The Lowell Sun reported yesterday on its website that the American Textile History Museum at Dutton Street in Lowell will close “temporarily” on January 1, 2016 due to “ongoing serious financial constraints.” As yet, the Museum has nothing about this on its website.
It the ATHM a casualty of Dutton Street? Undoubtedly there are other issues at play here, but the relative isolation of the museum from the rest of downtown Lowell had to have played some part. If one were to look only at a map, the site the museum occupies would seem a prime location. A quarter of a mile walk from the train station, one hundred yards from Western Avenue Studios and its 350 artists, across the street and down two blocks from Lowell National Park Visitor Center and the Quilt Museum, it sounds like a perfect location. But it isn’t. Because unless you get in your car and drive, you really can’t get to the ATHM from any of those places because the whole area is so inhospitable to walking.
For all the talk in the city about economic development, especially in the adjacent Hamilton Canal District, there seems to be no sense of urgency about improving the Dutton Street corridor. Until there is, places like the American Textile History Museum will continue to struggle.