COOL Cultural Organization of Lowell

Cool Places



Boott Cotton Mills Museum
at Lowell National Historical Park

115 John St.

The Boott Cotton Mills complex contains mills built from the mid-1830s to the early 20th century, reflecting the early use of waterpower, steam power, and finally, electric power. Changes in technology and production capability influenced the development and appearance of the mills over time. Today, the restored mill complex houses the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, consisting of a working weave room and a museum covering the rise, development decline and rebirth of Lowell. The museum is the flagship of Lowell National Historical Park.

National Streetcar Museum

25 Shattuck St.

From the late 19th century to today, transportation has shaped the physical development and social characteristics of America's urban environments. Focusing on the history of public transportation, this exhibit shows how private interests, public policy and issues of personal freedom and mobility have affected and continue to affect national, regional and local land use patterns and community development. The National Streetcar Museum at Lowell, a satellite exhibit of the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, presents this special exhibit to explore the history of urban rail transportation and how its rebirth is helping to revitalize American cities. This exhibit, contributed in a large part by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., presents the history of public transit in Lowell within the context of the broader story of American transit history.

New England Quilt Museum

18 Shattuck St.

The New England Quilt Museum is located in historic downtown Lowell.. Master craftsman Josiah Peabody built the Lowell Institution for Savings building in 1845 in the classic Greek Revival Style. The structure boasts an unusual rhomboidal footprint, with curved corners and an ornate wrought-iron balcony along two sides. Today the 18,000-square-foot space holds exhibition galleries, a library and resource center, classrooms, a museum store, collection storage, staff offices and support areas. The museum, a showplace for antique and contemporary quilts, presents four to five exhibitions each year. Selections from the permanent collection of over 250 quilts are always on exhibit in period-room vignettes.

Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center

40 French St.

The Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center came about from the original impulse in the 1960s and early 1970s to save the historical and cultural assets of the city of Lowell, which was then in economic decline. One of the primary movers of the reviving-Lowell movement was Dr. Patrick J. Mogan -- educator, planner and public visionary. Mogan believed that the city could serve as an active agent for helping people reconnect to their cultural traditions and be a model for other communities around the nation. He led the successful effort to have Lowell designated a National Historical Park in 1978 and, thus, receive federal recognition for the city’s role in the growth of industrialism in the United States. The Mogan Center, which incorporated his ideas of focusing on the local expression of history and culture, opened in 1989.

Whistler House Museum of Art

243 Worthen St.

The Whistler House Museum of Art, birthplace of artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler, was established in 1908 as the permanent home of the Lowell Art Association. Founded in 1878, the Lowell Art Association owns and operates the museum as an historic site. Built in 1823, the Whistler House represents the richness of the history and the art of Lowell. This museum maintains its permanent collection of 19th- and early-20th-century New England representational artists and organizes contemporary and historical fine arts exhibitions in the adjacent Parker Gallery.  It also sponsors a variety of educational and community-oriented cultural programs. Constructed in 2004, Whistler Park is a contemporary take on the traditional Victorian Garden. The park’s central feature is a bronze sculpture of James McNeill Whistler by the internationally known artist and sculptor, Mico Kaufman.

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