The First Arsenal of Democracy: “High-Tech” in the Connecticut Valley, 1795-1900

September 8, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Long before FDR called America “the Arsenal of Democracy,” gunmakers of the Connecticut River Valley were figuring out how to produce rifles and pistols in large quantities, using complex new machinery. The “high-tech” workers of their day, these innovators developed the methods and tools that would ultimately lead to American military might, as well as to mass-production and the consumer culture that we know today. In this illustrated lecture, historian and museum curator Carrie Brown explores the role of the Connecticut Valley, with an emphasis on Vermont, in developing technology that changed American life.

Carrie Brown earned a PhD from the University of Virginia, specializing in the connections between American literature and folklore. She soon shifted her interest to the broader field of American Studies—working on a wide range of topics, from the history of aviation, to the rich culture of New England towns, to the work of men, women, and children in American factories. She has been a museum curator and exhibit developer for more than 25 years, and she is the author of books, magazine articles, and exhibition catalogues.

This is a Vermont Humanities Council (VHC) program hosted by BMAC. Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the VHC. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or the VHC.