Mill to Museum: Celebrating 40 Years of Vision and Dedication

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A new exhibit at Hanford Mills Museum chronicles key events in the Mills’ and Museum’s history. “Mill to Museum: Celebrating 40 Years of Vision and Dedication” also tells the story of Hanford Mills transitioning from a 120-year old working mill to a museum.

“The Museum is here today because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who ran and worked at the Mill as well as the people who had the vision to transform the business into a museum,” says Museum Executive Director Liz Callahan.

Key among those responsible for preserving the Mill and its equipment and machinery is Ken Kelso, a local farmer and businessman. When the Mill was closed and its machinery and equipment put up for auction, Kelso recognized its historic value and bought many items. He bought the 1926 Fitz Overshot Waterwheel, a highlight of the Museum’s guided tour which still powers the Mill, for just $40. He later purchased the Mill property. “We are all indebted to Ken Kelso and his initiative and vision,” says Callahan.

The exhibit features historic photographs, newspaper articles and artifacts from the Museum’s collection, including pre- and post-restoration photographs, historic equipment and Kelso’s agreement to grant purchasing rights to the Museum.

“We have a special area in the exhibit where people can record their memories of Hanford Mills,” says Callahan. “People often tell us that they have a relative who worked at the Mill, heard an old story about Hanford Mills, or that they came to the Museum as a child, and now are bringing their own children to visit. Those are the type of stories we want to collect and preserve.”

The exhibit, which opened at the Museum’s Independence Day Celebration, is on view Wednesdays – Sundays, 10am – 5 pm, through October 14.

About Hanford Mills Museum

Children 12 and under, and Museum members receive free admission. Admission for adults and teens is $8.50, for seniors, $6.50. Active duty military and their families receive free admission as well. AAA and other discounts available.

Hanford Mills Museum 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 or call 607.278.5744.