A Partnership in Place
UMass Lowell and the Lowell National Historical Park
collaborate on annual programs and special projects that explore and celebrate the distinctive heritage of the city. The University's story is interwoven with the city's industrial past, in both the technology programs of the Lowell Textile School and teacher training at the Lowell Normal School, dating from the 1890s. In both cases, higher education was looked to for advancing the economic and social prospects of a growing city. UMass Lowell today connects with the Park across disciplines, ranging from education and science to the fine arts and humanities.
Each summer, UMass Lowell co-sponsors the Lowell Folk Festival
and Lowell Summer Music Series
, two of culturally rich offerings that give Lowell its special vitality. Through the years, the Park and UMass Lowell have partnered on major events like the Dickens in Lowell
and the "On the Road" scroll manuscript initiatives. In 2011-12, the Dickens project recognized the notable visit by Charles Dickens to Lowell in 1842, chronicled in the author's "American Notes." A museum exhibit at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum of the Park supported by more than 50 community events and scholarly activities engaged large and diverse audiences across the city. The 2007 "On the Road" project marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's classic novel of spiritual questing on the American highway. More than 25,000 people saw the legendary scroll manuscript at the Boott Museum, an exhibit that earned a top award from the State and Local History Association. Also in 2007, the Park and University were among lead community producers of the world premiere of an innovative Cambodian rock opera, "Where Elephants Weep" that drew capacity audiences and earned national attention.
In the early years of the Park, the University and other partners presented the annual Lowell Conference on Industrial History; more recently, the two agencies and other sponsors presented the Innovative Cities Conference (2010), which featured experts on urban issues from across America and Europe.