National Canal Museum relocates to canal site
PHOTOS COURTESY NATIONAL CANAL MUSEUM With a day pass, you can both visit the National Canal Museum and take a heritage canal boat ride on the Josiah White II pulled by a pair of mules, Hank and George, and travel through an operable lock.
"When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade," Dale Carnegie lectured.
At the beginning of this year, the National Canal Museum lost its lease to 30 Center Square in Easton, the building that it shared with the Crayola Factory. It may have been the best thing to have happened to the organization.
"The lease with the partnership with the city of Easton Pennsylvania and the Crayola company expired after 15 years," explained Tom Stoneback, canal museum director.
Crayola wanted to expand into the third and fourth floor space leased by the museum. Although the combined pass to both attractions drew 300,000 visitors each year, the mission of the National Canal Museum played second fiddle to the Crayola Factory's ultra colorfun experience.
So where did the National Canal Museum relocate?
"We moved to Hugh Moore Park where the roots of the organization exists at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers," Stoneback said. "It's the site of the beginning of the Industrial Revolution of the United States, a great story of when coal, coke, cement and steel were king."
It is also the location of the Abbott Street industrial ruins. When it opened in the 1830s, it was one of the first industrial parks in the United States.
"The park had a gristmill, gunmaker, and a unique power plant that served it well for many years," Stoneback said.
The canal museum has completed its move to the Emrick Technology Center in Hugh Moore Park, a site that has been home to the museum's archives, offices of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and the Josiah White II canal boat ride, all of which will continue to share the site with the museum.
The Emrick Technology Center opened in 2006 but it had not been fully utilized before the move. At its new location, for a day pass, you can both visit the National Canal Museum and take a heritage canal boat ride on the Josiah White II pulled by a pair of mules, Hank and George, and travel through an operable lock.
The canal museum represents all the canals in America, including the six anthracite canals that hauled coal from the Pocono Mountains to the New York and Philadelphia markets. Relocation of the museum near the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, and the Lehigh and Delaware Canals helps to explain and reinforce their message, a message of learning about the region's heritage in a venue accessible to youngsters.
"The canals were built using the basics of civil engineering," Stoneback explained. "The exhibits give children an opportunity to learn how to use basic machines like levers, planes, gears, pulleys and buoyancy. The exhibits are interactive."
He said Smithsonian artifacts are intermingled with children's' activities.
"It's a unique blending that is both informative and fun," he said.
The National Canal Museum opens to the public on Memorial Day weekend and continues on June 2, Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., with canal boat departures at 1, 2, 3, and 4 p.m.
The National Canal Museum is located at 2750 Hugh Moore Park Road, Easton, PA. For information, see: www.canals.org or call (610) 991-0503.