Exhibit honors Samantha Smith on anniversary of her death

Exhibit honors Samantha Smith on anniversary of her death

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Tuesday marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Samantha Smith, the school girl from Manchester, Maine who traveled to the Soviet Union at the invitation of then President Yuri Andropov.

It was 1983 when the 10-year-old captured the world's attention when she made her historic trip. It came after she wrote a leader to the Soviet leader asking for peace. Three years later, at the age of 13, she died in a plane crash along with her father.

The trip to the Soviet Union is captured in rarely seen photographs, now on display in a special exhibit at the Maine State Museum.

"Yesterday Jane Smith, Samantha's mother, was here and there were some of the photos even she hadn't seen. So they really are new to the public and that's a treat," said Laurie Labar, the chief curator at the Maine State Museum.

Jessica Dwyer brought her daughters and their friend on the exhibit's opening day.

"My oldest daughter said wow, she was just from Manchester, Maine. So it's important to instill that message for them that anyone from anywhere can make a difference," she said.

For Dwyer, it's more than just an just an inspiration - she was childhood friends with Samantha Smith.

"It has brought memories to the forefront that I haven't really thought about," she said.

The Samantha Smith exhibit will remain up through mid- October at the museum, which is located right next to the Maine State House.


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