Update from Sept 3, 2021:
As of June 14, 2021, more than 80% of eligible Vermonters have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are no statewide COVID-19 restrictions at this time, but the VT Health Department currently recommends wearing a mask in public indoor settings. The museum has free disposable masks, should you need one.
APM Featured in Image Magazine
Image Magazine featured the American Precision Museum in the summer 2022 issue.
Thank you, Image! You can see the spread here or pick up a copy of Image locally.
APM featured in Eagle Times: “Dream Big about Their Future”
“WINDSOR, Vt. — Rosie’s Girls Invent, a STEM forward camp for young girls and gender expansive youth alike, has come to Windsor, Vermont. The camp will be held on site at the American Precision Museum once a week until August 23rd and aims to teach young people skills in STEM fields, engineering, and also socio-emotional skills to help propel them to success.”
“Inventors and Innovators” Exhibit at American Precision Museum
April 12, 2022: Windsor, VT – The American Precision Museum is hosting a special exhibit in April, celebrating “Inventors and Innovators,” featuring members of the Machine Tool Hall of Fame. The exhibit is open Monday – Friday, 10- 5. Admission is half-price in April.
The exhibit explores patents, famous industrial partnerships, the development of industrial ecosystems, and how colleagues from various companies often worked together. Archival materials from the museum’s collection include 19th century patent documents from the U.S. and Great Britain, trade literature from numerous companies, and more.
The Machine Tool Hall of Fame is an initiative of the American Precision Museum and the Association for Manufacturing Technology. The Hall of Fame includes 47 individuals and is available online at The Manufacturing Ledger, (ledger.americanprecision.org), a new portal that highlights the stories of the celebrated people behind the machines.
Many biographies are displayed in the exhibit, including member influence and their company affiliations. The machines displayed in the exhibit hall linked with the Machine Tool Hall of Fame, also are highlighted.
“While reading the biographies, you realize that some of these men were notable for their inventions, some for their ingenious business practices, and others for inspiring and catalyzing others,” said Executive Director Steve Dalessio.
APM to Present Smithsonian Poster Exhibition Highlighting the History of Women Inventors in the United States
March 1, 2022: Windsor, VT – Throughout American history, women with diverse backgrounds and interests created inventions that changed lives every day. But women haven’t always had equal opportunities to be inventors or received as much recognition. The Smithsonian and the United States Patent and Trademark Office present “Picturing Women Inventors,” a poster exhibition that explores the inventions of 19 highly accomplished American women. Astronauts, computer pioneers, and businesswomen join athletes, engineers, and even teenagers in this remarkable group of inventors. The posters will be on view at the American Precision Museum March 1 through 31st, in conjunction with Women’s History Month.
“Picturing Women Inventors” showcases the breakthroughs, motivations, and challenges women encountered while pursuing their goals as inventors. The poster exhibition highlights stories of inventors like Marilyn Hamilton, who after a hang-gliding accident in 1978 left her paralyzed, invented a lightweight wheelchair that was easy to maneuver. Diversity of background and age are showcased including inventor Alexis Lewis, who at 12-years-old in 2011 was inspired to adapt a traditional Native American sled, called a travois, by adding wheels to create a simpler way to transport families and their belongings in Somalia.
The exhibit is a natural complement to the stories of innovation and invention already on display at APM. This poster exhibition was designed to educate and inspire young people to see themselves as future inventors. During the winter, when the museum is not heated, admission is free (although donations are welcome). Visitors are welcome to tour the museum, bearing the cold in mind.
“Picturing Women Inventors” is distributed at no cost to schools, libraries, museums and community organizations by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It’s sponsored by Lyda Hill Philanthropies IF/THEN Initiative and Ericsson.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit www.sites.si.edu.
The Lemelson Center has led the study of invention and innovation at the Smithsonian since 1995. The center’s activities advance scholarship on the history of invention, share stories about inventors and their work and nurture creativity in young people. The center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation and located in the National Museum of American History. For more information, visit www.invention.si.edu.
“Patterns and Molds”: Temporary Exhibit at American Precision Museum
January 14, 2022: Windsor, VT – The American Precision Museum’s new temporary exhibit, “Patterns and Molds,” opens at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, January 14, 2022. This special selection of items is drawn from the Museum’s archives and remains on exhibit from 10 am to 5 pm through Monday, February 14. The exhibit includes video elements explaining molding processes, live demonstrations of thermoforming, and more. Although many of the patterns resemble simple shapes, some are more complex, and all ultimately became parts of machines.
“When we talk about cast-iron, we’re really talking about molten iron being poured into a mold, and the resulting casting,” explained Executive Director Steve Dalessio. “The pattern is the original design the mold is made from.” The museum has hundreds of these patterns in its collection, usually wooden. These patterns were often used in foundries. The patternmaker in the 1800s and early 1900s often learned from a master or from books (and a sampling of these books will also be on display). “The American Precision Museum has so many artifacts in its collection that the public does not get to see regularly,” says Dalessio. “This exhibit is an opportunity for us to share unique objects that have never been put on display.”
During the winter, when the museum is not heated, admission is free (although donations are welcome). This special exhibit takes place in the heated section of the museum. The exhibit is open weekdays from 10-5 pm.
Exhibit links with Education Kit “Achieving Repeatability “
The exhibit also ties in with the museum’s next education kit, “Achieving Repeatability”. This interdisciplinary kit for kids in 4th through 6th grade will be available to local teachers and informal educators free of charge in February. The kit includes lesson slides and all the physical materials a student would need to create a cookie cutter that tessellates, build a catapult that’s both accurate and precise, exchange the parts of a clicking ballpoint pen, and more. The lessons tie in manufacturing, history, and STEM with art and the humanities.
Model Engineering Show Returns, Updates at the American Precision Museum
August 5, 2021 – Since 1999, the American Precision Museum has hosted a gathering of makers and builders known as the Model Engineering Show. The American Precision Museum’s 20th Model Engineering Show will take place at the museum Saturday, October 2 from 9:00am-4:00pm.
The American Precision Museum’s Model Engineering Show has become an October tradition giving visitors the chance to see the work of some of New England’s finest model engineers. Perfection is the hallmark of the model engineering and miniature movement, and visitors to the show will experience some of the best.
In past years, the Model Engineering Show in fact was held in two locations and had over 30 vendors and exhibitors. The 2021 show will be much smaller – only to be held at the museum. And in order to make the best use of the limited space, the show will require exhibitors to apply and be approved.
The show’s date was chosen for several reasons: to better accommodate potential exhibitors during the beginning of “leaf peeper season” in rural Vermont, and also to coincide with National Manufacturing Day. “National Manufacturing Day (or MFG Day) is always held the first Friday in October, and encourages manufacturers, schools, parents, and allies to work together to build a future workforce. And there is no more inspiring way to show the joy of making things than the Model Engineering Show,” said associate director Alice Cable.
The museum’s education strategy introduces young people to “making things” and consider a career in manufacturing through digital resources, classroom outreach and onsite programs that connect history, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, Mathematics), and machines.
The museum also has a major new exhibit for 2021, which tells the important story of how precision manufacturing changed from “Made by Hand” to “Made by Machine.” Displays of early machinery are integrated into the broad story of American industrial history, enabling visitors to learn more of the important role the manufacturing industry continues to play in shaping American culture and society.
For those interested in exhibiting, volunteering, or being a vendor, visit the museum’s web site: www.americanprecision.org to apply online and to obtain general information about this event. Call the museum at 802.674.5781 for more details. The museum exhibits will close for the season October 31st, 2021 but may be open by appointment during the winter.
Updates for the 2021 Season: “Made by Hand to Made By Machine”
March 15, 2021 (Windsor, VT): When the museum opens for the season on May 1st, visitors can expect to see a few changes. New displays will tell the important story of how precision manufacturing changed from “Made by Hand” to “Made by Machine.” In the museum today, displays of early machinery are integrated into the broad story of American industrial history, enabling visitors to learn more of the important role the manufacturing industry continues to play in shaping American culture and society. “This new exhibit will bring to light how products were first made by hand and then made by machine, through the brilliance of Kendall, Robbins and Lawrence,” said Executive Director Steve Dalessio. The new display will feature updated lighting and media, a new hand-tool display, and much more. “We look forward to sharing the new exhibit with you whether you’re here at the museum or visiting us online,” added Dalessio.
Additionally, the Science and Technology of Measurement display has had an update for the new year. As part of the statewide exhibit 2020 Vision: Reflecting on a World-Changing Year,’ the update includes the measurement of heat, due to unprecedented use of forehead thermometers for covid-19 symptom checking. The museums’ collection of pyrometers and thermometers includes devices that can measure up to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. Beside the measurement of heat and temperature, this display also features devices that measure speed, distance, time, power, and hardness.
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:
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.
- If you shop at Amazon, start at smile.amazon.com and you can send some of Amazon’s profit to the non-profit of your choice – such as the museum.
- Kindle Books: Our out-of-print exhibit booklets are newly available online for Kindle readers! Let us know what you think – we’re starting with these two and if you like them, more are on the way.
- Online Gift Shop at Cafepress: Now you can get exclusive APM products and gifts online! Cafepress prints and ships your order and each order supports the museum. Featured items for the shop launch include new puzzles, sweatshirts, and coffee mugs.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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