Slater Mill Museum
Located on the Blackstone River in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Slater Mill is a museum complex dedicated to bringing the American Industrial Revolution to life.
Come and enjoy our tours, exhibits, collections of artifacts, gallery, research library, theatre, gift shop, and more. Slater Mill offers concerts, demonstrations, lectures, meeting spaces for rent, family programs, specialized tours, holiday programs and exhibits of fine crafts and artwork. Along with our on-site programs, we offer an extensive selection of curriculum-based programs for schools and entertaining presentations for social clubs and community groups.
Slater Mill tells the story of innovation, labor, artisans, women’s rights, cotton economy, immigration and assimilation, and industry. It is culturally, educationally and historically important for people of all ages and origins to be able to come, see, touch, learn and be inspired at Slater Mill.
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School Groups Grades 1-12
Slater Mill is the birthplace of modern American industry. As part of their visit, students will be taken through three buildings:
In the Slater Mill, opened in 1793, students will see the original factory floor and machine layout as it was in Mr. Slater’s day. Interpreters will guide students through the history of the industrial revolution, periodically bringing the tour to life with various demonstrations of the still-working factory equipment.
In the Wilkinson Mill, opened in 1810, students will see the machine tool shop used to service Mr. Slater’s original mill. Students will see a working 16,000 pound water wheel in the shop’s wheel pit. Upstairs, our interpreters will explain how the factory transferred power from the Blackstone River into real working machines. Students will see massive gears moving overhead that power the still-functioning drills, lathes, and other machines.
In the 1758 Sylvanus Brown House students will see how a middle class artisan family would have lived in the late 18th century prior to the industrial revolution. Here, interpreters will demonstrate pre-industrial manufactures techniques so students can better understand the true meaning of the factory manufacturing methods they will see in the other buildings.
Students will also visit the nearby Visitor Center, which features a large floor map and a film that lend historical background and modern perspective to the students’ visit.
One travel guide describes their Slater Mill visit: “We were frankly startled by the completeness fo this exceptional visitor attraction…Interpreters have a remarkable amount to show you…There’s nothing quite like this.”
Jencks Education Center at Slater Mill
Established in memory of Davis Jencks, The Jencks Education Center is Slater Mill’s major initiative to link knowledge of the past with the rich opportunities of modern Pawtucket. The Center hosts a variety of arts and handcraft workshops, educational programs, after school learning opportunities, and business and group events. In conjunction with the Center , the Slater Mill Gallery across Roosevelt Avenue in the Visitor Center exhibits the work of local and national artists and craftspeople. The adjoining gift shop serves as an outlet to purchase their work.
The Jencks Education Center is located on the physically accessible second floor of Slater Mill. The Board of Trustees has made a deliberate choice to honor the historic character of the interior of Slater Mill. With the exception of a bit of paint and floor repair, the Center maintains the building’s historic authenticity. Our architect, Luke Mandle, designed fixtures and furnishings that reflect an industrial feel as opposed to a colonial reproduction style that would confuse visitors and chip away at the true integrity of the mill space.
The Innovation Room is a gorgeous space with banks of windows overlooking the Blackstone River on three sides. This room serves up to 60 people and has been outfitted with conference/work tables using recycled textile machinery as bases. It is fully wired for technology. The room serves rental needs for retreats, corporate meetings, community programs, the Mill’s own interpretation programs with school children and as a space for workshops with regional and national craftspeople.
The Confluence Room is an extremely inviting library with large, comfortable seating and warm lighting. It also serves as a breakout space for meetings held in the Innovation Room.
The Artifact Access Space use an innovative collection storage method (currently being put into use at the RISD Museum and across the country) called “visible storage” to bring our vast collection to the public. We rotate exhibitions of tools, historical documents, textiles, printing items, early hand machines, and other items so that students, historians, artists and the public can study, read, draw and explore the fantastic collection that was once hidden away in a physically inaccessible third floor archive.
In addition to the in-school curriculum opportunities that Slater Mill currently offers, the Jencks Education Center addresses the need for after school programming, offering various lessons for middle and high school students. We work with urban schools in the surrounding metro areas to provide quality hands-on after school opportunities for a new generation of youth. Our programs include woodworking and textile projects that demonstrate the applied use of science, math, art and communication in a group setting.
Curriculum Standards Available Below
Common Task Project
This project attempts to help students see why Pawtucket, and Slater Mill, is the birthplace of Industrialization of America.
The project seeks to to identify a vaiety of factors that commended Pawtucket as the ideal site for early American industry. It seeks to show why the earliest industrial development occurred in Pawtucket as opposed to larger, wealthier and more prominent places such as Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia or New York City.
Big Yellow Bus Grant Program
The State Arts Council has decided to designate an initial $20,000 from its federal grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help schools with the cost of hiring buses to transport students to arts and cultural events and programs. For more information visit RISCA.
Museum Hours of Operation:
March & April: Sat. & Sun. 11AM- 3PM
May-October: Tue. to Sun. 10AM- 4PM
November: Sat. & Sun. 10AM-4PM
December-February: Open for group tours by appointment — call 401.725.8638 x100
Group tours are available throughout the year; book a tour today by calling 401.725.8638.
Office hours: Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM
Groups are welcomed year round by appointment.
Museum Store Hours: on-site, same as Museum hours; Visitor Center hours may vary.
Admission: For admission rates please call or click here