The Heritage Museum Plan
The National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum serves as an important national educational and cultural resource; it will also play a vital role in the economic revitalization efforts of the City of Coatesville. With its beginnings in the early 19th century, the iron and steel industry played a key role in transforming both Pennsylvania and the nation. Coatesville, Pennsylvania is central to this important story. It was here, in 1825, that a female entrepreneur named Rebecca Lukens began managing the mill and created a successful iron-making operation on the Brandywine River. Since that time, Coatesville has been the site of an unbroken chain of innovation and improvement in the making of iron and steel, from the rolling of plate for America's first iron-hulled vessel in 1825, through improvements in the making of armor plate steel that helped America defend itself in war, to innovations in steel technology that provided the framework of many modern skyscrapers including the World Trade Center. The entrepreneurial creativity of the early steel pioneers has continued right up to the present day in Coatesville.
The Museum and the Lukens Historic District are a national center for educating the public about the important history and heritage of iron and steel making in America.
Core Museum exhibits will be located in a 35,000 square foot historic structure that was part of the steel-making complex in Coatesville. By immersing visitors in the iron and steel-making story through the latest in both indoor and outdoor interpretive experiences and techniques, the Museum will bring the story to life in a way that will be both educational and entertaining. Adjacent to the Museum, against a backdrop of current mill operations, the restored Rebecca Lukens house and a re-creation of the original mill will personalize the story.