The Following appeared in the Lowell Sun Letters to the Editor section on March 12, 2008 it is followed by my comments.
A fresh start for Textile Museum
That the Gazebo restaurant is forced to shut down is a pity but not surprising given that many thought it was already closed, along with the American Textile History Museum. The one institution that is a cornerstone of Lowell’s historical offerings is vanishing from the public’s mind and concern.
A small core of civic-minded individuals has interested itself in the Museum’s future, but real community involvement seems minimal.
One regrets that the museum is not owned by the city. It could hire the specialists to manage it, encourage close relationships with local artisans, with schools, universities and private business while promoting it to historians here and abroad as a unique part of American and textile-industry heritage. Funding is always a problem, but Lowell leaders are showing increasing expertise in marketing the city’s offerings.
Many Lowellians have familial ties to the textile industry and were appreciative of the talent and vision of those who developed the museum collections. Foreign and out-of-state visitors were especially impressed. Let’s hope 2008 will see a fresh start for the museum and it will regain a central place of prominence in Lowell.
A fresh start for the Textile Museum
Last week F. Novak wrote about the American Textile History Museum, and we are grateful for his/her appreciation of the importance of the Museum and all it represents. While there was a relatively small core of local civic mindedness at ATHM when I arrived in January of 2006, that core of advocate trustees, advisors and supporters has steadily grown as we actively reach out to the community and beyond. We are working conscientiously to improve our cooperative relationships with the City of Lowell, our sister cultural institutions, local artisans, schools and universities, as well as the broader public and private sectors. While our Museum has been “closed” to the public, we have been working on dramatic renovations to our exhibits and facilities. These renovations will provide a leap into the 21st century and an opportunity to look through the eyes of tomorrow. Our updated exhibits are scheduled to re-open this coming August and will include changing gallery space in which we will encourage local content. Our collections are simply incredible, and we are excited about the opportunity to use these treasured artifacts as well as stories of the past to chronicle the evolution of American textiles. Equally exciting are the textiles of today, which have woven themselves into our lives in more ways than most folks know. Some of those remarkable modern textiles are produced right here in Lowell. While we’re sorry to keep people waiting, we know that good things come to those who wait. Yes, it is true that we can use all the support we can gather. We are convinced the citizens of Lowell appreciate the fact that we are here and will be in the midst of that support.
President & CEO
American Textile History Museum