The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum (NISHM) is proud to announce the acquisition of two historic mill buildings, as a gift from ArcelorMittal. The two buildings, known as the 120” rolling mill and the motor house, will expand the museum area and will be key factors in the revitalization of Coatesville, by renovating former steel production buildings into a museum centered on the story and science of iron and steel manufacturing. The combined space of over four acres in both buildings will add immense exhibit and programmatic space to this education-based museum. The new space will focus on visitor displays, large-scale exhibits and artifacts of iron and steel processes, products and people.
While ArcelorMittal and its predecessor companies have been continuously producing iron and steel in Coatesville since 1810, these two buildings were built as part of the WWII war effort, where steel for battleships, aircraft carriers, submarines, as well as destroyers, landing craft, and tank parts was manufactured. Production was halted at these sites in 1982 when the actual rolling mill was moved to another plant in Conshohocken (the former Alan Wood Steel Plant, now owned and operated by ArcelorMittal). The acquisition of these buildings began over 20 years ago in the fall of 1995, when then-Lukens Steel and the Graystone Society had the idea to reuse an industrial building on the plant grounds for community purposes.
Due to numerous ownership changes at the steel mill, the plan was often put aside as new owners were brought up to speed on the request. But the vision was to become reality with the help of current plant management, Ed Frey, General Manager of ArcelorMittal’s eastern plate division, and his team. Of note, ArcelorMittal produces steel in Coatesville and is the oldest continuously running steel mill in the U.S.
“ArcelorMittal Coatesville is pleased to transform a 20-year vision into a reality through the donation of the 120” rolling mill and motor house to the National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum. This wouldn’t be possible without the support from our leadership at both the USA and corporate levels,” said Frey. “As the oldest continuously operating steel mill in the U.S., we have a long history here in Coatesville. Yes, we produce steel that is critical to our modern life, but we also strive to be an active and welcomed member of this community. We are excited to share our industry’s history and advancements in innovation with our neighbors, children and visitors alike.”
The museum will appeal to visitors of all ages. Educational exhibits will take the visitor through the world of how steel is made, with a special focus on science and engineering. Visitors will enjoy the multitude of structures, from bridges, public buildings, to military vehicles that contain steel. Rotating exhibits, similar to the current, “Pennsylvania Iron & Steel: 300 Years of Industrial Might,” will be showcased in the new museum, along with historic artifacts and collections currently housed in the Lukens Executive Office Building and C. L. Huston III Firehouse.
Much work will need to be undertaken before the site will be visitor-ready. For the phased opening, a portion of the motor house is planned to open to visitors first, with the entire facility opening in the coming years. With its full opening, Chester County will witness a unique venue, offering over 89,000 square feet of enclosed space. The addition of the new buildings will showcase the current collection, including that of the Brandywine Mansion, Graystone Mansion, Terracina and the Lukens Executive Office Building.
NISHM president and direct descendant of Rebecca Lukens, Scott G. Huston is exhilarated over the acquisition. “This is an event we have anticipated for a very long time here at the museum. To finally be able to show visitors the Lifecycle of Steel in its entirety and view the World Trade Center Tridents as they once stood is a great honor. But most importantly, to ignite passion in young minds to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math is critical to our collective future.” NISHM Executive Director James Ziegler totally agrees, “This is a great, great day, for Coatesville.”
The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum will also be home to a memorial and exhibit of the World Trade Center Steel, including the tridents from the northeast corner of WTC #1. The tridents will be in the exact formation as they originally stood on the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum is located on the campus of the Lukens National Historic District, at 50 S. 1st Avenue in Coatesville, PA. Easily accessible in the heart of Coatesville and adjacent to the River Walk, NISHM is open six days a week for tours, lectures and educational programs. It draws international crowds to its facility, which educates the public on the people, places, products, and processes of steel making, as well as the importance of educating children in the STEAM discipline (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).
National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
610-384-9282 or 610.547.1848
Mary Beth Holdford