Immerse yourself in the imaginative world of Robert Fulton! Take an up-close look at painted miniatures, power a steam engine and explore how they propel ships forward. Learn how a submarine works through experiencing a traditional Cartesian diver. Hear first person narratives on the dock at the launch of the 1807 Clermont steamboat! Flip through Fulton’s personal papers and get inside the mind of this Industrious Revolutionary.
Fascinated by art, steam engines, canal engineering, and military technology, Fulton inspired to push the limitations of mechanical engineering. His innovations sparked the American Industrial Revolution, opened up new trade routes, and helped usher in a major wave of globalized trade on a scale never seen before. Fulton established a pattern of technological innovation that would go on to embody American ingenuity and leave an immeasurable legacy.
With special thanks to
Northampton Community College FabLab
The Works of a Mechanical Genius: The Legacy of John Fritz explores the life and legacy of General Superintendent and Chief Engineer John F. Fritz, an innovative ironmaster who has been touted as the founder of the American Steel Industry, alongside names like Andrew Carnegie.
A SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Martha Capwell Fox
National Canal Museum
Johnstown Area Heritage Association
Lehigh University Libraries
Bethlehem Area Public Library
Pennsylvania State Museum
Warren County Division of Cultural & Heritage Affairs
Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society
Moravian Archives, Bethlehem
Hagley Museum and Libraries
Keystone Sound Design
The Works of a Mechanical Genius is dedicated to the memory of Craig Lee Bartholomew, Lance Metz, and Ralph Grayson Schwarz. Through their vision, the history of the iron industry, the global significance of this site, and the story of John Fritz will live on to inspire future generations of innovators.
Funding for the Museum is provided in part by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission’s Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program
Machines of Interest:
The Selected Works of Stephen Mallon
October 2020 – August 2021
Critically acclaimed photographer Stephen Mallon shared a collection of some of his most captivating, riveting, and thought-provoking pieces in this exhibit at Bethlehem’s National Museum of Industrial History. Machines of Interest featured over two dozen original prints from the artist’s collection spanning life on the rails to deconstruction in the recycling yard to tracing the elements of human-made machines.
MACHINES OF INTEREST WAS GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY:
WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO…
Front Room Gallery
Art of Precision:
The Engineered Sculpture of Christopher Bathgate
January 2020 – September 2020
From wood turning and metal work to glassblowing and ceramics, industrial processes have always found their way into the production of fine art. NMIH is pleased to exhibit the selected works of Chris Bathgate, a self-trained machinist employing handmade tools, automated CNC milling machines and metal lathes to create complex artistic expressions inspired by industry. Playing with the tension between aesthetic vs utility, form vs function, and industrial vs handmade, Bathgate’s inter-disciplinary work lies at the intersection of art, craft, and design. It serves as an example of how computer-mediated fabrication may bridge the divide between art, craft, and industrial production in the Digital Age. Art of Precision: The Engineered Sculpture of Christopher Bathgate will be on view from January 11-August 30, 2020.
This exhibit is generously sponsored by:
Funding for NMIH is provided in part by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museums Commission Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program.
Don’t Touch That Dial: 100 Years of Radio
February 2019 – December 2019
Radios employ the magic of sound by harnessing the electromagnetic energy around us, and NMIH’s exhibit traced the history of the radio industry from the discovery of radio waves to the debut of the iPod. Don’t Touch That Dial featured nearly one hundred historic radios and radio components, including rare pieces from the Bethlehem Radio Corporation, ephemera from the now-defunct WKAP, one-of-a-kind artifacts from Bell Labs, and more. Visitors to this interactive exhibit had a chance to listen to early broadcasts, see an amateur radio operator’s station in action, try their hand at creating radio sound effects using the art of foley, and craft messages using Morse code.
Hot Off the Press: Printing and Papermaking
May 2018 – October 2018
Hot Off the Press: Printing and Papermaking was hands-on look at how the printed word revolutionized the spread of knowledge throughout the world. From the Gutenberg press to linotype machines, like those seen in the hit movie The Post, NMIH’s exhibit gave an in-depth and interactive look at how printing presses, paper, and ink were used to spark the most influential industry on the planet.
The exhibit included rare printings, including 17th Century translations, the first German-translated Bible printed in the Colonies, and the Ephrata Martyrs’ Mirror, the largest book printed in Colonial America. Paired with these texts are working printing presses that visitors were able to use to print take-home mementos, a one-of-a-kind scale model of a Fourdrinier papermaking machine, and mosaics saved from the now-demolished Bethlehem Steel Printery.
The Impossibly Real Art of Peter Maier
January 2018 – March 2018
Peter Maier has had a very interesting and unique career. A graduate of Pratt Institute, Maier was first involved in Fine Art in his freshman year as assistant to sculptor Robert Mallary for a work commissioned by architect Phillip Johnson for the New York State Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair — as well as being involved in Industrial Design.
Maier went on to enjoy a distinguished career as an Automobile Designer. Being one of the youngest ever to be hired by GM, Maier rose in the ranks to become Senior Designer for Cadillac, Pontiac and Chevrolet Motor Divisions, thereby becoming part of an elite group. Maier left the security of his position at GM in 1980—and although approached by other major automotive firms—embarked on a journey to pursue his passion as a Fine Artist on his own.
Working on hi-tech fabricated aluminum panels and utilizing a state-of-the-art waterborne paint, Maier developed a unique technique and multi-layering process that combines industrial paint technology with traditional brush work. This process, along with the experimental paint, gives the artwork a 3-dimensional effect which cannot be achieved or duplicated with traditional paint mediums. Referring to an ArtNews article by Barbara A. MacAdam, “The paintings appear to be impossibly real.”
Making America’s Pastime
May 2017 – October 2017
America’s love of Major League Baseball has been a constant since its birth 146 years ago. NMIH’s exhibit, Making America’s Pastime, explored how the balls, bats, gloves, and uniforms of the MLB are made and how the MLB became a $9.5 billion industry.
In addition to seeing how baseball’s bats, balls, and gloves evolved over time, patrons learned about Bethlehem Steel’s impact on Major League Baseball and how the company’s wartime league wooed the likes of Babe Ruth and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.