"Embracing the Past to Inspire the Future"Museum of Work and Culture. The focus of the Museum is to present the story of Woonsocket's history, specifically the sacrifices and struggles of the immigrants who flocked to the city by the river and enabled it to grow from rural farmland to a thriving industrial region at the turn of the 20th century.
I began the tour on the first floor where I learned of the origins of the first Canadian settlers who emigrated from the Quebec area to Woonsocket in the late 1800's. Interactive displays illustrated the rural life that the immigrants left behind to journey to an unknown promise of a better life in the United States. As I moved further into the Museum I found replicas of the spinning machines found in the textile mills where the immigrants toiled for long hours for meager pay in harsh, dirty, loud working conditions. I learned that Woonsocket once had many such mills, some were dye houses and others manufactured cotton fabric and woolen goods. Most of the city's population, including children, were mill workers.