Monday, January 4, 2016

New Mission New Programs

We at the American Precision Museum recently changed the museum's mission and programming priorities to include more outreach. The idea was to use the incredible story of what happened here in the 19th century to inspire students today.

Robbins & Lawrence Armory, 1849
In the mid-nineteenth century, here at the museum, three young men skilled in  hand-crafted  gunsmithing, pattern making, and precision milling came together to create “The American System” of manufacturing.  Their state-of-the-art armory building, powered by Windsor's Mill Brook, would set the stage for future manufacturing around the world.  Their contribution was fundamental in shaping today’s industry, commerce, and consumer society.

Windsor Manufacturing Lathe, detail

There were some principles they practiced that continue to be fundamental today to economic development. They had locally-owned enterprises, deeply rooted apprenticeship programs, a sharing of skills across firms, and investment in accumulation of knowledge. They created a "community of practice" that led to some of the most important innovations in the Industrial Revolution.

The challenge has been to figure out how to use this historic building as a place of learning and exploration for both young and old and as a living resource for innovation of the past, present, and future. Through this blog, I will share our story as we set about to meet the challenge and our mission.

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