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John H. Empson

April 18 – July 26, 2009

Empson factoryWhen the term “robber baron” is mentioned, the names of major industrialists from the 1800s come up – people like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Clay Frick. Often accused of sharp business practices, they not only built huge corporations and major fortunes, they also became prominent collectors of art.

John H. Empson, founder of the J. H. Empson cannery in Longmont, shows that the pattern of the robber baron is not confined to the big cities. He built what he billed as the “largest pea cannery in the world,” was accused of stealing a patent that played a role in his success, and ultimately sold the business and traveled the world collecting art.

The Longmont Museum’s exhibit will feature historic photographs of the cannery in operation, original cans, boxes, and bottles from the Cannery, the Empson collection of Asian art, and hands-on activities.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 7 pm
Empson workersJohn H. Empson lecture by Lee Scamehorn, Professor emeritus of History at CU-Boulder
Learn to separate myths from reality in this talk about how John H. Empson built a vegetable canning empire headquartered in Longmont.
$5, Friends members free