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Alexandria,  VA
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Tsongas Industrial History Center
Lowell, MA

The Tsongas Industrial History Center is a hands-on learning center for students to learn about the American Industrial Revolution through hands-on activities and by experiencing history where it happened. Students in grades 3-12 "do history" by weaving, creating a canal system and testing water wheels, working on an assembly line, role-playing immigrants, or becoming inventors. In investigating industrial history, students can also "do science," testing river or canal water quality, tracing the flow of groundwater pollution, or discovering river cleanup techniques.

The Tsongas Industrial History Center provides hands-on learning experiences and tours of Lowell’s industrial history sites for nearly 60,000 students annually which are organized around themes carefully linked with national and state curriculum standards at specified grades. The Center serves as a lab school for teachers-in-training and as an in-service professional development center for teachers by workshops, institutes and graduate courses on industrial history and curriculum development. It also serves as a case study of a stable, successful educational partnership between a University and a National Park and as a training center for Park Service leaders anxious to expand education programs and partnerships.

The Tsongas Industrial History Center began as part of the late Senator Paul Tsongas' efforts to revitalize economically depressed Lowell by reforming the education system, promoting tourism, and diversifying the regional economy. In 1978 Tsongas introduced federal legislation establishing Lowell National Historical Park, the first national park to tell the story of industrial history. Tsongas urged collaboration among the University, the Park, and Lowell schools to improve education and to use Lowell as a classroom. The UMass Lowell Graduate School of Education and National Park staff opened in the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Fall, 1991.

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Donations to the Tsongas Industrial History Center will be used for an annual education conference in Lowell, Massachusetts.

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