Catasauqua Press

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cement museum opens May 8

Thursday, May 5, 2016 by al recker Special to The Press in Local News

Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum, Northampton, which enjoys a worldwide reputation and is the only such museum in the United States, opens its doors for the 2016 season May 8. The museum will be open at no cost to the public 1-3 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays through Sept. 25.

The museum, 1401 Laubach Ave., recognizes present and former cement mills that dotted the region, but the museum’s main focus is on the rich history of the Atlas plant, which closed in 1982, and the thousands of men and women who worked there.

In keeping the area’s cement history alive for the public to visit, Ed Pany, curator of the museum, and the museum’s trustees say the museum also is a learning laboratory for children annually. Four hundred students from the Northampton Area School District’s elementary schools will tour the museum later this month.

Foreign visitors are excited to visit the museum, Pany said, because of ties to the existing five operating cement plants in the region, ownership by companies in France, Germany, Spain, India and Italy.

A Chinese delegation recently visited the museum. They presented flags from their homeland to be hung at the museum.

A visit to the museum begins in the lobby, where the names of more than 2,300 former Atlas workers are part of the exhibit, along with cement bags and metal signage from the cement mills of past.

Inside the museum, you will see a life-size model of a white horse and hear him speak, akin to the horses cement companies used decades ago for hauling.

A huge mural painted by Roger Firestone, a former teacher with Pany at Northampton Area High School, is a museum centerpiece.

Visitors can see more than 3,000 artifacts on display, including records from the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Holland Tunnel and Panama Canal, one of the greatest world achievements.

Visitors also will be able to view the original cement plant office, laboratory, Panama beer bottle, Tru Blu beer bottle, Haff Hospital artifacts, layout by high school students of the plant and quarry, 1929 model of a Hercules Cement self-unloading cement car and more.