Of Looms & Lilies – a modern dance about women, the American Industrial Revolution, and our environment

As the concept for the institution jelled in the late 1970’s, the founders of the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation were driven by the belief that we the people of New England deserve a clearer understanding of our rich industrial heritage and the ways that heritage continues to shape our lives. Located on the banks of Massachusetts’ iconic river, in the last building built by the Boston Manufacturing Company, the first integrated factory in America, they certainly chose the appropriate place to explore and convey that story.

When my colleague Francesca Piper Koss, Curator and Associate Director, began our tenure in June as the new leadership team of the Charles River Museum, we knew that we were assuming responsibility for an institution with an increasingly relevant mission—in a STEM-obsessed world—that is easy to state but challenging to fulfill. Fresh off an adventure of a lifetime, organizing the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival, we began our work at the Museum committed to ensuring that the “A” for Arts would not be neglected while we fulfilled our responsibilities to feature exhibitions of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

In this context, you can imagine our shock and delight when we discovered that a new friend had created a modern dance called “Of Looms and Lilies,” essentially a conversation through dance between 19th Century textile “Mill Girls” and contemporary professional women, and an exploration of the cultural, spiritual, and ecological impact of the American Industrial Revolution.

Here we are, at the very place (and National Historic Landmark) where the American Industrial Revolution began, tending the site that tells the story of that Revolution and its effects on our lives (and our environment, to a limited extent), when lo and behold, Bridgewater State University Professor and Weber Dance Founder and Artistic Director Dr. Jody Weber, who has just managed to tell that story in a radically different medium, suddenly and serendipitously enters our lives.

We invite you to deepen your understanding along with us of our rich industrial heritage and its impact on our lives through an upcoming, one-night-only performance of Weber Dance’s “Of Looms and Lilies.” The performance will take place in the extraordinarily appropriate and intimate setting of the Main Gallery of the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation, where we’ll be installing a wood dance floor and arranging limited seating on three sides, with standing room on the Mezzanine above. 

More details on the event, including how to purchase tickets, are AVAILABLE HERE.