A TDT co-coach is up at FIRST HQ in Manchester, NH this week for the annual meeting and sent back photos of 200 Bedford Street for curious Team Duct Tape members. Although it can seem a little dichotomous that an organization so devoted to 21st century STEM learning, is headquartered in a 150 year old millhouse, upon reflection – and a little history – Amoskeag Mill No. 3 , also home to the Millyard Museum and the SEE Science Center, is actually a very apropos location.
Settled since the early 18th century, Manchester was on the cutting edge of the Industrial Revolution, home to the largest cotton mill in the world at 900 feet long by 103 feet wide, with 4,000 looms, as well as a vast production center for everything from shoes to rifles.
The Millyard Museum and science center are the public anchors for old millhouse. But other than some really cool architectural details in the old mill building, like the semi-spiral staircase and the wealth of red brick and arched windows, there’s really not much to see at FIRST HQ.
All the the most amazing stuff goes on everywhere else, in schools and communities across the country and around the world. FIRST HQ is just the node for all the great mentors, partners, directors, game developers, event planners and the many other people who do all the administrative things that make all the fun and educational things possible everywhere else.
It’s sort of a red brick Oz, except when you look behind the curtain – the magic is still there, preserved by a corporate wide dedication to the FIRST mission of inspiring youth to be science and technology leaders through exciting mentor based programs. Games will come and go, and technologies and methodologies will change and evolve over time, but it seems pretty clear that FIRST will keep churning out enduring, educational and innovative fun and excitement for a long time to come!
Can’t wait for the new season to start!