BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The National Museum of Industrial History’s annual Steel Weekend returns this Saturday and Sunday (September 25-26) at the Steelstacks campus. Events include hands-on activities for all ages, photography workshops, pop-up exhibits, steelworkers reunions, musical performances, and more.
Steel Weekend is an annual celebration of all things steel that coincides with the American Institute of Steel Construction’s (AISC) SteelDay on September 24th, an annual event dedicated to the structural steel industry.
Pop-up exhibits include Faces of Steel, featuring crowdsourced photos of steelworker family members, an outdoor display featuring the photography of Ed Leskin, and a retrospective from the South Bethlehem Historical Society detailing one of the SouthSide’s lost neighborhoods. Visitors can tour the museum’s new Foundry Park and see demonstrations including casting, forging, blacksmithing, and hot riveting. Saturday afternoon will feature an iron pour using the museum’s miniature iron furnace (weather permitting).
Each day will feature a family steelworker storytime with a member of the Steelworkers’ Archives. The storytime will introduce crowds to TUG, a real-life artifact that has a fun history as told in this book resulting from a collaboration between NMIH and the Bethlehem Area Public Library. An interactive activity station will feature fun S.T.E.A.M. activities for budding engineers of all ages.
The weekend kicks off early on Friday with a free plein air painting & drawing workshop at the Levitt Pavilion and continues with photography workshops on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Bethlehem Steel: The People Who Built America, a documentary chronicling the history of the industrial giant, will screen on WLVT’s PBS39 channel Sunday evening at 6pm.
The Steelworkers’ Archives and the National Museum of Industrial History present a Steelworkers Reunion Party on Saturday and Sunday featuring guest speakers, video presentations and free takeaway lunches for steelworkers. The Steelworkers’ Archives, celebrating its 20th anniversary, will schedule oral history recordings and conduct walking tours throughout the weekend.
Lectures will include Inside the Electric Furnace Melt Shop with veteran steelworker Don Young, a look back on the innovations of Bethlehem Steel’s Homer Research Labs with a panel of former workers, and an update on the need for speed in steel construction with AISC Director of Research Devin Huber. Helping to close out the weekend will be a performance from the TNT Trio at the museum’s Air Products Pavilion.
For more information and a full schedule of events please head to the event page on the museum’s website. Steel Weekend is presented by the National Museum of Industrial History and the Steelworkers’ Archives in partnership with the Bethlehem Area Public Library, the Banana Factory, Lehigh Valley Public Media, and the South Bethlehem Historical Society.
Steel Weekend is sponsored by: