Massachusetts

Exhibits exploring an essential but usually unheralded aspect of the infrastructure of civilized living.

This 44,000 square-foot underground bunker, in the rolling hills next to Hampshire College, was built in 1956 as a regional control center by the Strategic Air Command (SAC), which operated a bomber base nearby in Westover. The three story building features a...

In the 19th century, the Blackstone Canal linked central Massachusetts to the ocean through Providence, Rhode Island, stimulating industrial growth along its path. The river and canal system is now being converted into a heritage corridor, with bike paths and...

In 1971, the Boston Gas Company commissioned the artist (and nun) Corita Kent to turn what many considered to be an industrial eyesore into a popular landmark. What is now called "the world's largest copyrighted artwork," is actually a reproduction, as the...

This coal-fired plant on the southern coast of Massachusetts, near Fall River, is the largest fossil fuel power plant in New England. Coal comes by ship and barge from coal mines in West Virginia, Kentucky, and from as far away as South America, and enters...

Building 20 was the principal building in the secret "Radiation Laboratory," the MIT-based wartime radar research effort which employed 4,000 people and occupied 15 acres of floor space in Cambridge at the peak of its five year existence. Built hurriedly...

Seven miles long and 540 feet wide, the Cape Cod Canal is one of the widest sea-level canals in the world. Construction started in 1909, and finished in 1914, and its width was almost doubled in the 1920's. The Canal transformed Cape Cod from a peninsula to...

The town of Chatham has transformed its coastal perimeter to defend against the erosion, resulting from a 1987 storm, when the natural sand spit protecting Chatham from the waves, tides, and littoral drift of the Atlantic was suddenly and permanently breached...

The complex of three mills around Dalton, Massachusetts, which comprise the Crane Paper Company constitute the sole source of paper for U.S. currency. Crane has been making durable paper out of cotton fiber at this location for almost 200 years, and has been...

The Deer Island waste treatment plant processes Boston's sewage and is the second largest sewage treatment plant in the country (Chicago's is larger). The plant is capable of handling more than a billion gallons of wastewater per day, ejecting treated...

The old Assabet Woolen Company mill complex in downtown Maynard became the home of Digital Equipment Corporation, starting in 1957, after Ken Olsen and his new business partners quit MIT's Lincoln Lab with a groundbreaking idea for minicomputers. The new...

Draper Lab is a private, nonprofit R...

Sirens such as this one are installed in three Massachusetts communities near the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in southern Vermont. In the event of an accident at the plant, the siren would emit a steady three to five minute tone, after which residents...

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's regional operations center for New England is housed in this underground bunker in Maynard. Built in the 1950's, when the agency was more concerned about nuclear attacks than it is now, the bunker has an operations...

The Fisher Museum was built initially to contain 23 dioramas of New England forests. The precise three-dimensional dioramas depict examples of New England forest conditions and transformations of the local landscape. They were designed by R. T. Fisher, the...

The Fore River Shipyard, south of Boston, is a major shipyard that has been relatively inactive for the past couple of decades, but is one of the last remaining heavy industry sites in the State. During World War II it was one of several yards around Boston...

For many years, an office on the third floor of this building in Wellesley was the official headquarters for a remarkable engineering company known as EG&G. Founded by Doc Edgerton, the MIT professor famous for his strobe photography, and two of his...

Though officially decommissioned in the early 1990's, Fort Devens still has a large military presence, and a legacy of clean up issues on the property slated for redevelopment. Some industries, including Gillette and Parker Aerospace, have already constructed...

GE's Plastics Concept House (aka Living Environments House) opened in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1989 to showcase possible uses of plastic in residential buildings. Featured in this model suburban home were futuristic components such as a centralized...

Located on the high-technology region of the Route 128 beltway, northwest of Boston, Hanscom is said to be the fourth largest corporate entity in Massachusetts, and is one of the Air Force's primary research and development centers for surveillance and...

One of the larger "waste-to-energy" plants in the country, this one handles 1,650 tons per day. Operated by the Covanta Corporation, which operates over 25 waste-to-energy plants, more than any other company.

The Haystack Observatory is located in a complex of radio antennas in the hills above Westford and Tyngsboro. Inside the facility's dome is a 120-foot- diameter steerable radio dish, built by the Air Force in 1963, and designed by MIT's Lincoln Lab. Ownership...

Rocket motors were produced in this now abandoned industrial complex during World War II and into the 1950's. In the production buildings, heavy walls of cement separated the assembly alcoves from one another, with a shared glass wall to permit an explosion...

This rail tunnel through the Berkshires, completed in 1875, connected eastern Massachusetts to the industrial and transportation centers in upstate New York and the Great Lakes. At the time of completion it was the longest tunnel in the world, at 4.75 miles,...

The Carroll Water Treatment Plant is a new site in the chain of water facilities for Boston’s water supply. It is connected to the new Metro West Tunnel, and the Hultman Aqueduct. For more than 17 miles, and more than 50 years, the Hultman Aqueduct carried...

This 550 acre train yard used to be the Boston and Maine Railroad's largest maintenance yard, back when B&M was the biggest railroad company in the state. Steam locomotives, diesels, and passenger cars were all maintained at this site over the years. It...

An operations room in this building near Holyoke controls the flow of electricity throughout New England. Inside the room, fewer than ten people work at control stations, under a big illuminated board that indicates the status of some of the 330 power plants...

Most of the mining in Massachusetts is for gravel and quarried stone. This marble quarry in the Berkshire mountains near Lenox is the source of marble used in the wings of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, and in other government buildings in...

Lincoln Lab is a large electromagnetic communications R...

This was the launch site for a battery of Nike Ajax missiles, active between 1955 and 1961, one of fifteen Nike Missile sites operated in Massachusetts between the 1950's and the 1970's to defend coastal urban areas against aerial attack. Missiles were stored...