Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Visiting Hanford Mills Museum: Another Slice of Rural Life

By: Kajsa Sabatke, Interpretive Projects Coordinator
Sometimes visiting other museums helps me understand even more about the place where I work. A visit to Hanford Mills Museum in nearby East Meredith brought to life in my mind the mills that the More and Lippitt families operated along with their farms, which we now talk about at The Farmers’ Museum. Both museums provide a pretty incredible look into pieces of rural life which are even more impressive when considered together. Hanford Mills Museum operates the mill built in 1846 and later owned by the family of David Josiah Hanford. You can see the waterwheel powering the equipment for the saw and grist mills, as well as woodworking tools. I was mostly interested in the earliest part of the mill’s history, since both the Lippitt and More families also operated mills to supplement their farming income. I had visited the museum before, but it was the first time I’d gone since starting to work in the More House, and I can now envision what a mill looks like much more clearly when I talk to visitors about the Mores and their occupations. Reversely, my experience at The Farmers’ Museum was greatly enriched since I could understand how the mill in East Meredith connected to the farm life I know from The Farmers’ Museum. This kind of experience isn’t just helpful for people like me who work at museums – it’s also great for visitors! Hanford Mills Museum, along with The Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum, is now part of the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) program; to learn more about the program, check out our membership page.

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