Visitors can call ahead to reserve a guided tour of the water-powered sawmill, gristmill, and woodworking shop
East Meredith, NY – Beginning August 12, Hanford Mills Museum will be open for guided tours of its water-powered sawmill, gristmill, and woodworking shop. Tours will be offered Wednesdays through Sundays and feature demonstrations of the 1926 Fitz overshot waterwheel and water-powered machines operating just as they did a century ago. To promote social distancing, reservations are required and only one party will tour the Mill at a time. To schedule a tour, call 607/278-5744.
“We instituted a reservation system for tours to limit the number of people in the Mill at one time,” says executive director Liz Callahan. “This system also means visitors get a custom tour. Interpreters can cater to visitors’ interests even more than during a regular season tour. We are eager to welcome visitors back to Hanford Mills.”
Callahan noted that topics covered in tours range from water power and sustainability to local history and the impact of the railroad, from entrepreneurship and rural life to technology and the inner workings of the mill and its machines.
“Many people are looking for something to do close by,” said Callahan. “We’re a short drive from Oneonta or Delhi, and with the reserved tours, you and your household will have the Mill to yourself. Kids love to see the Fitz overshot waterwheel start up and see the Mill and its machines rumble to life. Touring Hanford Mills is a dynamic way to learn about simple machines, water power, and the historic role of mills in rural New York State.” Children 12 and under receive free admission.
Keep at least “half a waterwheel apart”
Social distancing as well as mask wearing will be practiced at Hanford Mills. “Since the waterwheel is 12 feet wide, we’re asking visitors to keep at least half a waterwheel apart from staff and others not in their household,” says Callahan.
While reserved tours begin August 12 for the general public, Hanford Mills is offering a special Welcome Back week for Museum Members beginning August 5. Four tours are available to reserve each day at 10 am, 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.
After the guided tour, which lasts about an hour, visitors can tour the Feed Mill and view a video on the history of Hanford Mills and the exhibit “Today’s Schedule Did Not Go According to Plan,” which recounts the decades of preservation and maintenance work done at Hanford Mills. Other historic buildings on site, including the John Hanford Farmhouse, are closed, but visitors can explore the Museum site and view the buildings from the outside. The Learning Lab, which houses hands-on activities for children, and the Museum Store are closed.
Fall events including the Dan Rion Antique Engine Jamboree & Powerfest and the Woodsmen’s Festival, are cancelled for 2020. See the website for more information, hanfordmills.org. Hanford Mills has added several online resources to its website including short videos for kids that include a mini lesson and a craft and the “Milling About at Home” series that features how the Hanford Mills community is spending its time.
While Hanford Mills Museum was closed to the public, staff have been working on several maintenance and restoration projects, including using the 1913 water-powered Hermance 4-sided moulder to make tongue and groove boards for the upcoming renovation of the second floor of the East Meredith Post Office porch, as well as other repairs around the site.
Admission and Information
All tours must be reserved in advance by calling 607/278-5744. Hanford Mills Museum is open for Member Tours beginning August 5, and for the general public beginning August 12. Tours are offered Wednesdays through Sundays as well as Labor Day and Columbus Day through October 15.
Children 12 and under receive free admission. Admission for adults and teens is $9; senior and AAA member admission is $7. First responders and members of the military receive half-price admission. Museum members and residents who live in zip codes (13757, 13739, 13786, 13750, and 13806) neighboring Hanford Mills receive free admission. Hanford Mills participates in the nationwide Museums for All program. Anyone with an EBT card receives free admission. See hanfordmills.org for additional discounts.
About Hanford Mills Museum
Hanford Mills Museum operates an authentic water- and steam-powered historic site, which includes a sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop. The mission of Hanford Mills Museum is to inspire audiences of all ages to explore connections among energy, technology, natural resources and entrepreneurship in rural communities with a focus on sustainable choices. Hanford Mills is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places.
Hanford Mills is located at 51 County Highway 12 in East Meredith, at the intersection of Delaware County Routes 10 & 12, just 10 miles from Oneonta, and 15 miles from Delhi. For more information, visit www.hanfordmills.org or call 607/278-5744.
For more information, please contact:
Liz Callahan, Executive Director, Hanford Mills Museum, 607/278-5744, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo caption: HMM staff used this water-powered 1913 Hermance moulder to create tongue and groove boards to repair a historic building on site.