersheds of innovation in this city. More than 1 million men and women have worked for the company since 1916, and several who left Boeing went on to make great contributions to the Puget Sound community.”
McConaghy worked at the museum for 20 years until 2013, then returned on contract to work on the Boeing Flight Path project with Dave Unger, the museum’s director of curatorial resources.
“The company’s long history of community has benefited both parties the entire time Boeing has existed, first in early Seattle and now in communities around the world,” Lombardi said. “We continue to contribute to the communities where our employees work and live, and we appreciate everything the communities give back to us.”
By Leslie Hazzard