School Groups and Tours

Class Visits

School groups are invited to visit the Putnam History Museum for our programs about the West Point Foundry, which operated in Cold Spring from 1818 through 1911.

The foundry was a pacesetter in America’s Industrial Revolution. Best known for supplying the United States government with ordnance, including the Parrott gun, a cannon whose accuracy turned the tide of the Civil War, the foundry also produced some of the nation’s first steam engines, locomotives, and ironclad ships. During its heyday, the foundry employed between 500 and 1,500 furnace men, blacksmiths, carpenters, office and machine shop workers, and others. After operations ceased, the site fell into disuse; the foundry buildings gradually were demolished, and the forest reclaimed the site, which also became a dumping ground and victim of industrial contamination.

Our educators lead school groups on a tour of the museum and a hike through the ruins in Scenic Hudson’s adjacent West Point Foundry Preserve. Students learn about the history of the foundry through critical looking exercises at objects, paintings, and prints in the museum. Students build on this foundation during the hike, where groups will discuss the manufacturing process by analyzing natural resources and extant ruins.

Our basic pricing for a class visit is $5 per student. To arrange for a class visit, contact Rachel Ornstein at (845) 265-4010, ext. 10.

Adult Tours

Tour groups are always welcome at the Putnam History Museum. A museum docent will lead groups through the history of the West Point Foundry and the Hudson Highlands. Tours are $5 per person. Call Rachel Ornstein at 845-265-4010, ext. 10, for more information.