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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Lowell National Historical Park" (with photographs) and other source material about this millyard, as well as other industrial sites in Lowell. It was written by Stephen Stowell, a former Park Ranger, at Lowell National Historical Park who is now Administrator of the Lowell Historic Board. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in units on America's Industrial Revolution and in other related disciplines such as science and the history of technology. Students will strengthen their skills of observation, analysis, interpretation related to history, geography, the social sciences, and architecture.
Time period: Early to mid-19th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To compare the initial and later power sources of the Boott Mills and explain why they changed.
2) To compare the appearance of earlier mills, such as Slater's Mill, with those constructed in the Boott millyard to see how industrial design changed over time.
3) To explain how function influenced mill design.
4) To discover how the Boott millyard was changed to increase production.
5) To identify the types of industry and industrial structures (factories, mines, bridges, dams, canals, etc.) that exist in their own community or region and to explore how these industries were alike and different from the Boott Cotton Mills.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
1) two maps of Massachusetts and Lowell's canal system;
2) three readings compiled from historic studies and primary documentation on the physical and technological development of the Boott millyard;
3) five drawings that illustrate the evolution of the site;
4) one historic photograph of the Boott Mill complex.

Visiting the site
Lowell National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service, is located 30 miles northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. The park includes historic cotton textile mills, 5.6 miles of canals, operating gatehouses, and worker housing. Trolley and boat tours run seasonally, while interactive education programs are presented in cooperation with the University of Massachusetts, Lowell's Tsongas Industrial History Center during the school year. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum includes an operating early 20th-century mill weave room of 88 power looms. The Working People Exhibit is located in a former mill boardinghouse. The park is closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. For more information, contact the Superintendent, Lowell National Historical Park, 169 Merrimack Street, Lowell, Massachusetts 01852, or visit the park's web pages.



Comments or Questions

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