Start your visit to Lowell in the National Park Visitor Center, featuring the 20-minute film, Lowell: The Continuing Revolution. After the film, you will head to the Boott Cotton Mills Museum for an in-depth look into Lowell history. If time permits, you can enjoy shopping in the Boott Cotton Mills Museum Store.
Lowell: The Continuing Revolution at the National Park Visitor Center
Don’t miss Lowell: The Continuing Revolution. This award-winning film shown in the National Park Visitor Center offers a look at the significance of Lowell, Massachusetts’ place in history.
The Boott Cotton Mills Museum
Punch your timecard (entrance ticket) in a machine used by former mill workers as you enter the first floor of the Boott Mills Museum. Its orientation area features a staffed fee station, exhibits such as a diorama of Lowell in 1876 and the museum store.
The highlight of the first floor is a recreation of a 20th-century Weave Room. Observe the Weave Room from a glassed-in viewing area with informational displays throughout, and then make your way through the Weave Room. The roar from the power looms that line the room are an indication the park employees working as weavers in authentic costumes are hard at work. Of the 98 power looms, a third of these produce textiles today, offering a glimpse into the factory life of America’s textile workers.
Lowell, Visions of Industrial America
On the second floor of the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, Lowell, Visions of Industrial America features exhibits, interactive displays and videos that concentrate on the different elements of Industrial America.
The Dawn of an Era
Wander a wide corridor lined with early sketches and paintings of Lowell that depict the evolution of the city throughout the 19th century. Learn about the famous “farm or factory” debate between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Also along the corridor is a 20-minute slide program entitled, Wheels of Change. This program compares an agricultural-based economy to an industrial-based economy.
Learn about textile production. This section of the exhibit includes displays that feature the details of textile production, a cut-away model of an 1800s mill, oral history videos and sections on technology, innovation, descriptions of jobs in the factory and cloth in the marketplace.
See what happened to the state of the city when mills eventually cut production, fell into bankruptcy, closed up or moved south. At the heart of the Decline is a large mural that depicts an empty mill floor. Listen to the local mill worker’s perspectives on the industrial decline during oral history videos. Informational panels explore dilemmas, choices and consequences faced by the mills, workers and the city as factories closed or moved south.
Beyond New England
Beyond New England explores the movement of textiles from New England to the southern United States and poses questions about textile and clothing manufacturing today. Dress a mannequin at an interactive kiosk and try to uncover where her clothes were made, the cost of the garments and labor issues surrounding the garment. Another display encourages you to check the labels on your own clothes to see which part of the world they were made in.
Discover the issues of the 20th century and the struggle of Lowell to rebound from the brink of economic disaster. Remaking Lowell features an interactive display that allows you build your own city with moveable blocks while taking into account the challenges faced by city planners as they solve issues such as neighborhood relocation, destruction and urban crowding.
Shopping at Boott Cotton Mills Museum
Stop by the Boott Cotton Mills Museum Store, located on the first level of the museum. You will find books, videos and additional information about the Boott Mills and the history of Lowell available for purchase.
- The Visitor Center and Boott Cotton Mills Museum are ADA compliant.
- If time permits, explore the grounds that surround the Boott Cotton Mills Museum. Not far from the museum is a walkway along the Merrimack River.
- Park employees who work in the Weave Room demonstrate loom operation and offer brief talks on the workings of the machinery throughout the day.