Children and their families will have a richer experience at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith thanks to a recently awarded $5,000 state mini-grant, an official said Thursday.
It will allow the museum to employ a Cooperstown-based consultant, Kathryn Boardman, to work with staff to research, create and design engaging and interactive content and activities for the museum’s Learning Lab, said museum Executive Director Liz Callahan.
The site will be located in the building where the gift shop was housed and is expected to open before fall, she said.
By enabling visitors to explore such topics as contemporary renewable power generation, sustainability, ingenuity, and problem solving, the goal is to introduce children to key STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts in “a meaningful, fun and engaging way,” Callahan said.
“We are grateful to the Museum Association of New York and the New York State Council on the Arts for this grant which will help us achieve this important goal,” she said. “We look forward to working with Katie on this project.”
Boardman, a founder and principal of the Cherry Valley Group of independent museum professionals, said the effort is part of a trend in museums and historic sites to engage their younger audiences and their families. It’s important to design activities that are suitable for both children and adults, she said.
Hanford Mills Museum operates an authentic water- and steam-powered historic site, which includes a sawmill, gristmill and woodworking shop, according to a media release.
It is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places.
The mini-grant program offers help to museums and historical societies strengthen and develop their institutions and work with their communities, according to the release. It is designed to make it easy for organizations to access professional help and improve their institutions.