Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling

scrap yard innovators of recycling 10 8 2021

OCTOBER 8 – JANUARY 30, 2022

A peddler calling “Junk man! Any rags, any bones, any bottles today?”
The clatter of cans pouring into a baler.
The grinding of a building-sized car shredder.
The whistle of a cargo ship carrying obsolete computers to sorting facilities around the globe.

These are the sounds of scrap recycling: an industry that turns waste into raw materials, has given millions of people a livelihood and a community, and has propelled American industry and innovation for centuries.

About the Exhibit

For over 200 years, discarded metals, rags, paper, and animal hides have provided economic opportunities for immigrants and native-born Americans who collected, stored, brokered, and sold them – scrappers. The work was grueling, scrappers were stigmatized, and the industry was criticized as a source of social and environmental ills. Still, generations of individuals and families gravitated toward the work—including many Jewish scrappers, who made up seventy to ninety percent of the industry for at least half of the 20th century.

Extended Learning

 – Visiting the Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling website created by Jewish Museum of Maryland.
 – Reading one of the books about scrap, recycling or climate change suggested by Milwaukee Public Library.

Curriculum for Scrap Yard (Developed by Jewish Museum of Maryland)

Virtual Opening Preview of Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling
Thursday, October 7, 7:00 PM

Virtual LOMED Book Club: All-of-a-Kind Family
Tuesday, October 12, 7:00 PM

Built on Scrap Part I – Wisconsin History and the Scrap Industry (Virtual)
Tuesday, October 19, 12:00 PM

Community Electronic Recycling Day
Sunday, October 31, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Environmental Justice: Exploring the Intersection of Waste, Race, and Health (Virtual)
Wednesday, November 3, 7:00 PM

Community Textile Recycling Day
Sunday, November 7, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

A Greener Chanukah: Virtual DIY Upcycled Menorah Workshop
Sunday, November 7, 1:00 PM

America Recycles Day
Monday, November 15, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Free Museum Admission

Junkyard Planet with Best-Selling Author Adam Minter (Virtual)
Thursday, November 18, 7:00 PM

Picking Up the Pieces: Milwaukee Holocaust Survivors and the Scrap Industry
Thursday, December 9, 7:00 PM

Recycle for Good with Department of Public Works (Virtual)
Wednesday, December 15, 12:00 PM

Built on Scrap Part II – Scrapping Stereotypes: Perceptions of the Industry in Pop Culture
Wednesday, January 26, 7:00 PM

Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling was created by the Jewish Museum of Maryland and is accompanied by a Wisconsin-focused section curated by Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

Presenting Sponsor:
Alter Trading Corporation

Brico Fund
Mellowes Family and Charter Manufacturing Company
Wisconsin Humanities*

Anonymous Fund of the Milwaukee Jewish Community Foundation
Suzy B. Ettinger Fund of the Milwaukee Jewish Community Foundation
Frieda and William Hunt Memorial Trust
Jason & Susan Pelz, Mara & Gary Lappin, Danny & Shara Pelz, and David & Allie Pelz

WE Energies Foundation
Lawrence and Lisa Katz
Jeff Schuster and Marcia Schuster

Harry Pelman in Memory of Pete and Luba Pelman
Sam and Jen Essak

Susan Callen
Richard Chudnow and Jennifer Rupp
ComedySportz Milwaukee
Max and Anneliese Dickman
Cindy and Mark Levy
Karen Schapiro and Douglas Frazer in honor of Maurice Mixer

Media Sponsor:
Wisconsin Public Radio 90.7 | The Ideas Network

ABOUT JEWISH MUSEUM MILWAUKEE: The Jewish Museum Milwaukee is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of the Jewish people in southeastern Wisconsin and celebrating the continuum of Jewish heritage and culture. The history of American Jews is rooted in thousands of years of searching for freedom and equality. We are committed to sharing this story and the life lessons it brings with it, so that we may enhance the public’s awareness and appreciation of Jewish life and culture. We are committed to building bridges between diverse groups through shared history and to exploring contemporary issues through the lens of Jewish history, culture and values.

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