The credit union movement’s heroes inspire Stephanie Smith.
But not just the ones from the past. The executive director of America's Credit Union Museum is also inspired by today's credit union leaders.
“We are surrounded by people just like those original pioneers, and I think one of the jobs of the museum is to continue telling the story,” she says.
One way the museum will do that is through the new CUNA Research Center, which is housed in a building next to America’s Credit Union Museum in Manchester, N.H.
It creates a virtual experience that will allow credit unions, consumers, the media, lawmakers, regulators, and others to delve into the history of credit unions. It connects to the museum via a skywalk.
CUNA was the lead sponsor of the America’s Credit Union Museum “Legacy” Capital Campaign to preserve the rich history of the credit union system for future generations. CUNA contributed $1 million to the effort.
Smith called the June 27 opening of the center “a new era” for the museum.
“The creation of the research center establishes a permanent place for our archives,” she says. “It allows us to bring them into a single space where they're easily accessible and available to visitors, both physically and virtually."
And that’s just the first phase of construction.
“During the second phase, we will digitize everything that we have here," she says. "The second phase will also include renovating the current museum."