Meet the new boss

A delicious footnote to Chapter 4 of The Lowell Experiment:

15. “Capital” was originally to have its own interpretive area, in a building that once housed the agent for the Boott Cotton Mills. Agents belonged to upper management, charged with overseeing the operations of the mill, so this space would have been a very appropriate location for such an exhibit. The building, however, was also slated to be used for the offices of the park’s own managers, who, according to some of my informants, were reluctant to share their work space with the general public. As a result, labor remains more heavily interpreted than capital in Lowell NHP’s exhibits, and the agent’s house—sometimes referred to as “the castle” by park workers—remains the exclusive domain of management, just as it was in the days of the cotton mill.

And so power replicates without being interpreted, becomes a fact rather than fodder for discussion. As they say: show, don’t tell.

Even if, in quite a few important practical ways, nineteenth century mill owner ≠ park management, I’m a little surprised Stanton left this nugget buried in the footnote. Perhaps she thought the text made the point perfectly well without highlighting this particular anecdote, or that it might be needlessly prejudicial in a book already critical of certain aspects of the park’s interpretation.

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