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Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor
Museums, Galleries and Archives (State-Funded Historical Museums/Archives)
Operated by the Ohio Historical Society and Youngstown State University, this museum preserves the history of the steel industry that once dominated the regional economy. The museum traces its origins back to the 1970s when local officials lobbied for the creation of a museum to the region's industrial heritage. The museum opened in 1986 after the state legislature set aside $3 million three years prior. The center's permanent exhibit is titled "By the Sweat of Their Brow: Forging the Steel Valley." As the name suggests, it not only examines the business of steel-making but the workers and the communities they made.
A top-down view into the blast furnace at the center of the museum.
A panoramic shot of one of the most lively and vibrant exhibits at the museum.
Shown is a representation of what a Steel workers washroom would have looked like. Complete with decade appropriate lockers!
Interestingly, the Sharon Steel sign is not two different signs.
Something about the paint on the sign causes the red paint to turn pitch black when a photo is taken with flash on.
We don't know why, guess you'll just have to come see it!
Shot of the iconic "Youngstown Sheet and Tube" sign. Youngstown Sheet and Tube was the premier steel company of the Mahoning Valley.
The day that Youngstown Sheet and Tube closed down the Campbell works was September 19, 1977. That down is known locally as "Black Monday", the day that 5,000 people lost their jobs.
The closing a Youngstown Sheet and Tube was just the beginning. By the mid 1980's many of the Steel mills that once lined the Mahoning river, shining bright through the night, had gone dim.
In their hayday, many of the mills in the area engaged in a practice known as "welfare capitalism". It was a union busting technique that tried to provide above and beyond for the needs of the employees.
Company sports teams were a result of welfare capitalism. Competition between the teams was important enough that sometimes, mills would recruit certain employees not to work in the mill, but to play ball!
Ultimately, union busting techniques were unsuccessful.
On display in the museum is a series of labor-union medals donated to the museum. Along with a mural depicting a labor strike.
This is a panoramic shot of the model steel Mill located in the museums basement!
Safety was something that labor unions promoted heavily.
Working in a steel mill is a highly dangerous job. Accidents were common and expected.
If someone was hurt on the job, there was no recourse for them prior to labor unions.
These are just some of the common uses for steel that found their way into daily life in the Mahoning Valley
Perhaps the most iconic and highly anticipated exhibit in the Museum in the temporary "Youngstown Kitchen" exhibit.
This panoramic shot shows a complete set on loan from the Tyler History Center.
Shown here is a small segment of one of the most popular exhibits at the museum. The scaled model train and city exhibit located adjacent to the Youngstown Kitchen!
The history of Youngstown and
the Mahoning Valley region is inextricably linked to the iron and steel
industry. In 1803, the Valley’s first blast furnace was built--the same year that Ohio became a state. Mahoning Valley would later become a leading steel producing region. Byt the 1970s, however, the steel industry in the area declined and most of the mills in the area have closed.
An effort to create a museum to preserve and share the history of the iron and steel
industry in Youngstown began in the 1980s. The building was designed by renowned architect Michael Graves and the new museum building was officially
dedicated in 1992. This museum houses permanent exhibits which preserve the
history of the iron and steel industry which dominated the Youngstown area’s
economic life in the 20th century. The permanent exhibit named “By the Sweat of Their Brow:Forging
the Steel Valley", which includes explores labor, immigration and urban history, using videos,
artifacts, photographs, and reconstructed scenes."
The Youngstown Historical Center
of Industry and Labor also offers a variety of educational programs and operates a library and archive that is open to the public.
The archive serves as a repository for local government records, manuscripts collections, and records of companies, individuals, and labor organizations related to the iron and steel
industries in North East Ohio. The center is part of the Ohio
Network of American History Research Centers.
"Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor". Road Trippers. Retrieved Feb 28, 2015 from https://roadtrippers.com/us/youngstown-oh/points-of-interest/youngstown-historical-center-of-industry-and-labor (2)" Youngstown Historical Center of Industry & Labor" Consumer Discover Ohio. Retrieved Feb 28, 2015 from http://consumer.discoverohio.com/searchdetails.aspx?detail=68560 "Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, Youngstown, OH". Diamond Tours. Retrieved from http://www.diamondtours.com/Attraction/Youngstown-Historical-Center-of-Industry-and-Labor
151 W Wood St
Youngstown, OH 44503
Museum: Wednesday – Friday: 10 - 4 p
Saturday: 12 - 4 p.m.
Archives: Wednesday: 10 - 4 p; Thursday: 10 - 7 p; Friday 10-4 p
Every third Saturday: 12 - 4 p
This location was created on 2014-09-13
Joanne A. Nelson
It was last updated on 2017-06-01
This entry has been viewed 582 times within the past year