|Executive director||Bob Perry|
|Public transit access||MBTA Commuter Rail and MBTA bus at Waltham station|
Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation is a museum of the American Industrial Revolution located on the Charles River Bike Path, near the intersection of the Charles River and Moody Street in Waltham, Massachusetts. It houses and displays machinery and artifacts of the industrial revolution from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The building was originally built as part of the Boston Manufacturing Company, Francis Cabot Lowell's seminal, fully integrated textile mill. The museum, which was incorporated in 1980 and opened to the public in 1988, takes up only a small portion of the previous mill building complex.
The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as America's first factory. The earliest buildings on the site have been designated a National Historic Landmark. Though many mills existed before the Boston Manufacturing Company, Francis Cabot Lowell's mill was the first to combine all steps of cotton fabric manufacturing under one roof.
Waltham received a $10 million urban revitalization grant, which allowed the site to be renovated and preserved.As part of the site's renovation, a group of cultural, civic, and business leaders led by Michael Folsom, an MIT professor, created the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation in what had been the mill's massive steam-powered engine and boiler rooms. Following a monumental campaign of fundraising, cleaning, building, planning, and installation, the museum began operation in 1980.
The museum is a nonprofit corporation governed by a Board of Trustees, and funded by private donations.
The mission of the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation is to encourage and inspire future innovation in America. The museum accomplishes this through its collections and programs, by exploring the historical impact of industry on American culture, by examining the dynamic process of innovation, by promoting its location in Waltham as a foundation of the American industrial revolution, by connecting the expertise of older generations with the inquisitiveness of young people, and by providing audiences of all ages with an engaging museum experience.
As of August 2022, the museum’s executive director is Bob Perry.
Core exhibits cover the area's role in the American Industrial Revolution, though the museum also has a dedicated gallery of the Waltham Watch Company to note the city's watch making history.The museum includes two revolving exhibit spaces that change out anywhere from 3–6 months, covering anything from science and math to cultural investigation. The museum also hosts many events and festivals in the Waltham area, and was the first to host the Watch City Steampunk Festival, which was the first steampunk festival to encompass an entire town. The Boston Globe in 2014 reported the museum "takes exploratory learning a step further."
Waltham is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, and was an early center for the labor movement as well as a major contributor to the American Industrial Revolution. The original home of the Boston Manufacturing Company, the city was a prototype for 19th century industrial city planning, spawning what became known as the Waltham-Lowell system of labor and production. The city is now a center for research and higher education, home to Brandeis University and Bentley University as well as industrial powerhouse Raytheon Technologies. The population was 65,218 at the census in 2020.
Lowell is a city in Massachusetts, in the United States. With Cambridge, Lowell is one of two traditional seats of Middlesex County. With an estimated population of 115,554 in 2020, it was the fifth most populous city in Massachusetts as of the last census, and the third most populous in the Boston metropolitan statistical area. The city also is part of a smaller Massachusetts statistical area, called Greater Lowell, and of New England's Merrimack Valley region.
Lowell National Historical Park is a National Historical Park of the United States located in Lowell, Massachusetts. Established in 1978 a few years after Lowell Heritage State Park, it is operated by the National Park Service and comprises a group of different sites in and around the city of Lowell related to the era of textile manufacturing in the city during the Industrial Revolution. In 2019, the park was included as Massachusetts' representative in the America the Beautiful Quarters series.
Francis Cabot Lowell was an American businessman for whom the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, is named. He was instrumental in bringing the Industrial Revolution to the United States.
Paul Moody was a U.S. textile machinery inventor born in Byfield, Massachusetts. He is often credited with developing and perfecting the first power loom in America, which launched the first successful integrated cotton mill at Waltham, Massachusetts in 1814, under the leadership of Francis Cabot Lowell and his associates.
The Boston Associates were a loosely linked group of investors in 19th-century New England. They included Nathan Appleton, Patrick Tracy Jackson, Abbott Lawrence, and Amos Lawrence. Often related directly or through marriage, they were based in Boston, Massachusetts. The term "Boston Associates" was coined by historian Vera Shlakmen in 1935.
Completed in 1796, the Pawtucket Canal was originally built as a transportation canal to circumvent the Pawtucket Falls of the Merrimack River in East Chelmsford, Massachusetts. In the early 1820s it became a major component of the Lowell power canal system. with the founding of the textile industry at what became Lowell.
The Waltham-Lowell system was a labor and production model employed during the rise of the textile industry in the United States, particularly in New England, amid the larger backdrop of rapid expansion of the Industrial Revolution the early 19th century.
The Slater Mill is a historic water-powered textile mill complex on the banks of the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, modeled after cotton spinning mills first established in England. It is the first water-powered cotton spinning mill in North America to utilize the Arkwright system of cotton spinning as developed by Richard Arkwright.
The Boston Manufacturing Company was a business that operated one of the first factories in America. It was organized in 1813 by Francis Cabot Lowell, a wealthy Boston merchant, in partnership with a group of investors later known as The Boston Associates, for the manufacture of cotton textiles. It built the first integrated spinning and weaving factory in the world at Waltham, Massachusetts, using water power. They used plans for a power loom that he smuggled out of England as well as trade secrets from the earlier horse-powered Beverly Cotton Manufactory, of Beverly, Massachusetts, of 1788. This was the largest factory in the U.S., with a workforce of about 300. It was a very efficient, highly profitable mill that, with the aid of the Tariff of 1816, competed effectively with British textiles at a time when many smaller operations were being forced out of business. While the Rhode Island System that followed was famously employed by Samuel Slater, the Boston Associates improved upon it with the "Waltham System". The idea was successfully copied at Lowell, Massachusetts, and elsewhere in New England. Many rural towns now had their own textile mills.
Patrick Tracy Jackson was an American manufacturer, one of the founders of the Boston Manufacturing Company of Waltham, Massachusetts, and later a founder of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company, whose developments formed the nucleus of Lowell, Massachusetts.
The Lowell mill girls were young female workers who came to work in textile mills in Lowell, Massachusetts, during the Industrial Revolution in the United States. The workers initially recruited by the corporations were daughters of New England farmers, typically between the ages of 15 and 35. By 1840, at the height of the Textile Revolution, the Lowell textile mills had recruited over 8,000 workers, with women making up nearly three-quarters of the mill workforce.
The history of Lowell, Massachusetts, is closely tied to its location along the Pawtucket Falls of the Merrimack River, from being an important fishing ground for the Pennacook tribe to providing water power for the factories that formed the basis of the city's economy for a century. The city of Lowell was started in the 1820s as a money-making venture and social project referred to as "The Lowell Experiment", and quickly became the United States' largest textile center. However, within approximately a century, the decline and collapse of that industry in New England placed the city into a deep recession. Lowell's "rebirth", partially tied to Lowell National Historical Park, has made it a model for other former industrial towns, although the city continues to struggle with deindustrialization and suburbanization.
The Lowell mills were 19th-century textile mills that operated in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, which was named after Francis Cabot Lowell; he introduced a new manufacturing system called the "Lowell system", also known as the "Waltham-Lowell system".
Mill Conversion or mill rehab is a form of adaptive reuse in which a historic mill or industrial factory building is restored or rehabilitated into another use, such as residential housing, retail shops, office, or a mix of these non-industrial elements (mixed-use).
The Boott Mills in Lowell, Massachusetts were a part of an extensive group of cotton mills, built in 1835 alongside a power canal system in this important cotton town. Their founder was Kirk Boott, one of the early mill owners in Lowell. Today, the Boott Mills complex is the most intact in Lowell and is part of Lowell National Historical Park. It houses the Boott Cotton Mills Museum.
The Merrimack Manufacturing Company was the first of the major textile manufacturing concerns to open in Lowell, Massachusetts, beginning operations in 1823.
Watch City Steampunk Festival, previously known as "International Steampunk City" and the "Watch City Festival," is the oldest annual open-air, indoor/outdoor steampunk festival in the United States, and is held in Waltham, Massachusetts. It began in 2011 as a fundraiser by and for the benefit of the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, which suffered significant flood damage in March 2010. The original event pioneered a new model of science fiction convention in which the broader, non-fandom public community was deliberately engaged by presenting events and programming in city spaces and local businesses often free to the public. This is still a primary feature of the Festival today.
International Steampunk City is an annual steampunk festival. It is currently held in the Historic Speedwell area of Morristown, New Jersey, United States, and was previously hosted in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Bruce Rosenbaum is an American artist and designer. He is known for his work in Steampunk design, both in his home, The Steampunk House, and for what is produced by his company, ModVic. He has been called the steampunk guru by the Wall Street Journal and steampunk evangelist by Wired Magazine.