The Lehigh Valley has a variety of museums that encompass heritage, history, local art, and culture. Recently, the Lehigh Valley added to its extensive number of museums with the opening of the National Museum of Industrial History. This museum is recognized as one of the Smithsonian Affiliate Museums where you will find approximately 20 Smithsonian artifacts. This is one of the highest numbers among all of the 150 affiliate museums in the country. The National Museum Of Industrial History, a 18,000-square-foot facility, has about 200 artifacts in total.
The exhibits at the museum display this country’s roots in inventive and innovative machinery and the labors of millions of nameless and faceless workers of the past. Amy Hollander, who is the president and CEO of the museum, also wanted to complement the displays with oral histories. These oral histories depict America’s industrial past which are characterized by dangerous working environments, minimal wages, child labor, struggles with the creation of unions, and discrimination against women and minorities. The museum has many different types of exhibits that are sure to leave its visitors impressed.
The museum has a regional focus on PA’s strong industrial heritage and its contribution to the development of this country. The museum features artifacts and exhibits that show how steel helped build our city skyscrapers, bridges and equipment that is used in war. There are also other industries that are featured which include the propane and silk industries.
One of the exhibits which is located in the main gallery is the 1876 Centennial Exhibit. It is an exhibit that celebrates what the United States had accomplished within the first 100 years of being a country. The event that officially celebrated it was the first World’s Fair which occurred in Philadelphia in 1876. Although many of the items on display are replicas of what you would have seen during that time, you can also find many originals at the Centennial Exhibit.
Another of the museum’s exhibits that is most notable is the propane exhibit. R.F. Ohl, a sponsor of the National Museum of Industrial History, participated in the opening ceremony. Below are some of the main features of this exhibit:
Come and take a virtual hot air balloon ride.
Learn how propane is used during wartime.
The development of propane as a significant fuel by Walter Snelling, the “father of propane”.
Learn about the many uses of propane.
The National Museum of Industrial History has many displays that will leave its visitors impressed. You will certainly be able to appreciate and learn about PA’s strong industrial heritage and its contribution to the development of this country. Want to visit? Here are the details for the museum:
602 E 2nd St
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Below is the press release that NMIH distributed regarding the grand opening:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 23, 2016
PROPANE INDUSTRY CELEBRATES NEW EXHIBIT AND MUSEUM OPENING
Bethlehem, PA – In September, Propane industry leaders came together to celebrate the newly opened National Museum of Industrial History and its featured interactive exhibit on the history of propane. Steve Ohl of R.F. Ohl in Lehighton, PA was among the first to tour the exhibit in its first weeks open to the public.
The National Museum of Industrial History was created to preserve America’s rich industrial heritage and to forge a connection between America’s industrial past and the innovations of today. Set in the 100-year old Electric Repair Shop of the former Bethlehem Steel plant, the museum houses four galleries whose themes showcase stories of local industry and their global reach. Museum visitors have a chance to explore the new cultural attraction – featuring a wealth of unique artifacts, hands-on experiences, and compelling stories from the iron, steel, silk and propane industries. The Museum also showcases a world-class display of early American industrial artifacts on loan from Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The Propane Gallery explores the history of the industry from the discovery of the extraction process in 1912 to the latest technologies for producing the gas today. Visitors learn about this story by exploring artifacts, oral histories and interactive experiences. Highlights include one-of-a-kind artifacts from Gasol, the company started by propane inventor, Walter O. Snelling, and a virtual hot air balloon ride along the national propane distribution network.
In remarks to the gathered Propane industry group, Stuart Weidie of the National Propane Gas Association commented that, “Visitors to the museum will learn about the cleanest, most practical and modern fossil fuel known to man.” The industry was bestowed another honor during the presentation in the form of a proclamation from Bethlehem’s Mayor, Robert Donchez, marking September 10th as Propane Industry Day in Bethlehem.
“The National Museum of Industrial History anticipates an initial audience of more than 50,000 annually,” said NMIH President & CEO, Amy Hollander, “including 15,000 school children, from the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania and beyond. We also plan on offering an expanding menu of educational programming that will complement the exhibits and provide learning opportunities for our visitors including the men and women who spent their lives working in industry as well as for the region’s youth who are too young to have personally seen the blue flame of the blast furnace when it was in operation.
About the National Museum of Industrial History
A Smithsonian Affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. Restoring a 40,000-square- foot, 100-year- old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history. The Museum’s regular hours are Wednesdays through Sundays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Ticket prices are $12 for adults; $11 for seniors, students, and veterans with valid identification; and $9 for children ages 7-17. Children 6 and under are free. More information can be found at www.nmih.org. For more information on NMIH please visit http://nmih.org or call 610-694- 6644.