Vermont museum looks to the past to help create jobs of the future

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 5:55 PM EDT
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WINDSOR, Vt. (WCAX) - The American Precision Museum in Windsor is undergoing a major facelift, which, by design, is being used to build a much-needed workforce.

When it comes to creating the jobs of the future, the American Precision Museum first takes a look at the past.

The museum started as an armory in the mid-1800s, producing rifles, and then consumer goods. That evolution is documented in it’s current purpose.

“The museum is really about the process of going from made-by-hand to made-by-machine then how machines make more machines, leading us to today’s technologies,” said Steve Dalessio, the co-executive director.

Outreach and education are also big components of the mission. STEM kits are shipped to dozens of schools throughout the region on a regular basis.

“From that story, we are inspiring a new generation of makers, innovators and manufacturers on the backdrop of history,” Dalessio said.

“Kids can go to the museum, they can put their hands on things. They can see the difference it has made over time,” Town Manager Tom Marsh said.

And the machines, which now include 3D printers, give kids a glimpse into the future.

“They can see practical applications that can mean something for a career for them,” Marsh said.

The museum is expanding, both physically and with its educational programs. It has begun a $3 million renovation made possible through grants and private fundraising. The next phase will build out the learning center.

“The workforce problem in the United States is a crisis,” Dalessio said.

Roughly 5,000 visitors walk through the museum’s doors annually. What they learn potentially could fill a lot of jobs down the road.

“By planting those seeds early, we hope to inspire that next generation,” Dalessio said.

The next phase of the renovation is scheduled to begin in about a year. Anyone interested in contributing to the project can find more information on the museum’s website.