Slater Mill Historic Site
67 Roosevelt Avenue
Cities Neighboring Slater Mill Historic Site:
Slater Mill Historic Site
There are three constants in the history of Rhode Island: our waterways sustain us, our immigrant population enriches us and our ingenuity creates new opportunities for us. This was true in 1793, when Samuel Slater, an immigrant, built the first successful water powered, cotton spinning mill in North America on the banks of the Blackstone River at Pawtucket village, with the talents of local artisans and the entrepreneurial verve of Moses Brown. It continues to be true today. This is celebrated at Slater Mill, a National Historic Landmark and one of the most visited sites in Rhode Island with 30,000 visitors per year, 80 years of preservation experience and long-term partnerships with major universities, public school systems, cultural heritage organizations, tourism agencies, museums, guilds, artists, the business community and many others.
As the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Slater Mill holds a unique and important position in American history. It marks the time and place where modern America began, were an agrarian society set forth on a path that would lead to massive social, technological and economic change, creating opportunity for millions of people in a country that would come to lead the [free] world. The story of Slater Mill is the story of innovation, of labour, of women's rights, of immigration and assimilation, as well as the story of industry. Slater Mill's relevance as a museum is directly linked to how it engages the community today. It is critically important to engage young people, in particular, in becoming knowledgeable about the conditions under which our prevalent culture was developed. Sharing these stories in the actual place where they began and preserving that place for education and inspiration of future generations are core values that provide context to the lives of all Americans and people from around the world who wish to understand our country. It is culturally, educationally and historically important for people of all ages and origins to be able to come, see, touch, learn and become inspired at Slater Mill.
In the Slater Mill itself, visitors are surrounded by vintage textile machinery bathed in the light of large windows. With expert commentary from costumed interpreters they can imagine the lives of the people – many of them children – who made the early mills come alive. In the nearby Wilkinson Mill they can feel the throb of the great 16,000-pound mill wheel, a replica of the original wheel that harnessed the power of the Blackstone River to make the era's finest tools. Children get up close and personal with early production processes as they provide the power and operate miniature machinery in the Apprentice Alcove. In the Sylvanus Brown House they can look back to a time when spinning, weaving, cooking and quilting were the stuff of everyday life.
Slater Mill's interpretive tours, outreach programs, partnership services and community events serve approximately 30,000 people each year. While the overwhelming majority of those served are from Rhode Island and nearby communities, visitors come to the Mill from every state and from over 150 countries. Slater Mill has initiated partnerships with major universities, pubic school systems, cultural heritage organizations, tourism agencies, museums, guilds, artists, the business community and many others.
In the past five years Slater Mill has reached new heights of quality in its presentation of essential history to the public, new achievements and innovations in its core mission of preserving the actual structures where the American Industrial Revolution was born and new levels of community awareness of its efforts.