ATHM

American Textile History Museum set to re-open on June 21.

ATHM in Lowell, Massachusetts holding free grand re-opening on June 21 featuring new exhibitions, a raffle, contest, and membership discounts

Lowell, MA. – The American Textile History Museum is reopening on Sunday, June 21, with an entirely new and interactive experience for people of all ages. The grand reopening is free to the public.

In the Museum’s new exhibit – Textile Revolution: An Exploration through Space and Time – visitors will explore the fascinating world of textiles in a fun, “hands on” environment where they will spin, weave, recycle, and design their way through textile history and into the future.

Gone are the days of static displays behind glass and a museum whose story ends in 1950. In the new ATHM, visitors will simulate parachuting from a real single-engine plane, weave on a hand-loom, and try on a firefighter’s flame-resistant coat. From a bike made from carbon fiber to clothing made from recycled plastic soda bottles and crude oil, visitors will see firsthand how textiles impact their world every day.

“Most people have no idea how their lives are shaped by textiles – far beyond the clothing they wear,” said ATHM President and CEO Jim Coleman. “We want them to have a great time exploring that in a very entertaining, interactive experience, touching and feeling and testing the fabrics and exhibits. We can promise that after a visit to the American Textile History Museum, people will never look at textiles the same way again.”

The American Textile History Museum, located at 491 Dutton St. in Lowell, closed in 2007 for a complete renovation and reconstruction of the new Museum experience.

Beginning at a replica of a Savannah, Georgia-style warehouse, visitors will explore the textile story chronologically from the pre-industrial era to the important role they currently play in revolutionizing our lives through scientific applications, including “wicking” fabrics that pull perspiration away from the skin and super-sensitive bio-filters made of fibers capable of filtering out viruses, bacteria, and hazardous particles. Coleman promises many surprises along the way, including the “sharkskin” suits like those worn by U.S. Olympic gold medal swimmers and a new pressurized glove for NASA astronauts invented by an unemployed Maine engineer and his 14-year-old son.

For the first time, the Museum will feature Family Activity Areas of fun and learning, specifically designed for children three to eight years of age. Families will enjoy fun and crafts in the new Textile Learning Center, where kids can roll up their sleeves creating crafts with fabrics, glitter glue, and their imaginations, as well as playing in the “dress-up corner” or the many other textile “touch and play” activities.

The grand opening will also launch a naming contest for a colorful eight-foot knitted scarecrow, as well as two unique exhibits.

Threads: The Weaving of Stories, an exhibit curated by the Revolving Museum, will be the first exhibition to grace the Stevens Gallery. Seven artists, including longtime Revolving Museum Artistic Director Jerry Beck, will bring to ATHM a provocative exhibit fusing the history of traditional textiles with contemporary issues, including science, technology, current fashion, history, and politics.

What Followed Me Home: Collecting Antique Quilts, Fabrics, and Tools, is a special exhibit of quilts from the personal collection of respected quilt historian Stephanie Hatch, showcasing a variety of styles and patterns, with fabrics including resist, block, copperplate, and roller prints.

The ATHM grand reopening is Sunday, June 21, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with free admission for all ages, and a 20 percent discount on all memberships. Regular hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults; $6 for seniors, children 6 – 16, and college students. Admission is free for Museum members and children under 6. The Museum is located at 491 Dutton Street, Lowell, MA. For information, visit www.athm.org or call 978-441-0400.

About the American Textile History Museum
The American Textile History Museum tells America’s story through the art, history, and science of textiles. ATHM holds an extraordinary library and one of the world’s largest and most important publicly held collections of tools, spinning wheels, hand looms, and early production machines. The Museum’s textile collections include more than five million pieces of textile prints, fabric samples, rolled textiles coverlets, and costumes. It has been accredited by the American Association of Museums since 1973.