The National Construction Equipment Museum and the HCEA Archives
The HCEA operates a museum and archives for the preservation of the history of the construction, dredging and surface mining equipment industries. Historically significant machines are restored, exhibited and interpreted for the education and enjoyment of the general public. Sales and service literature, photographs, and other documentation of these industries are preserved and made available for research. It is the only museum and archives of its kind in the world!
Why are a museum and archives needed for construction and mining machinery?
At the end of its useful life, construction equipment is typically scrapped, broken down for parts, or simply abandoned to the elements. Outdated literature, films, photographs and other equipment records of manufacturers, dealers and owners are normally discarded or held privately so as to not be available to researchers or the general public.
Although there are many collections of construction, dredging and surface mining equipment and of archival records for these industries, these collections tend to be fragmented, incomplete and specialized on certain makes or types of machines, and public access is often limited.
Many public entities such as local historical societies and archives have collections that encompass construction, dredging and mining machinery and its history. But although their collections are as a rule open for public use and viewing, they usually focus solely on subjects of local interest.
While the numerous private collections are often quite broad in what they encompass, they tend to focus only on what is of interest to the collectors themselves. Further, private collections are usually, at best, accessible only under restricted conditions owing to location and the collectors’ obligations of career, family and so forth.
Until now, there has never been a central museum and archives that reaches and surpasses the scope of the private collections by encompassing the histories of the construction, surface mining and dredging industries and their associated history as a whole while making that history accessible for public viewing and education on a par with the access offered by historical societies and local museums and archives. The HCEA is honored to fulfill that need.