Independence Day Celebration at Hanford Mills Museum

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ice blocks used for chilling ice creamIn February, more than seven tons of ice were cut from the Mill pond at the Hanford Mills Museum Ice Harvest Festival, and then stored in the Ice House. On July 4th, that ice will be used to make ice cream on a steam-powered churn, and visitors to the Museum’s Independence Day Celebration can sample the results.

The ice is used to chill the outside of the churn, while the locally produced milk and cream is inside the churn.

The Independence Day Celebration, which runs 10 am to 4 pm on July 4, also features a fishing derby for kids, frog jumping contests, music, delicious food, and field games. Visitors also can tour the historic Mill and woodworking shop and see water- and steam-power demonstrations featuring the 1926 Fitz Overshot waterwheel, the steam boiler and steam engines. Children 12 and under, Museum members, and active duty military and their families, receive free admission.

The Hanford Mills String Band, which features Peter Blue on nyckelharpa, button accordion and percussion, John Potocnik on fiddle, Danny Birnbaum on bass, and Dave Raphelson on guitar and banjo, will perform. Tickled Pink BBQ will be selling lunch and snack items, The Farmer’s Wife will be selling pies, and Shaver-Hill Farm will sell maple products, including maple cotton candy. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic.

Children 14 and under can take part in a fishing derby on the Mill Pond from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, with prizes being awarded at 2 pm. Children can bring their own fishing poles and bait or borrow one of the poles that will be available courtesy of the Department of Environmental Conservation in Stamford. There also will be sack races, tug o’ war, and frog-jumping contests (at 12:30 and 2:30 pm, bring your own frog). The Museum’s new Learning Lab, a place for kids 8 and under to explore and create, will be open, and kids can play with mini waterwheels, Imagination Playground blocks, gears, and more.

Hanford Mills Museum is one of the few places in the country that demonstrates steam power. “The Hanfords installed a steam boiler because it provided a more consistent, reliable source of power for the machines in the Mill,” Museum executive director Liz Callahan said to the press. “Generating steam power is labor intensive and requires specific expertise. Staff and volunteers make up the ‘Steam Team,’ whose experience, training and dedication enable us to run the boiler and steam engines just as the Hanfords did a century ago.” She noted that while the Museum operates the waterwheel during tours offered every Wednesday through Sunday, steam power demonstrations occur only a few times a year. Visitors on July 4th can see both power sources.

Hanford Mills Museum operates an authentic water- and steam-powered historic site. 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. The Museum which is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places is open Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 am to 5 pm.

Children 12 and under, and Museum members receive free admission. Admission is $9 for adults and teens, $7 for seniors and AAA members, and $4.50 for retired military. Hanford Mills participates in the National Endowment for the Arts Blue Star Museum Initiative, so all active duty Military and their families receive free admission. Through the Museums for All program, anyone with an EBT card also receives free admission. East Meredith residents (13757) and nearby zipcodes also get free admission. For more information, click here or call (607) 278-5744.

Hanford Mills Museum is located at 51 County Highway 12 in East Meredith, at the intersection of Delaware County Routes 10 & 12.

Photo: Ice blocks used for chilling ice cream, courtesy Hanford Mills Museum.

2 thoughts on “Independence Day Celebration at Hanford Mills Museum

  1. Brennan

    We read your blog every day but we often wonder where in the state these places are. It would be helpful if you noted the actual NY State location of the event, not just local directions. Maybe you could highlight the county on a map at the bottom of the article. Or note, for example, “Sackets Harbor, NY, located on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario, 8 miles from Watertown NY and 70 miles north of Syracuse. Thanks!

    1. John WarrenJohn Warren

      Hi Brennan,

      We’re not paid to produce this site – we receive a minimal amount of contributions from our readers – because we care about New York History. Would you like to volunteer to add directions to all our posts? Or perhaps fund this work? Do let us know.




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