Attleboro Area Industrial Museum

About AAIM

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Our Mission

It is the mission of the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum, Inc. (AAIM) to collect and preserve the artifacts, photographs, documents, publications, tools, and machinery that relate to the industrial history of the Attleboro area; to make these materials readily available for both research and enjoyment; and to act as a resource center for the education of the public about the industrial history of the Attleboro area, so that knowledge of the past may contribute to a fuller understanding of the present and inspiration for the future.
Building Established
Items in Collection

200+ Years of Local Industrial History

The Attleboro Area Industrial Museum was incorporated on July 4, 1975 as the part of City of Attleboro’s Bicentennial celebration. The idea of creating an industrial museum for the area had been in discussions for decades, first appeared in the minutes of the Chamber of Commerce of the Attleboro Area from the 1920’s. The notes mentioned a desire to create an industrial museum to highlighting the accomplishments of the Attleboro area industry.
At the time, Frank Mossberg, a prolific inventor and business owner was president of the Attleborough Board of Trade. The idea resurfaced at an Attleboro Chamber of Commerce meeting and the idea took root with the availability of the building at 42 Union Street, the original Attleboro Refining Company. Our building has a rich history and is considered to be the most important object in the Museum’s collection. In 1899, Harold D. Baker and his brother George W. Baker, both of Providence, Rhode Island, formed a partnership to establish the Attleboro Refining Company in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Throughout the years four additions were added and on June 26, 1968, Handy & Harman Refining Group, Inc. purchased the Attleboro Refining Company. In November 1973, Handy & Harman left 42 Union Street for a new facility located on Townsend Road in the “new” Attleboro Industrial Park. On November 29, 1976, Handy & Harman turned the 42 Union Street building over to the Chamber of Commerce of the Attleboro Area who acted as caretaker while the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum, Inc. attained a non-profit status with the federal government. The building was in great disrepair when donated to the Museum so, for the first few years, the Board of Directors and Incorporators were concerned primarily with the rehabilitation of the building and grounds. The incorporators were J. Jerome Coogan, Emilio G. Gautieri Jr., George S. Gibb, Elizabeth Hartshorn Phillips, August H. Schaefer, and William H. Ward. The building was located in the jewelry manufacturing center of Attleboro when built in 1899.

Our goals and objectives were created by the originators, they wanted a place, as stated in the mission statement “to collect and preserve artifacts, photographs, publications, documents, tools and machinery from the industrial history of the Attleboro area”. “These materials would be readily available for both research and enjoyment and the museum act a resource center for the education of the community about Attleboro’s industrial history.

Programs and Exhibits

The museum programs provide the community with multimedia presentations for local individuals, retiree groups, churches groups, clubs and schools with examples in the form of artifacts, including documents and photographs about the culture, industrial and local history of the Attleboro area. Additionally the museum is a resource for local media including the local access cable and the local daily newspaper for topics from the museum collection. We provide meeting space for local civic and community groups like the historical preservation society and the local boys and girls scout troupes. The overall collection of The Attleboro Area Industrial Museum numbers approximately 17,500 items. These items relate to the general history of the Attleboro area with a definite emphasis on its rich industrial history. The museum has five permanent exhibits, as seen below.

The Craftsmen Shop

The Craftsman Shop is a typical 1850-1860 shop in a traditional farm town.

L.G. Balfour Exhibit

Includes documents, photos, artifacts, office machines of the L. G. Balfour Company.

Philip Kraczkowski Exhibit

The actual studio used by Kraczkowski to create his art and sculptures.

Eugene Hunt Exhibit

Includes the machines, tools, designs and documents from the Eugene Hunt Machine Turning Company

Button Making Exhibit

Shows a time line of the history of metal button production in the Attleboro area from 1780 through 1945, it features artifacts from the Robinson Company, the D. Evans Company and H. H. Whittemore Company, the Textile Industry in Attleboro included cotton and wool thread material weaving mills and textiles mills in permanent exhibit featuring Attleboro’s early successful textile industry from 1809 until 1975.

Additional Exhibits

There are sixteen other cases highlighting other tools, machines and industries and companies including Evans Case of North Attleboro, Leach and Garner Company, R. F. Simmons Company of Attleboro, Whiting and Davis Company of Plainville and American Souvenirs: Made in Attleboro” a tribute to the one hundred anniversary of the National Park Service features souvenirs made in Attleboro for many national parks between 1900-1960, Industrial Scales exhibits, featuring more than twenty scales used in the various industries in Attleboro, the Bay State Optical Company case featuring eye-glasses manufactured from 1840-1940, Knobby Krafters Company manufacturers of metal and plastic pins of all kinds, each exhibit or case features Attleboro area manufacturing companies. There is space for several temporary exhibits in the museum, currently an exhibit ” Jewelry Manufacturers of Attleboro: Birthplace of Jewelry Manufacturing in the United States” is on display.

Our Staff

Carleton Legg

Executive Director

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Now Seeking Archivist/Librarian

Archive and catalog Research Library with an emphasis on conservation of objects. Interview required.

Board of Directors

George Howarth

Board President

G.H. Electric Owner (Ret)

Joan Pilkington Smyth

Board Vice President

Board Vice President
Librarian, Retired, Attleboro Public Library

Rose Larson

Board Treasurer

James Russell

Board Secretary

Museum Consultant

Jane Coogan

Attorney Coogan Smith LLP

Scott Dubuc

Shear Impressions Salon

Bette Fuller

Educator Ret.

Dan Larson

President Ret.
Larson Tool, Inc.

Scott Killough

Attleboro Police – Ret

Ken Tenglin

Nancy Young

Attleboro Jewelers Inc.

Carleton Legg

Museum Director