National Museum of Industrial History Opens to Public
The National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH), the first affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, opens its doors for the first time today at 10 a.m. with a 30-minute ribbon cutting and grand opening.
After the opening ceremony, the museum will be open to the public until 5 p.m.
The NMIH began as the brain-child of Bethlehem Steel Company in 1997. After the company went out of business in 2003, the NMIH lost momentum until little more than a year ago, when new leadership renewed development of the museum’s home in the Steel’s 40,000 square-foot, 1913 electrical repair shop on 3rd Street, on the old plant grounds.
Visitors will see the mammoth 115-ton Corliss Engine built in 1914. It once pumped eight million gallons of water a day to the people of York, Pennsylvania.
They’ll see the timeclock and work whistles of Bethlehem Steel, which once called 30,000 or more employees to work.
And they’ll see a silk loom that made broad cloth for U.S. Presidents dating back to Herbert Hoover.
Altogether, the museum presents more than 200 unique artifacts which show America’s rich industrial history.
“(We have) some are the first made, the longest operated, and the last used (artifacts),” said Amy Hollander, NMIH President and CEO. “There are artifacts that are here from Bethlehem Steel, from the local silk industry, and from the propane industry that are original to the very beginnings of these industries. We also have incredible artifacts on loan, including 23 from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History,”
The NMIH Grand Opening will continue through the weekend (Aug. 5-7) with special tours, youth activities, and more.
Take an exclusive look inside the museum with PBS39 here.