Hanford Mills Museum maintains a remarkable collection of over 50,000 objects housed in twelve of the fifteen historic buildings that comprise the site. An extensive photograph collection, library, and archive are also housed at the Museum.
Many of the papers, photographs and objects in the collection are original to the site, and others were collected by Mr. Kenneth Kelso, the Museum’s founder. In 1967, at the close of over 120 years as a working business, Mr. Kelso purchased the core of the site and collections and in the process immediately transitioned the site from a working rural industrial enterprise into a living museum. After being chartered as an educational corporation by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York in 1973, Hanford Mills Museum continued this legacy by actively developing its object and archival collections in order to fully document and interpret the site and its history. Objects in the collection run the gamut from fully operational woodworking and grist milling machinery to domestic artifacts, wooden tool handles, plows and harrows, and gasoline engines. The archives contain records that document over a century of Hanford and Pizza family business transactions and a photograph collection that traces in detail the development of the Mill and its community from the 1870s to the present.