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.
In 2019, we opened two new major exhibits:
- 'Driving Innovation in Maine', our community exhibit in partnership with the Maine Historical Society, is located at 40 Main Street in Biddeford in the venue space adjacent to Portland Pie. This exhibit is open to the public free of charge and can be seen 7 days a week in the summer and from Monday-Friday during the remainder of the year.
The space is seasonally used for the Saco River Farmers' Market on Saturdays and the mobile exhibit is reinstalled weekly by Monday. The exhibit focuses on five major themes:
- Mill development and textile process;
- The tapestry of community who experienced and contributed to the mills;
- Key role of technology;
- Connections between Maine industry and national markets;
- The innovations that sustained the mills for generations.
- In November 2019, we opened a new permanent space for the Biddeford Mills Museum.
- We are located at 2 Main Street, Building 18, Suite 108 in Biddeford (North Dam Mill).
- Our hours are Wednesday-Saturday 12 pm - 4 pm, excluding major holidays.
- Here you can see historic artifacts, equipment and photographs from the mills of the region and learn about the unique and patented Vellux Blanket process that kept the mills going for 40 more years in the 20th century.
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.