Teach PA History
Pennsylvania's Iron Furnaces: Forging the Industrialization of the Nation

1. This lesson chose three aspects of industrialization on which to focus. Many more, however, were left unexplored. Consider a lesson looking at the effect of economic conditions, world events (i.e., wars), western expansion, or immigration on industrial revolutions. 2. Students could study in more depth important innovations of the industrial revolution such as the steam engine. How does it work and why was it such an improvement over the water-wheel? 3. With industrialization came factories and the move from rural to urban areas. What were the effects of industrialization on the environment? Consider a lesson exploring the environmental changes and consequences of industrialization. One specific story students could explore is the industrial melanism of the peppered moth in England. 4. What is happening to the iron furnaces that were once so vital a part of our state's economy? Consider implementing a letter-writing campaign by instituting an "Adopt a Furnace" campaign. Student groups or a class of students could write letters to government officials, conservationists, the iron industry, and museums to begin a campaign of preservation of these valuable artifacts of state and local history.

Field Trips

Cornwall Iron Furnace Rexmont Road at Boyd Street P.O. Box 251 Cornwall, PA 17016 (717)272-9711
The Cornwall Iron Furnace is an immaculately preserved furnace from the 18th century. The tour provides students with the opportunity to discover how the iron industry transformed with the times. Students will be able to be in the presence of both the water wheel and the steam engine they viewed in the photographs during the lesson. The surrounding area also provides a glimpse of life in a plantation system as many of the miner dwellings are preserved and still in use today. Adult admission is $4.00 while youth are admitted for $2.00. There is also a senior and group rate of $3.50.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Route 741, PO Box 15 Strasburg, PA 17579 717 687- 8628
In this lesson students looked at the relationship between the railroad industry and iron industry and how they affected each other. Learn more about the railroad industry at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This museum offers a world-class collection of railroad artifacts as well as an educational program and staff to help interpret the story behind these artifacts. Download the education programs booklet to see guided tours and distance learning programs available. Examples of existing pertinent programs to this lesson include "Live Steam Demonstration" (Traveling Program/Distance Learning) and "The Evolution of the Locomotion" (Guided Walking Tour). A discussion with education staff may also help to tailor the visit to meet specific educational interests.

State Museum of Pennsylvania 300 North Street Harrisburg, PA 17120-0024 (717) 787-4980
This museum, located right next to the Capitol Building, has multiple floors of exhibits sharing the history of our state. In its Hall of Industry and Technology students can view how Pennsylvania changed from an agricultural to industrial economy. Among exhibit items are artifacts showing transportation progress (Conestoga Wagon, Harley Davidson motorcycle, Ford T, etc.), innovation in power sources (from Fat Lamps to electric bulbs, steam engine to electrical turbine), and stories of Pennsylvania's own innovators" contribution to progress (e.g., Daniel Drawbaugh and the telephone).

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