Pulling History From the Shadows

19th century ammonia compressor


This 19th-century ammonia compressor on display at the National Museum of Industrial History provided refrigeration at the American Brewery in Baltimore.

Thanks to help from Drexel’s Center for Cultural Partnerships, the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is now open.

The idea for the museum dates back to the late ’90s, when Bethlehem Steel was struggling and its CEO, Curtis H. “Hank” Barnett, wished to preserve the sites and the story of the powerful manufacturing company. It remained in the planning stages for about 15 years, until new leadership brought in Drexel’s Rosalind Remer, vice provost and Lenfest executive director of the Center for Cultural Partnerships, as a consultant.

In just over a year, Remer and her team designed the museum’s layout, curated and developed the exhibits, and prepared the museum for the public.

“It was a wonderful way to promote the center and what we’re capable of doing when faced with a unique challenge,” Remer says.