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Museum Captures Spirit of U.S. Manufacturing Innovation, Problem-Solving, Design

American Precision Museum opens 2021 season May 1 with new interactive displays focused on the origin story of interchangeable parts.

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The new display features updated lighting and media, a new hand tool display and much more.

The new display features updated lighting and media, a new hand tool display and much more. 

The United States is still a young country, but it was even younger still when three American entrepreneurs revolutionized a new method of manufacturing using machines rather than hand-fabricated parts.

The American Precision Museum (APM) — housed in a national historic landmark in Windsor, Vermont — opens its 2021 season on May 1 with the debut of its newest interactive displays focused on this seismic change in precision manufacturing. The “Made by Hand” to “Made by Machine” exhibit deftly captures how this transformative production method created by American ingenuity reverberated around the world.

When the museum opens for the season, visitors can expect to see a variety of changes. New displays tell the important story of how precision manufacturing changed thanks to the mechanization of production. In the museum, displays of early machinery are integrated into the broad story of American industrial history, enabling visitors to learn more about the important role the manufacturing industry continues to play in shaping American culture and society.

“This new exhibit will bring to light how products were first made by hand and then made by machine, through the brilliance of Kendall, Robbins and Lawrence,” says Steve Dalessio, APM executive director. It features updated lighting and media, a new hand tool display and much more. “We look forward to sharing the new exhibit with you whether you’re here at the museum or visiting us online,” Dalessio added.

Additionally, the “Science and Technology of Measurement” display has had an update for the new season. As part of the statewide exhibit, “2020 Vision: Reflecting on a World-Changing Year,” the update includes the measurement of heat due to unprecedented use of forehead thermometers for COVID-19 symptom checking. The museum’s collection of pyrometers and thermometers also includes devices that can measure up to 3,000°F. In addition to equipment that can measure heat and temperature, this display also features devices that measure speed, distance, time, power and hardness.

As a way to show visitors how far machine tools have come, a new “Advanced Manufacturing” display is also under construction that will feature the industrial purposes of 3D printing, new sensor technology and electrical discharge machining (EDM).

The American Precision Museum is located in the 1846 Robbins & Lawrence Armory, a national historic landmark, and traces the beginnings of U.S. manufacturing to modern technology through exhibits and interactive programs. Exhibits capture the spirit of innovation, problem solving and design demonstrated through the dynamic story of the machines and people which form the foundation and future of the manufacturing industry in America.

For more information on events as well as online learning at the American Precision Museum, visit americanprecision.org.