Museum COVID19 Update

Update from March 17, 2021:

We are open by appointment until May 1, when we’ll be reopen 7 days a week!  Call 802-674-5781 to learn more or to schedule your visit. The following restrictions and preventive measures will be in place (following recommended guidelines):

  1. Visitors must sign the register.
  2. Face masks must be worn at all times. The museum can provide a disposable mask should you need one.
  3. Maintain a social distance of a min. of 6 Ft.
  4. The museum may restrict the number of visitors at a time
  5. Hands-on Exhibits are extremely limited at this time.
  6. Out-of-State travelers into Vermont are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

APM News


Return of the Miniatures:  Models & Miniatures Virtual Exhibit

January 13, 2021 (Windsor, VT):  One year ago, the American Precision Museum hosted a Models & Miniatures temporary exhibit.  The minis are returning, but due to COVID-19 rates, the show will be virtual this year. 

Between January 16th and January 29th, a new artifact will be featured daily on the museum’s social media channels and website.   Local TV station Windsor-On-Air will also film the temporary exhibit so viewers can experience a walkthrough, as they’ve done for the miniatures and for the Mechanical Arts show, both in 2020.

The show includes many favorites from last year, but also some new items.  Several will be hooked up to a compressed air system.   “Last year, when we brought out the models and miniatures, we discovered that many of these steam engines should be functional.  Compressed air will fulfill the same function as steam, and allow these models to work,” said Executive Director Steve Dalessio.  “My favorites are of course the very tiny hand tools that are less than one inch long, but I also like the steam whistle and the engines with flywheels.”

To see the miniature-of-the-day as it’s released, virtual visitors may bookmark this link, or follow the museum on social channels:

@AmericanPrecisionMuseum on Facebook and Instagram

@PrecisionMuseum on Twitter

For more information, please contact the museum.

The American Precision Museum is located in the 1846 Robbins & Lawrence Armory, a National Historic Landmark, and traces the beginnings of manufacturing to modern technology through exhibits and interactive programs. Open by appointment until April 30th, then open May 1st through October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


New Ways to Help the Museum

November 16, 2020 (Windsor, VT):     Now when you shop, you can give to the museum through a few different ways.  Many of us are getting ready to do some holiday shopping online this year. 


Mastercam Announces Exhibit Partnership with Haas and the American Precision Museum

September 22, 2020 (Tolland, Conn.) – CNC Software, Inc., developers of Mastercam, the world’s leading CAD/CAM software, has announced a new partnership with the American Precision Museum (APM) and Haas Automation. APM combines the atmosphere of an original 19th century water-powered manufacturing facility with a world-class collection of historic machines. It explores industrial history in the context of innovation, creative problem solving, and the impact of precision manufacturing on American history and culture.

The APM factory was first powered by a great water wheel, located in the basement, which drove a drum that carried belts up through the ceiling to the overhead line shafts on the factory floor. Those shafts turned smaller belts that powered the machines. APM is partnering with Mastercam to recreate a waterwheel to have on display in the museum demonstrating how running water was turned into power to drive the building.

Waterwheel recreated at the American Precision Museum.

The Applications Engineers at CNC Software, Inc. designed a functional scaled-down version of the original waterwheel found at APM. To keep it as realistic as possible, the model design was inspired by a 2009 study of the original factory and wheel. The assembly was designed in Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS® and programmed and machined using Mastercam. Most of the assembly is made from ¾” prefinished plywood and was machined down on a 3-axis router. The mechanical components are aluminum and steel and machined on a Haas VF2 CNC, taking waterwheel power into the 21st century.The scaled-down version has a working drive gear assembly, and for display purposes is not powered by water but instead uses a small pellet stove gear motor.

“CNC Software is proud to partner with the American Precision Museum. APM is helping to tell the story of how mass production changed the world and shaped America,” says Meghan West, CEO of CNC Software. “APM is looking to recreate a waterwheel, and we are honored to help reproduce it with Mastercam. Exhibits like this are intended to spark imaginations and inspire younger generations to get involved with manufacturing. We are 100% behind that.”

Toni Neary, Director of Education for the Morris Group – Haas Division, “We are so thrilled that HFO Trident, Haas, Mastercam, and the American Precision Museum have found this way to partner and build such a dynamic project. Our organizations are committed to growth through education, sparking awareness of careers in manufacturing, and good old American ingenuity. This waterwheel is the culmination of those passions. The team at Mastercam has worked to create a fun and exciting way to discuss the history of the museum and integrated modern manufacturing technologies to replicate parts of our history. We so appreciate the time and craftsmanship in making this vision a reality.”

Steve Dalessio, Executive Director of APM, further states, “Using advanced manufacturing methods to recreate an 1846 device is a great way for us to demonstrate how manufacturing continues to evolve. We’re so grateful to Mastercam for creating this model for us, because our education program will be able to use the exhibit to link science, history, and manufacturing.” The new display will be unveiled for Manufacturing Day 2020.

For more information on Mastercam, please visit www.mastercam.com.
For more information on Haas Automation, please visit https://www.hfotrident.com/about/.


October is National Manufacturing Month; “Full Circle” at APM

August 20, 2020

Local manufacturers are encouraged to participate in MFG Day, an event coordinated by the National Association of Manufacturing. As manufacturers seek to fill 4.6 million high-skill, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade, MFG Day empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.

For its contribution, the American Precision Museum will highlight ingenuity in manufacturing in the past and in the present with “Full Circle.”  The kickoff event for Full Circle,  (to be held on Saturday October 3rd) will feature the unveiling of a new working model waterwheel display in partnership with Mastercam.  Demonstrations of machines both old and new will happen throughout the day.  Visitors can also learn about what careers in manufacturing are like today through displays featuring local employers and training centers.

The museum invites any manufacturing business who is currently recruiting to contact Alice Cable (associate director) at 802-674-5781 to discuss displaying promotional materials as part of their MFG Day efforts.   


Space Day at the American Precision Museum on July 19, 2020

 Windsor, VT: The American Precision Museum hosts its annual SPACE DAY celebration on Sunday, July 19, 2020 from 10:00AM to 4:30PM with the theme, “SPACE ENGINEERING – THE NEW FRONTIER”.  The event showcases advances in aerospace technologies made possible by precision manufacturing and features special projects as well as videos on the latest space exploration initiatives. Model rockets are included free with admission to the Museum. Quantities are limited.

“Our mission includes celebrating innovation in every sector of the manufacturing industry”, says Steve Dalessio, Executive Director. “The Museum offers unique Space Day programming that highlights emerging technology to both educate and inspire visitors. Most activities take place outside, either on site or in nearby outdoor spaces. We are following CDC guidelines and observing COVID-19 precautions, including social distancing, limiting capacity and wearing masks to ensure everyone’s safety.”

Admission to the Museum on Space Day is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors & veterans, and $5 for students. Children under 6 are free.

The American Precision Museum is located in the 1846 Robbins & Lawrence Armory, a National Historic Landmark, and traces the beginnings of manufacturing to modern technology through exhibits and interactive programs. Open daily, Memorial Day Weekend through October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Exhibit Open Now:   The Science and Technology of Measurement

May 23, 2020

Windsor, VT: As the museum prepares to open for the 2020 summer season, visitors will note several changes including an earlier ‘season open’ and a new exhibit.  The American Precision Museum is pleased to present “The Science and Technology of Measurement” as part of the Vermont Curators’ Group Statewide Exhibit “2020 Vision: Seeing the World Through Technology.”

Executive Director Steve Dalessio said, “Our spin on ‘seeing the world through technology’ is inspection and accuracy.” Dalessio also noted that precision manufacturing depends on accurate measurement, “so the timing is perfect to participate in this statewide initiative.”    

Elements of measurement to be displayed will include hands-on and digital elements. “We want people to realize measurement isn’t just a ruler or a tape measure, but an integral part of the world around us that allows us to be accurate to the micron.  When you have industries like aerospace and medical, that level of detail is essential.  What’s more, there are a ton of jobs in quality and inspection that rely on this level of attention to detail, so we hope our collection of items from the 1800s to today sparks some interest!”

Items to be on display will include historical items like Edison’s watt-hour meter and the world’s first super-micrometer (accurate to the millionth of an inch),  and present day items such as laser micrometers and CNC probes.  Augmented-reality and hands-on activities will round out the visitor experience.  

The exhibit, and the rest of the museum, plans to open for the season Memorial Day weekend.  

For more information, please contact the museum.

The American Precision Museum is located in the 1846 Robbins & Lawrence Armory, a National Historic Landmark, and traces the beginnings of manufacturing to modern technology through exhibits and interactive programs. Open by appointment until April 30th, then open May 1st through October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The American Precision Museum is proud to be a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active duty military & their families. 



For Museum Day, Windsor’s American Precision Museum Opens Up About Manufacturing



American Precision Museum Appoints Steve Dalessio as New Executive Director

Windsor, VT, September 12, 2019. . . The American Precision Museum’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Dalessio as its new Executive Director. He succeeds Ann Lawless, who retired in 2018 after serving as director for 15 years. Dalessio will implement the museum’s mission and goals in innovative and creative ways, overseeing the daily operations, budget, and fundraising, in addition to refining the museum’s long-range strategy and interpretative plan.


Free “Windsor Day” on August 24 Brings Local History to Life

Windsor, VT – The American Precision Museum will host its first annual “Windsor Day” on Saturday, August 24 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. to honor the town’s residents and deepen understanding of the community’s manufacturing heritage. Windsor Day features activities for all ages, including rocket launching, interactive electronic and mechanical assembly areas, an introduction to Tinkercad 3D design basics, robotics lessons, and friendly competitions with Sphero robots. Materials from Historic Windsor Inc., modern milling machine exhibits, and machine tool demonstrations will provide insights into Windsor’s pivotal role in the “Precision Valley” and its significant contribution to our daily lives.

“The Museum is building a library of video-based oral histories that document local industry,” says Scott Davison, Director of Education and Interpretation, “so machinists and engineers who have worked in Windsor are especially encouraged to participate in this event. Bring your family and share your stories! It’s personal memories and real life experiences that make history truly exciting.”

Admission to Windsor Day is free

The American Precision Museum is located in the 1846 Robbins & Lawrence Armory, a National Historic Landmark, and traces the beginnings of manufacturing to modern technology through exhibits and interactive programs. Open daily, Memorial Day Weekend through October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The American Precision Museum is proud to be a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active duty military & their families.  


Below, find articles and links to information about the future of manufacturing including stories of innovation, workforce ideas, and industry news.

From AMT Smartforce:  “Time is of the Essence”

February 10, 2021

NIMS Smart Standards are designed to allow for competency based education, be easy for schools to customize  enable new areas to keep pace with emerging technologies like additive manufacturing and cybersecurity.  Stackability – that is,  short-term education tracks that can be combined to a certificate – also makes NIMS even more attractive.  This will allow rapid shifts reflecting changing industry.  AMT’s Smartforce Development team, led by Greg Jones, will work to stay in front of emerging job functions to stay ahead of skills gaps.


From Industry Week: Renewing the Case for Career and Technical Education

Sept 24 2020

This article by Stephen Gold is a clear summary of the skills gap’s origins, its status as affected by COVID-19, and a call to action: every manufacturer needs to get involved with skills training.

From AMTNews:  “MFG Day is Friday, Oct. 2, 2020”

September 23, 2020

Greg Jones’ blog entry points out ways manufacturers, educators, and organizers are adapting and providing virtual content. The NIMS Online job board, the Smartforce Career and Education Experience, and the Mentor Matching Engine are virtual – which makes these opportunities available to students across the nation.  Read the article here!


From MMS:  “Covid-19 …Taught Us We Need People”

August 21, 2020

“Does the COVID-19 crisis make the case for even greater use of automation in manufacturing, particularly in CNC machine shops?” asks Peter Zelinski, editor- in-chief of Modern Machine Shop.  “We saw how much we need people in the ways we struggled to do without them, and we discovered them to be so essential that we learned to make strange accommodations just to keep them with us,” the article continues.  Read more here – and other great articles on workforce from Modern Machine Shop.


From AMT News:  “Manufacturer Interest in Reshoring, Hiring, and Apprenticeships Increasing During COVID-19 Pandemic”

August 20, 2020

AMT News recently shared an article that during the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers are actually reshoring jobs (that’s the opposite of off-shoring), are hiring, and are overwhelmingly confident about the future.  To learn more about this good news and read the article, click here!


Stories of Ingenuity in the time of Coronavirus

April 22, 2020

  • The Wall Street Journal describes how companies are responding in much the same way they did during WWII: “It is a 21st-century version of the “Arsenal of Democracy,” the mobilization of industrial might that helped win World War II, only this time to make personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and vaccines instead of uniforms, ammunition, tanks and bombers.”  Click here to read the article – which has even more inspiring stories.

  •  Some hospitals are inviting healthy local volunteers to make cloth masks as a backup resource*.   For example, Here’s the guidelines for hand-sewn masks: Fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted. Volunteers must be healthy, without signs of fever, coughing, or shortness of breath, and must not have been in contact with anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days.Volunteer mask makers are asked to use 100% unused, non-metallic cotton fabric for the front, and 100% cotton or cotton flannel for the back, along with ¼” or 3/8” flat elastics. Instructions for the preferred mask type may be found here.   (*These cloth masks are not as effective as the ones used in hospitals; however, they can still be used in healthcare settings for other circumstances allowing the N95’s to be saved for COVID19 patients.)

  • From AutoNews:  “Ford Motor Co. plans to build respirators, ventilators and face shields in partnership with its UAW work force, manufacturing company 3M and GE Healthcare to aid medical workers as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to overwhelm their supply.  Known internally as “Project Apollo” and inspired by the quick-thinking ingenuity of the Apollo 13 space mission, executives on Tuesday said Ford workers plan to use car parts and factory tools to help get some equipment out to doctors, nurses and first responders as early as this week. ”  Read more here.

  • From Forbes:   “While this is a frightening time in so many ways, innovation has demonstrated innumerable times throughout history justified confidence and faith in the “invisible hand,” from the private sector’s transformative power in winning World War II to putting out oil well fires in Kuwait after being sabotaged at the end of the Gulf War in 1991.  ….Manufacturing capabilities are being expanded so they are ready to ramp up production once a successful medicine or vaccine is developed. And they are donating supplies and medicines around the world to help those affected. ”   Read more here 

  • From The Guardian:  “The last few weeks have seen a wave of ingenuity unleashed, with both garden-shed tinkerers and high-tech manufacturers scrambling to develop things that will combat the spread of Covid-19. Many of their innovations raise as many questions as they answer, though. …From 3D-printed respirator valves to UV-sanitising robots, here are 10 inventions that the battle against coronavirus has spawned so far.”  Read about them here.

If you know of a story we should add to this list, send us an email or contact us on social media!


Manufacturing Today

September 19, 2019

Manufacturing is vital to the health of the US and global economy.  A vibrant manufacturing base leads to more research and development, innovation, productivity, exports, and middle-class jobs. More than any other sector, manufacturing helps raise living standards—improving quality of life for people.

Currently, there are about 500,000 manufacturing jobs available in the United States. Experts project that by the end of 2025, the U.S. manufacturing sector will witness a shortage of around 2 million skilled workers.  Through career awareness campaigns, STEM programs and strategic partnerships with education and industry, the American Precision Museum is committed to working with key stakeholders to bring attention to this skills gap. 

This is the historical birthplace of our industry, the American System, Precision Valley.  There is no better place to link our history to the present and inspire the next generation to pursue prosperous career pathways in manufacturing.

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