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American Textile History Museum Recognizes Students and Faculty

New Exhibit Features the Art, Science and History of Textiles

Museum President and CEO Jim Coleman presents a commemorative baseball to Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney.

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The American Textile History Museum (ATHM) recently recognized UMass Lowell for its invaluable contributions to the museum’s new main exhibition, called “Textile Revolution: An Exploration Through Space and Time.” The exhibition opened to the public on June 21.

Prior to the public opening, the museum held a VIP reception and ribbon cutting to recognize and thank the many donors, colleagues and supporters who made the new exhibition such a success.

The photo below shows, from left, Blanton Godfrey, Dean of the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University; Jennifer Brundage of Smithsonian Affiliations; ATHM President and CEO Jim Coleman; Edward B. Stevens, Chairman Emeritus of the ATHM Board of Trustees; Kenneth J. McAvoy, Chairman of the ATHM Board of Trustees; Lowell Mayor Edward “Bud” Caulfield; UMass Lowell Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney; and Brian Martin, District Director for U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas.

During the event, Coleman presented a special recognition to Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney, thanking the University for providing the expertise of students and faculty from several UMass Lowell departments in developing a number of cutting-edge displays in the exhibition.

“We very much value our partnership with UMass Lowell, and we are extremely appreciative of their many contributions to the success of the museum,” Coleman said. “Through their expertise and commitment to learning, they have advanced our ability to promote the understanding and knowledge of issues related to the American textile industry.”

Coleman presented Moloney with a commemorative baseball in a gold case as a tribute for the special exhibit, “What do sheep and baseballs have in common?” This interactive display was developed in collaboration with Prof. James A. Sherwood and Patrick Drane of UMass Lowell’s Baseball Research Center, the official facility for testing the performance and durability of NCAA and Major League Baseball bats and balls. The exhibit explains how and why the properties found in natural fibers ߞ; wool and cotton ߞ; have contributed to the high performance of MLB balls since 1925.

Linda Carpenter, director of advancement at the museum, said the goal of the new exhibition is to feature the art, science and history of textiles through exciting interactive displays and hands-on activities that engage audiences of all ages. “UMass Lowell students and faculty helped the ATHM design team to develop several exhibits and hands-on activities featuring the latest textile technologies, including nanomanufacturing and biomimicry, while also highlighting the importance and persistence of natural fibers like wool and cotton,” she said.

The exhibits demonstrate how the properties found in some natural and synthetic fibers make them ideally suited in the manufacture of clothing and products used in high-performance sports, in medicine and many other industries. 

The collaboration between ATHM and UMass Lowell began in April 2007, when Engineering Service Learning Coordinator Linda Barrington worked with both University professors and museum staff to develop projects of mutual interest and benefit in promoting the understanding and knowledge of the textile industry.

Asst. Prof. Emmanuelle Reynaud’s mechanical engineering class conducted research on materials that are featured in the exhibition. Prof. Carol Barry recommended plastics engineering doctoral student Rinky Devre and several undergraduates to conduct research and report their findings on nanotechnology and biomimetics. Graduate student Dan Murphy provided the specifications for a working model of a device for electrospinning nanofibers. 

Due to the University’s input, visitors to the new exhibition can see how a garment manufactured using nanoparticles can repel water just like a lotus leaf in a pond, as well as how a bathing suit can be made to mimic the properties found in sharkskin.

In addition to the expertise and funding from UMass Lowell, the museum received a grant from the Independent University Alumni Association, which provided funds for student interns who worked on the project.

For information on the museum’s hours and admission, visit, or call 978-441-0400.