This project involved the renovation, historic preservation, and adaptive reuse of the Boott Mills, a five-story, 120,000 square foot mill building and attached Countinghouse, built in 1871, into a industrial history museum. The Boott Cotton Mills Museum serves as the centerpiece of the Lowell National Historical Park activities. Portions of the mill were restored to the conditions that existed in the 19th Century to house a series of exhibits about the history of cotton manufacturing in Lowell, the Mill, and its inhabitants. The museum features a recreated weaving room with 88 operating power looms, the Boott Gallery, a Special Events Center, the Tsongas Industrial History Center and the Boott Museum Store. The climate-controlled gallery includes temporary exhibits detailing America’s industrialization, the growth and decline of Lowell’s mills and the textile production process. In addition, the Museum includes the headquarters of the National Park Service and the North Atlantic Cultural Resources Center located on the fourth and fifth floors. This Center operates as a branch of the National Park Service to provide technical support to parks serving the eight-state North Atlantic Region. It includes architects, archeologists, conservators, and craftspeople responsible for historic preservation, archeology, and museum curatorial care.
The Paul E. Tsongas Industrial History Center is an interactive education facility designed to help 4th to 12th grade students learn about the Industrial Revolution in a hands-on, participatory workshop environment. The students “do” history; role play immigrants, become inventors, design a city, create a canal system, learn to weave and participate in interdisciplinary programs in topics related to industrial history.
The team assembled for this complex project included over a dozen consultants, including architects, engineers, an archaeologist, exhibit designers, an architectural historian, and an industrial historian. As part of the project, this team assembled an exhaustive document which chronicles the history of the building and its uses. The restoration of the mill was based upon this research. Accomplishing the renovation without damage to the fabric of the historic building was a priority of the design team, and new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were designed to be as unobtrusive as possible.