Programs At Hanford Mills Museum

Independence Day Celebration

Celebrate an old-fashioned Fourth

tug o warJoin us for Hanford Mills Museum’s annual Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, July 4, 10 am to 5 pm. The event features old-fashioned fun, with two frog jumping contests, a fishing derby on the Mill Pond, tug o’ war, and sack races. 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.

Mill staff and volunteers will be making vanilla ice cream on a steam-powered churn, chilled with ice harvested from the Mill Pond in February. Free ice cream samples will be available while supplies last. “The ice cream is the sweet reward of last February’s successful ice harvest,” said Hanford Mills Museum executive director Liz Callahan. The ice is kept frozen in the Museum’s traditional ice house, packed with sawdust from the Mill.

Balter will be performing, featuring Peter Blue on accordions and nyckelharpa, John Potocnik on fiddle, Tom Wetmore on bass, and Marcel Smith on drums.

Food will be available to purchase from Tickled Pink BBQ and Shaver-Hill Farm. The Museum’s Rural Genius exhibit, which features three local inventors, will be on display.

Special Fun for KidsFishing derby

Children 14 and under can take part in a fishing derby on the Mill Pond from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, with prizes being awarded at 2 pm. Children should bring a fishing pole 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). There will be storytelling at the 12:30 pm frog-jumping contest.

 Unique Steam Power Demonstrations

“We are one of the few places in the country that features steam power,” explains Hanford Mills executive director Liz Callahan. “Firing up the steam boiler and operating it is demanding and labor intensive. 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.

See schedule of events


The Independence Day Celebration is included with regular Museum admission, which is free for all children 12 and under, active duty military and their families, and Museum members.


Jump, Frog, Jump

father and daughter fishing at HMM Independence Day Celebrationsteam engine