The mission of Biddeford Mills Museum is to preserve the rich heritage of the mills in honor of all who worked here; and to strengthen the community’s knowledge of mill history to reinforce a broader sense of community. We accomplish our mission through offering educational programs, tours and events. We have been working since the mills closed in 2009 to build a collection that can be utilized in a number of ways: to create exhibits that will educate the community and highlight mill history; as a research collection to assist the public in locating information on the mill’s buildings, history and employees; and to ensure the story of Biddeford’s economic and industrial revolution remains relevant and accessible to diverse audiences.
We have been working with Maine Historical Society since 2016 on the creation of a pilot exhibit which will be located at 40 Main Street in the venue space adjacent to Portland Pie. This exhibit will be complete by summer 2018 and open to the public free of charge. The exhibit is designed around five themes: mill development and textile process; how different segments of the community experienced and contributed to the mills; the role that technology played; the connections between Maine industry and national markets; and how the innovation of mill workers and managers kept the mill vibrant and competitive for generations.
At one time, the textile mills in Biddeford, Maine were considered the heart of the York County region.
Poised on the banks of the Saco River, the extensive mill district hummed with activity, weaving together the lives and livelihoods of numerous individuals. The fabric of the community was based on pride in craftsmanship, strong work ethic, and innovation in production; these values ensured the long-term success of textile manufacturing in the city.
As time passed and the tides of fortune changed, the mills and the downtown area of Biddeford suffered from shifting economic forces in the United States and abroad.
Yet beneath the visible emptiness of the mill buildings, a thread of hope ran through the memories and the stories of former mill workers; while the passion of visionary individuals resurfaced within the structures along the riverbanks.
Today, the Latin term resvrgam, embedded in the fence line of the North Dam Mill entrance, reminds visitors that the mills are ‘rising again’. The history of the people whose values established and sustained this region deserves to be documented, preserved, and shared. The Biddeford Mills Museum, through research, exhibits, programs, and events, will ensure that the rich heritage of the mills informs the generations to come.
Please click here if you would like to make a donation in Don Guillerault's memory to Biddeford Mills Museum.