Slater Mill is an interactive museum where you can take part in the lives of the New England villagers, inventors, artisans, and entrepreneurs who created the American Industrial Revolution. As you stroll the grounds and enter the authentic 18th and 19th century buildings you'll meet costumed interpreters eager to explain and demonstrate what life was like as America began moving from the farm to the factory in the 1830s.
Sylvanus Brown House was erected in 1758 and moved to its present location in 1973, this red gambrel-roofed cottage is now “home” to a family of artisans and mill workers. The family demonstrates and explains the activities of daily life in the early mill village of Pawtucket. Rising before the sun and working through the day, each member of the family had a series of tasks that had to be done to make sure that food, shelter and clothing were always available. Be sure to visit both the living quarters upstairs and the kitchen and flax shed on the lower level.
Flax for linen, vegetables for the kitchen and colorful flowers are all grown from historically correct seeds in the kitchen garden between the Sylvanus Brown House and Wilkinson Mill. As you view the flax breaking and spinning demonstrations you'll understand why it took weeks when you asked Mom for a new shirt instead of just a quick drive to the mall.
Inventive artisans working in David Wilkinson’s machine shop (replicated on the first floor of the rubblestone mill) developed some of the critical tools that supported the textile industry of the Blackstone Valley and the shipping industry of Providence and Newport. You’ll see machine tools from the 19th century operated and explained by skilled interpreters. Listen carefully and you’ll learn how many of the things we take for granted today first came about. Although electricity has replaced water power, you may notice that the tools themselves haven’t changed all that much in nearly two centuries.
As you enter the bell tower of the Slater Mill you’ll be carried back to the time when children were called from the farm fields to the machines of the spinning and weaving mills that soon lined the banks of the Blackstone and its tributaries by the hundreds. Today’s exhibit in the Slater Mill shows how textile machinery progressed in complexity and capability from the early 19th to the mid 20th century.
Pictures and information were provided by Slater Mill
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