May 15—Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith will begin its 2021 season Saturday, May 15. The museum's popular Independence Day celebration, however, has been canceled.
According to a media release, guided tours will feature demonstrations in the water-powered sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop, which is marking its 175th anniversary in 2021.
Tours will be offered Wednesday through Sunday. Because of COVID-19, tours will be limited to one party and require advance reservation by calling 607-278-5744.
"Since we just have one party per tour, our interpreters can really spend time with visitors and cater to their interests, be it technology, sustainability, Catskills history, entrepreneurship or water power," Liz Callahan, executive director, said in the release. "And, since we're eager to safely welcome visitors to the museum, even if you call after hours and leave a message, you will be called back quickly, and we'll get your tour scheduled for you." Tours last about 1 1/2 hours and are offered at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m. Tours can also be reserved at hanfordmills.org, and a staff member will call back to confirm.
"We look forward to welcoming visitors back to Hanford Mills Museum," Callahan said. "It's a big year for Hanford Mills as we celebrate 175 years of Catskills ingenuity." She said that the first mill on the site was built by Jonathan Parris in 1846. The site then had several owners until it was purchased in 1860 by David Josiah Hanford. Hanford, and then his sons, ran the mill for 85 years, expanding the mill complex and adding new machinery, product lines and a variety of power generation methods, including waterwheels, water turbines, and a steam power plant.
Because of limitations on gatherings, the Independence Day Celebration on July 4 has been canceled.
"We are looking at what we can offer virtually and may offer features of the Independence Day Celebration later in the year," says Callahan.
She said the Dan Rion Antique Engine Jamboree on Sept. 11 and the Woodsmen's Festival on Oct. 2 will take place if state health regulations allow.
Staff and visitors must wear masks on museum grounds, the release said. "The call-ahead reservation system worked well last season, and people appreciated the safety protocols we have in place," Callahan said.
Children 12 and younger 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.
Hanford Mills is at 51 County Highway 12 in East Meredith, at the intersection of Delaware County routes 10 and 12. For more information, visit www.hanfordmills.org or call 607-278-5744.