As reported by graduate intern Kate Gilmore
|Left, American Architect and Building News/Office for Metropolitan History;
G. Paul Burnett, via The New York Times
On its exterior, 20 West 44th Street is an imposing, majestic edifice (designed by architects Lamb & Rich) on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Inside is one of New York’s best kept secrets!
|Inside the library’s reading room. Image via NYC Arts.org.|
It is home to the Mechanics’ Institute– the city’s oldest technical school. Mechanic insitutues were originally created as a place for adult continuing education, and the coursework focused on technical skills. The New York Mechanics’ Institute was founded in 1858 with the aim of providing “privately-endowed free evening instruction to respectable young men and women to improve themselves in their daily vocations.“
The Mechanics’ Institute still offers free continuing education.The Institute provides instruction in a variety of disciplines including electrical technology, facilities management, plumbing design and historic preservation. Courses are open to all, whether you’re a curious individual looking to learn a new skill or a professional hoping to enhance your repertoire of knowledge. For more information, visit their website.
FUN FACT: 20 West 44th Street is also home to John M. Mossman Lock Museum, which has one of the largest collections of bank and vault locks.