CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY – UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

Home     Digital Photographs     Genealogy Resources     Special Collections     Search
 
THE BLUE PLATE SPECIAL: AN ECLECTIC VIEW OF 
THE LOWELL HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S COLLECTION
 
"The Blue Plate Special:  An Eclectic View of the Lowell Historical Society's Collections"

This is an exhibition of some of the more unusual materials held by the city's longest-standing private organization devoted to preserving Lowell's history.  The documents and objects reflect the broad interests of the Lowell Historical Society.   Politics, the military, business, cultural affairs, and education are but a few of the subjects covered in this exhibition.

     History is a grand story with a vast cast of characters and countless plot lines interweaving
through the centuries.  The Lowell story is 
remarkable for its reach.  Since the 1820's, Lowell has been a place whose people and events have consistently affected national and international affairs.  Still, it is the daily activity of "unexceptional" people that is often of most interest to observers years later.

     The Lowell Historical Society was established in 1902 as the corporate successor of the The Old Residents' Historical Association, founded in 1868.  The Society collects and preserves books, manuscripts, photographs, and objects of antiquarian and historical interest; encourages the study of local history; and publishes material that illustrates and preserves the history of Lowell.  The Society' s books, manuscripts, and photographs are housed at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Lowell History in the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center, a research library open to the public.

     In 1991, the Lowell Historical Society opened its own facility in the Boott Cotton Mills Museum building of the Lowell National Historical Park.  The headquarters of the Society will combine office, program, and storage space.  Exhibits in this space will feature materials from the Society's collections.   Throughout the year the Society sponsors, lectures, tours, temporary exhibits, displays, workshops, and other public programs in the city.  In addition to these and other activities, the Society offers research and technical assistance in areas ranging from genealogical inquires to the use of historical photographs.

THE BLUE PLATE SPECIAL EXHIBIT

What is a blue plate special?  At the old lunch 
counters and diners the “blue plate" was the special of the day-nothing fancy, just a meal of the best available, perhaps a combination of American chop suey, green beans, salad, roll, and red jello for dessert.  This exhibit gathers some of the more peculiar items in the Society's collections.  Selected for their oddity or rarity, the objects and documents range from the 1825 Hurd's Mill Pay Register to the 1935 bell from the last electric trolley in Lowell.

Top Of Page    Next Page