About This Lesson
This lesson plan is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Mechanics Hall," and other sources on the Industrial Revolution and the Blackstone River Valley. Mechanics Hall: A Symbol of Pride and Industry was written by Jack Whittaker, Park Ranger, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The lesson was edited by Jean West, education consultant, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. 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 classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson will help students gain a deeper understanding of the dynamic shift from farm to factory during the 19th century in the area of Worcester, Massachusetts. It can be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on the industrialization of New England.
Time period: 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 explain the Blackstone River Valley's role in the early industrialization of the United States.
2) To determine how various transportation methods impacted the industrial development of Worcester, Massachusetts.
3) To define the role of mechanics in the economic and cultural development of Worcester.
4) To examine the range of cultural, civic, and social activism programs presented at Mechanics Hall.
5) To conduct research on historic structures in their own community.
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 smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps showing the Blackstone River Valley;
2) three readings about the mechanics of Worcester and Mechanics Hall;
3) two drawings of mechanics at work;
4) two illustrations of lecture and concert ads;
5) four photos of Mechanics Hall.
Visiting the site
Mechanics Hall, included in the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, is located in Worcester, Massachusetts, off of I-290. Take Exit 16 (Central Street) and turn left onto Worcester Center Boulevard. Turn right onto Foster Street, then right onto Waldo Street. Visitors can tour Mechanics Hall and see the historic Worcester Organ and its 3,504 pipes. For a calendar of events and tour information, contact Mechanics Hall, 321 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608, or visit the Mechanics Hall web site.