The Chester Museum at The Mill opens for its sixth year on Saturday, May 31. Owned and operated by the Chester Historical Society since 2000, the museum is located on the historic 1850s Griswold Mill site, overlooking a waterfall and the Pattaconk Brook, just steps from the town center. The mill site was once used to produce anchors, wagon springs and augers.
Two exhibits, filling the two floors of the museum, tell the story of the life, development and growth of Chester, since it was first home to the Wagunk Indians.
New this year is the first floor exhibit, “Pastimes in Past Times: Chester at Play,” curated by Keith Dauer and Sandy Senior-Dauer. From dolls and blocks to Lotto and Erector Sets, the exhibit focuses on the ways Chester families spent their leisure time indoors, as well as outdoors with baseball games and winter sports such as sledding and skating. The exhibit includes an interactive section of toys and games for children of all ages.
On the second floor of the museum (reachable by elevator as well as stairs) is the permanent award-winning exhibit, “Streams of Change: Life & Industry along the Pattaconk,” which interprets the growth and evolution of Chester and how the town adapted over three hundred years. Of special interest this year is a piece of the 1913 trolley track unearthed from under Main Street last December and the story of how it was found.
Outside, the entrance area is being completely re-landscaped with native plantings. Two historic millstones, probably the oldest Chester artifacts, will flank the front door. These enhancements were made possible through a grant from the Community Fund of Middlesex County and are being done by Chris Lawrie of Landscape Specialties.
The Chester Museum at The Mill is open to the public for self-guided tours on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through the end of October. It is air-conditioned as well as handicapped accessible. Admission is free. More information at www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.org or Facebook.com/ChesterCTHistoricalSociety.