The National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Pa., is dedicated to preserving America’s rich industrial heritage. It is located in a 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America. The Museum is home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history.
In the late 1990s, the largest private brownfield project in the country gave birth to the idea of preserving America’s industrial heritage by utilizing 19th and 20th century steel mill buildings to exhibit and interpret industrial artifacts in the context of our nation’s industrial heritage.
Initiated by Bethlehem Steel Corporation and encouraged by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Smithsonian Institution and the newly formed National Museum of Industrial History entered into an Affiliation agreement that set the stage for telling the story of the building, transporting, and defending America.
NMIH began borrowing almost one hundred machines from the Smithsonian’s 1876 collection that became the featured exhibit in the museum. That collection was supplemented with a significant donation of textile machinery and equipment by Scalamandre of New York, the acquisition of iron and steel objects, and historical artifacts related to the propane industry. The collection continues to grow with acquisitions donated by private individuals and institutions across the world.
The Museum acquired its building, the former Electrical Repair Shop, on the authentic steel mill site in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and rehabilitated the facility with the support of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the form of a $4.5 million grant.
The Museum opened its doors on August 2, 2016 with a ceremony featuring speeches from U.S. Representative Charlie Dent and National Museum of American History director John Gray.
Our vision is to tell the story of America’s industrial achievements and the accomplishments of our workers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.
The National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH) forges a connection between America’s industrial past and the innovations of today, to inspire the visionaries of tomorrow. NMIH does this by exploring the role of industry in America’s growth as a global power, through the stories of people, machines, and ideas.