Tours & Programs
During our tour season, Biddeford's textile mill doors are open once more, with access to the unique underground canals!
Tours are offered each year during the summer months and are generally guided by former mill workers, who are passionate about Pepperell and know the history of these incredible buildings.
Group tours for organizations and schools are available in the spring and fall with prior arrangement. From September to May, organizations and groups can arrange an in-person educational outreach presentation with us as well.
See below for more details and contact information on all of our options.
However you choose to experience Biddeford Mills Museum's educational programs, you will learn about the textile industry and the contributions made by local mill workers from the 1840s to 2009 and experience the grand scale of the spinning and weaving rooms, the soaring ceilings raised by stately columns, and the rushing power of the Saco River.
The 2019 Historic Tour Season is here and this year, we are pleased to present a longer season AND an extra tour every week!
Two-hour walking tours run May 15th through October 12th on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday each week.
Tours start at 10 am and finish by 12 pm. Please arrive by 9:45 am. Please note that tours will not be held during the week of July 1st due to the holiday.
Tour participants should meet in front of Portland Pie Restaurant at 40 Main Street (located near the corner of Foss & Main Streets and across from the Happy Dragon Restaurant). Follow the signs. Please see Parking.
Reservations for Historic Tours
Reservations are required. During the Historic Tour season, please call the Heart of Biddeford at (207) 284-8520, Monday - Friday from 10 am - 2 pm to arrange your tour booking. Reservations should be made prior to 2 pm on the day before the Biddeford Mills Museum Tour.
The first 25 registrants will be booked on a first come, first serve basis for any Historical Tour. Larger groups can be accommodated with at least three (3) day prior notice.
$12 Seniors (age 65)
$10 Students (under age 18)
The Historical Tours are designed for those able to climb minimal stairs. Walking shoes should be worn. For safety reasons no open toed shoes are allowed. Children under the age of five (5) are discouraged from participating. A Waiver is required to be signed for participation. An adult or guardian must sign for any minor (under 18).
Organized Small Group Tours
The Small Group Tour season will traditionally run from April to June and September to the end of October each year. During the late fall and winter seasons, lighting and temperature issues make touring the mills too challenging to undertake.
Types of eligible groups include: schools, colleges and universities, corporations, small businesses, retirement communities, historical societies, etc. Typically, there will be a minimum of 10 tour attendees required but smaller groups may be possible. Reservations are required.
Prices for organized school / small groups: $15 per adult (or $12/person for seniors; $3/person for students).
Educational Presentations & Outreach Visits
From September to May, Biddeford Mills Museum offers in-person presentations which intertwine historical fact with real life experiences. Topic choices include: The History of the Mills 1845 - 2009; The Mill Girls; The Creation of the Vellux Blanket; A Virtual Tour of the Pepperell Mills; Pepperell Mill Canal System.
Our outreach programs are designed for students in 5th-12th grade. These presentations are also available to college, university, adult education, business, historical society and other groups. We will prepare a program that suits your needs and time allowance.
These presentations are done within York County or surrounding areas. The price rate is $100 within Biddeford and $120 for travel/presentations outside of Biddeford.
If you are interested in more information or arranging a presentation and visit from our guides, please contact Dave Bishop, Board Member and Tour Guide. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (207) 468-5256.
Motorcoach Tour Information – Historic Tours
Guided tour rates for motorcoach groups (20+ people) start at $12/person and require a deposit. The Museum offers flexible arrangements and customized tour experiences from 60 to 90 minutes. Parking is available for motorcoaches.
These tours highlight various stages in the textile manufacturing process and feature a visit to an underground ‘lagoon’ where the Saco River flowed through tunnels to power the mills. Tour visitors will see how many of these spaces have been transformed since the last mill closed in 2009 and are now being adapted for current use, and see the development that is the centerpiece of a community’s revitalization.
Tour visitors will enjoy Biddeford’s historic downtown, now boasting some of Maine’s top restaurants, as well as retail shops featuring Mainemade clothing and crafts.
Biddeford/Saco Mills Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Email Jeff Cabral, Board President and Director of McArthur Public Library in Biddeford at email@example.com for more information on motorcoach tours or to request a booking.
Additional Tour Info
Historical Tours of the Pepperell Mill Campus are a two (2) hour walking tour of the buildings built as early as 1845 and the water power tunnels built in 1837. The tour includes discussions of the: