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Digital timeline links Akron Children's past, future

10-24-2016 (Akron, Ohio )

Visitors to Akron Children’s Hospital will be able to go “back to the future” with a few touches to a new digital timeline display on the hospital’s third floor.

At a brief ceremony today, Bill Considine, CEO and chairman of Akron Children’s, unveiled the new interactive display that traces hospital history from 1890 to present while also weaving in Akron history, medical milestones and pop culture memories by the decade.

The previous timeline display was always a popular conversation piece for patient families and visitors passing through the hospital. In addition to hospital milestones, it featured small, three-dimensional artifacts like a Goodyear blimp, a Christmas tree representing the hospital’s annual Holiday Tree Festival, and Pinkie the Puppet.

“We used the hospital’s125th anniversary in 2015 to bring our popular timeline up to date and in step with the digital world in which we now live,” said Lin Gentile, vice president for support services and construction at Akron Children’s.

With a touch of a screen, visitors can enter a decade and learn about Akron Children’s milestones – such as how it faced the polio epidemic, added clinical programs or expanded its campus and footprint throughout the region. These events are juxtaposed with significant Akron stories, medical discoveries and cultural touchstones, such as Raggedy Ann’s debut and Superman’s first appearance in a comic book.

“From Petie the Pony’s first visit to the hospital to our inaugural `Have a Heart, Do Your Part’ Radiothon,’ Akron Children’s milestones are moments to celebrate and share with our employees, patient families and visitors,” said Gentile. “Our new timeline puts those at a finger’s touch and into perspective with other events happening around that time in our city and beyond.”

A committee with representatives from Human Resources, Patient Experience, Nursing, the Akron Children’s Women’s Board and Foundation, and Public Relations has worked on the project for more than a year.

The digital timeline - actually five side-by-side 55-inch-wide flat screens – was manufactured by Zenith Systems of Cleveland.

It joins the George Rhoads’ “Incrediball Circus II,” Franz Spohn’s gumball mural, and “Celebrating Children’s,” a mosaic of 10,000 unique pieces of artwork made by friends of the hospital, as signature pieces of art that have become uniquely associated with a visit to Akron Children’s Hospital.