Before They Were Artifacts - Pumps Presentation


What do the formerly world’s largest office building, a Texas shipyard, and a 190-year-old chair factory in Virginia have in common? Those were all places that pumps in the NMIH collection can trace their history to. This illustrated lecture will look beyond the Museum’s giant Corliss pumping engine to trace the journey of other water and oil pumps in the Museum’s collection. See how they fit into the broader history of pumping and learn about some of the fascinating places they connect to.

This lecture is presented by NMIH Historian Mike Piersa. Mike graduated with a bachelor’s in history from Moravian College and a master’s in history from Lehigh University. He has been with NMIH for over 17 years and has been instrumental in the research and interpretation behind the museum’s collections as well as the restoration of historical industrial equipment both at the museum and at outside facilities. His quarry machinery preservation work resulted in him becoming an MSHA Certified Miner and taking leading roles in important restoration and preservation projects across the country, including the Bangor Quarry Hoist Project, a collaboration between the Totts Gap Arts Institute, the American Industrial Mining Company Museum, and the Borough of Bangor, PA. Mike has presented across the country on his work with industrial heritage and in 2019 published The Big Green Machine, a short book detailing the history, preservation, and operational restoration of NMIH’s 115-ton stationary steam engine.

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