Forge of Innovation: The Springfield Armory and the Genesis of American Industry


Springfield, MA


July 7-12, 2019 or July 21-26, 2019 (1 week)


Summer Program

Summer Program Type

Summer Program Audience



This seminar will investigate how an agricultural colony rose to become the world’s leading industrial power. NEH Summer Scholars will examine the long and richly documented history of economic and technical innovation in Western Massachusetts, built on the high-skill metals industries of the Springfield Armory (1777-1968). Beyond its role in furnishing American military might, the Armory laid the foundations of modern industry. Participants will visit dynamic, well-interpreted sites and study a wealth of compelling source material. The workshop contrasts distinct economic and political models of development, and assesses impacts on workers, communities, the environment, and the very design of the modern world.

Project Director(s)

Rich Cairn

Visiting Faculty

Robert Forrant; Chris Clark; Carrie Brown; Michael Frisch; David Glassberg; Tom Goldscheider; Tom Kelleher; Alex MacKenzie; Penni Martorell; Jim Terapane; Rich Cairn; Kelley Brown

Grantee Institution

Collaborative for Educational Services