In 1980, members of the Waltham community, led by the passionate wisdom of industrial historian Michael Folsom, who would be the Museum's first Executive Director, incorporated the Charles River Museum of Industry.
These cultural, civic, and business leaders believed “that the people of New England deserve[d] a clearer understanding of the region’s rich industrial heritage and the ways that heritage continues to shape their lives.” The founding members wanted a “well-planned and professionally-executed museum,” and believed that incorporating resources for “instruction, recreation, preservation, and research” would go far in achieving their goals.
In 2007, the institution was renamed The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation. The term "innovation" not only relates to the process of creativity and ingenuity that allows for the perfection of machines over time, it also underlines a new mission for the museum: to consider not just the past, but the present and the future. As the museum evolves, so do its goals; as history unfolds, so does the museum's relevance.
In 2018 the Museum unveiled an exhibit on the Boston Associates, America's First Industrial Dynasty. The Boston Associates, so named by 20th century historian Vera Shlakman, were a group of Boston-based businessmen gathered and initially led by Francis Cabot Lowell. Together they founded the Boston Manufacturing Company on our site in 1813 and proceeded to develop the New England textile industry and supporting organizational, financial, and transportation infrastructure until the Civil War.
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Local award-winning actor J.T. Turner portrays the author Washington Irving as he spins this timeless ghost story.
Mr. Turner takes on all the roles of this beloved Halloween classic in his dramatic portrayal. Prepare to be spooked anew as the Headless Horseman rides again in our atmospheric, haunting setting -the cavernous Boston Manufacturing Company Boiler House of the Charles River Museum.
$15 general admission, $10 for Museum members. Click here to purchase tickets online.
This talk is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Advance registration is required.
In this talk, based on his book, Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World, celebrated historian Joshua B. Freeman will provide an illuminating overview of the global history of the factory and its effects on society. - And what better setting for this talk could there be than the first integrated factory in the world, the Francis Cabot Lowell Mill in Waltham Massachusetts, the longtime home of the Boston Manufacturing Company!
We live in a factory-made world: modern life is built on three centuries of advances in factory production, efficiency, and technology. But giant factories have also fueled our fears about the future since their beginnings, when William Blake called them "dark Satanic mills." Many factories that operated over the last two centuries - such as Homestead, River Rouge, and Foxconn - were known not only for their great productivity but also for the labor exploitation and class warfare they engendered, not to mention the environmental devastation caused by factory production from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution up to today.
In this major work of scholarship that is also wonderfully accessible, Professor Freeman tells the story of the factory and examines how it has reflected both our dreams and our nightmares of industrialization and social change. He whisks readers from the textile mills in England that powered the Industrial Revolution and the factory towns of New England, including Waltham, to the colossal steel and car plants of twentieth-century America, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union and on to today's behemoths making sneakers, toys, and cellphones in China and Vietnam.
"Rich and ambitious. . . . More than an economic history, or a chronicle of architectural feats and labor movements, Behemoth depicts a world in retreat that still looms large in the national imagination." - The New York Times
"Fascinating. . . Freeman shows how factories have had an overwhelming influence on the way we work, think, move, play and fight." - Washington Post
"A lively chronicle of the factory [that] delves into the nitty-gritty of manufacturing [and] successfully melds together those nuggets with social history on the shop floor and beyond the factory walls." - Economist
"You may have no detailed knowledge of factories except that they can be converted into cool lofts. In that case, you'll learn much from historian Joshua Freeman." - Wall Street Journal
Joshua B. Freeman is a Distinguished Professor of History at Queens College and the Graduate Center of CUNY. His previous books include American Empire and Working-Class New York, among others. He lives in New York City.
This talk is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Advance registration is recquired. To register for this event, click here.
THIS CONCERT IS FREE TO THE PUBLIC. Registration is required
Stirring and poignant, the popular songs of “The Great War” help us understand what the average person, here and abroad, was thinking and experiencing during a worldwide upheaval. New technology and inventions improved daily life but brought death on the battlefield on an unprecedented scale.
Many World War I songs are patriotic and upbeat, but others lament the futility and waste of trench warfare, or poke cynical fun at those in charge. After three years of striving to remain neutral, the U.S. plunged into war in 1917, and songwriters literally changed their tune overnight. “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” became “It’s Time for Every Boy to Be a Soldier.” As in all wars, cheery songs lifted spirits despite hard reality, while others expressed longing for safety and home.
Diane wears the graceful clothing of the time and accompanies her crystal-clear singing on a parlor guitar. Enjoy, and sing along, to:
“Til We Meet Again”
“It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” (and a sly variation, “That’s the Wrong Way to Tickle Mary”)
"Stay Down Here Where You Belong” (by Irving Berlin, set in hell!)
“Stille Nacht” (from the spontaneous Christmas truce of 1914)
“Good Morning, Mr. Zip-Zip-Zip!” (slip a name of any nationality into the “Zip” and get a patriotic American)
“Pack Up Your Troubles”
“Forward, Joe Soap’s Army”
“You’d Better Be Nice to Them Now” (meaning the ladies, who were taking over every job imaginable)
“The Worst is Yet to Come”
“How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm?” (now that they’ve seen Paree?)
“Keep the Home Fires Burning”
To register for FREE tickets, click here.
Lloyd Thayer puts the ‘multi’ in multi-instrumentalist, playing a mind boggling assortment of stringed instruments including but not limited to: Dobro and Weissenborn lap steel guitars, Turkish Oud, Saz and Cumbus, Indian Chaturangui and Mohan Veena, Ragmakamtar, Ukulele and more. A recovering street performer and determined songwriter, his indoor shows combine a mixture of American folk and blues with elements of Indian, Arabic, Turkish, and Southeast Asian musical ideas, often all in the course of the same song. Lloyd is also well known for his extended free improvisations, which incorporate many styles of music, including, blues, jazz, rap, folk, funk, Middle Eastern, Indian, punk, & Hawaiian.
Lloyd, in addition to performing solo, is also a member of SeaSmoke, with Hindustani vocalist and composer Warren Senders, cellist Junko Fujiwara, oudist Mac Ritchey, and percussionist Jerome Deupree. He also performed earlier this year at the Thousand Incarnations of the Rose Festival, a first time festival organized by Glenn Jones in tribute to his mentor John Fahey, held in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Cellist Junko Fujiwara has been performing and advocating innovations in contemporary and improvised music while teaching and maintaining Western classical and jazz traditions over a span of nearly thirty years. Based in New England, she has enjoyed the diversity of performing in a variety of musical genres at many venues not just on the East Coast but also in the Midwest and internationally in Europe. Among her current performing groups are: Eric Hofbauer Quintet, BOLT: Adventurous Improvised Music, and Mimi Rabson’s String Theory Trio, where some of her own original compositions are featured. Downbeat Magazine, Boston Globe, and Spontaneous Music Tribune (Poland) are some of the internationally-renown publications that have given recognition of her work.
As an active educator, Ms. Fujiwara holds cello faculty positions at Boston College (where she also coaches chamber groups and directs the BC Cello Ensemble), The Governor’s Academy, Masconomet Regional School, and Ipswich Public Schools. She has also taught guest master classes at MIT, Longy School of Music, and at Salem (MA) Public Schools. Ms. Fujiwara has a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University.
For those 21+, your first beverage (beer or wine) is included in the ticket price of $15. Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages for all. The performance begins at 7:30; doors open 30 minutes prior.
Online sales end at 6 PM day of the show. Tickets available at the door unless sold out.
Combining DJ electronics and upright acoustic bass in a real-time meeting of the technological and analog, Rourke and Ballou will channel jazz freedom with the audacity of live sampling and record scratching, by reverse engineering traditional sounds, and re-constructing them into an improvised turntable & bass jazz-synthesis.
Incorporating scratching, sampling, and mixing alongside top musicians since 1989, Boston based scratch DJ Mister Rourke has established himself as an innovator in using the turntable as a live instrument. His focus has been playing in improvisational ensembles and is well known for the quality of his ears, the size of his sound arsenal, and for pushing the creative envelope. Rourke has performed and recorded with countless bands in several genres of music including Hip Hop, Funk, Reggae, Jazz, Electronic, Blues, Ambient, Moroccan, African, and others.
His work, which has earned him four Boston Music Awards, has been featured in Billboard Magazine, MTV’s The Real World and HBO’s The Chris Rock Show. His extensive range of projects include: the dub-trance collective Club d’Elf, the annual Jazz Meets Hip Hop concert at The Cleveland Jazz Festival, re-mixes for Medeski, Martin and Wood, and Soulive, multiple DJ residencies at area clubs, and "Turntables as an Instrument" a DJ workshop he developed and teaches at public schools, non-profit organizations, music festivals and colleges.
Marty Ballou is high on the list of New England’s “first-call” bassists. Highly regarded nationally for his work in the jazz and blues fields, he is equally at home in other genres including folk, rock, pop and Americana. He has accumulated a substantial list of credits in the studio and on the stage, both on the upright and electric bass guitar. He has lent his special talents on his instrument, as an arranger, and as a producer to dozens of performers including Peter Wolf, Herb Ellis, Roomful of Blues, Cheryl Wheeler, Duke Robillard, John Hammond and Jimmy Witherspoon.
For those 21+, your first beverage (beer or wine) is included in the ticket price of $15. Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages for all. The performance begins at 7:30; doors open 30 minutes prior. Online sales end at 6 PM day of the show. Tickets available at the door unless sold out.