Our exhibition has over 200 industrial artifacts on display and many of them are among the first made, longest operating, or last produced. The majority of our artifacts come from three main sources. The 1876 Centennial gallery largely consists of artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Our iron and steel collection is part of the museum’s permanent collection donated mostly by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Our textile collection is also a permanent collection donated by the silk company, Scalamandre, Inc.
These artifacts serve as visual starting points for the three main themes of the exhibition narrative: innovation, transformation and scale.