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June 6, 2012

Interview: WFSK, Fisk University

 

June 3, 2012

Gallery talk, discussion, and book signing at "The Mill Children" exhibit at the Charles River Museum, Waltham, Massachusetts

From "The Mill Children" exhibit description:

 

In late August of 1911, Lewis Wickes Hine visited the Eclipse Mill in North Adams, Massachusetts, to photograph child laborers on behalf of the National Child Labor Committee. Hine's photographs contributed to the creation of labor reform laws for American child and adult workers.

 

One hundred years later a group of artists, working in North Adams, used nine of Hine's photos for inspiration. The resulting exhibit, "The Mill Children," on display from March 22 through June 15, 2012, at the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation, offers a meaningful look at what it was like to be a child mill worker. Sponsored and created by the Brill Gallery, this exhibit features both images of the original Hine photographs, art inspired by his work, historical narratives of children photographed and interviews of the artists currently working in the Eclipse Mill.

 

What started as a fact-finding mission became a labor of love for Brill Gallery owner and curator Ralph Brill. For years visitors to his gallery, located in the Eclipse Mill in North Adam, told him stories of family members who had worked there. After doing research, it was clear, through the efforts of Lewis Hine, the mill and its children had played a major part in child labor reform movement in America. In 2010, Brill assembled team of artists, a historian, a musician, a filmmaker and educators to helped him tell the story: WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE A CHILD WORKER IN THE ECLIPSE COTTON MILL in 1911?

 

"This exhibit, although focus on the Eclipse Mill in North Adams, spotlights the conditions American children faced each day working in the mills across the country including the Boston Manufacturing Company and others here in Waltham," said Executive Director of the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation Elln Hagney. "The stories of these children are important to tell and I can think of no better place to tell the story of child labor than in our galleries."

 

"The Mill Children" is a poignant exhibits that allowing visitors to experience these mills in full view. Paintings are hung deliberately high to force visitors to look up for light and color just as the children did, din like music replicate the sound of working machines and allow the visitor hear and feel these mills as the children did. Historic artifacts and video documentaries of the artists complete the sometimes-emotional voyage that visitors take while visiting "The Mill Children."