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“Good enough to go back for a second day!”

Lowell National Historical Park
Ranked #2 of 29 things to do in Lowell
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This park commemorates Lowell's integral part in America's Industrial Revolution.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

My daughter and I arrived at the visitor's center in the late afternoon just in time to look around a little and take the canal boat tour. We boarded a trolley to take us the few blocks down to the boat dock for our tour. Cost for the canal tour was $8/person or $4/person if you have a National Parks annual pass. This tour was well worth the cost. Emily, our ranger, was very knowledgable about how the canals allowed Lowell to become one of the 1st big factory towns in the United States. She discussed how/why the canals were built as well as pointed out areas of interest along the way. We even disembarked upstream to get a close look at one of the locks. Originally, we had planned to spend an afternoon in Lowell. After taking the canal tour, we decided to come back for a second day to see the rest of the park.

On the second day, we visited the Boott Cotton Mills Museum. There are lots of interactive displays and videos upstairs. The really cool part is found on the lower floor. As you enter the museum, you are transported back in time. You walk through a working textile mill as it would have appeared in the late 1800s/early 1900s. A number of the machines are working and making cloth just the way it would have been done back in the day. If you ever thought that the history of industrialization in the US was boring, you haven't been to Lowell. I highly recommend it...especially if you hate learning about history from having to listen to a long lecture or reading a really thick history text. Don't skip the movie on the second floor. Even though it is only a 'slide show", it is very well done and does a great job of explaining the difficulty we had as a country moving from a agricultural to industrial society.

By the way, it is easiest to park in the city parking garage when visiting the Cotton Mill since it is on the other side of the part from the Visitor Center. Cost for parking was only a few bucks...very reasonable. Be sure to stop and pick up a dish towel or two in the gift shop before you go. The towels are made on the working machines located in the Cotton Museum. Great place to spend 1/2 day and learn about our country's transition from a farming to manufacturing economy.

Thank Paul R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"canal tour"
in 37 reviews
"visitor center"
in 32 reviews
"industrial revolution"
in 53 reviews
"boarding house"
in 20 reviews
"cotton mill"
in 14 reviews
"historical park"
in 10 reviews
"trolley ride"
in 12 reviews
"textile industry"
in 13 reviews
"various parts"
in 4 reviews
"american history"
in 8 reviews
"new england"
in 11 reviews
"free trolley"
in 7 reviews
"united states"
in 6 reviews
"market st"
in 3 reviews
"knowledgeable rangers"
in 3 reviews
"minute film"
in 5 reviews
"jack kerouac"
in 7 reviews
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203 - 207 of 271 reviews

Reviewed May 14, 2013

In my opinion, this little museum and its out buildings are a hidden gem -- well worth the visit to Lowell, MA, if you happen to be in the area. The museum staff have done an incredible job, in my opinion, of making the mill industry interesting for a wide populace of backgrounds/ages. We happened to be there on a Saturday when park employees were making cloth and operating the weaving machines. I also found the "boarding house" building and exhibits interesting. It was really interesting to get an idea of how the "mill girls" lived and worked in the 1800s. Just walking around the downtown Lowell area (surrounding the mill) is also interesting. It's clear that this is an area of town that has recently been revamped/restored/revitalized as there are still a few areas nearby that look a little scary. We also encountered a few scary looking people along the way. However, the old buildings are just so interesting to look at and photograph that at least, during daylight hours, it's well worth a visit. Highly recommended!

The only suggestion I'd have is that the introductory slide show (and it's a SLIDE show) is from the 1980s and could use a little updating.

1  Thank naturegirl94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2013

A wonderful set up with very helpful staff. The mills provide ample information and history of interest to kids and adults alike!

Thank starosta93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2013

The best place to learn about the Historical City of Lowell. You feel very welcome and like if you are living in the past.

Thank anavl1953
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 2, 2013

We made a quick trip from Boston and were only able to visit the Bootts Cotton Mill and not the Boarding House. The mill was very interesting and well labeled and we would have enjoyed the visit if that was all. But what elevated the visit were the park rangers who were clearly excited about their museum. On the bottom floor hte ranger spent 45 minutes helping my boys understand what was so exciting and scary about working in the mills. On the top floor the ranger walked us through the whole process from field to finished product making sure the boys understood what was happening. The rangers encouraged questions and made the museum their second favorite thing about Boston (after the Science Museum). We wanted to visit the Boarding House, but had to get back to Boston before it openned for the day.

2  Thank Jenswar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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