The Power of the Mill River

Eli Whitney Museum

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Ages 9-12
9 am- 3pm

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Rivers are a powerful force. Their currents draw in people and animals alike. Along their banks, people have formed settlements; settlements have grown to cities, and cities have become empires. Before it was New Haven there was a Quinnipiac settlement. Why was the site chosen by the Quinnipiac and later colonists? Follow the rivers.

The New Haven Colony was settled in 1638 between three rivers: The West, Mill, and Quinnipiac. To help feed the growing population a grist mill was built in 1640 in the shadow of East Rock - along the banks of what would be called the Mill River. By 1780 the Mill River had eight mills along its banks. It was the Mill River that brought Eli Whitney to the site where our museum now stands as he envisioned the current powering the arms factory he built in 1798.

Join us as we construct our own mills to learn the secrets of their operation and marvel at their ability to work cleanly and not dirty the surrounding environment. As powerful as rivers are they sometimes need to be crossed. Build a bridge or two and get to the other side. Lastly, recognize the legacy of the Eansketambawg (“Original People”) and carve a dugout canoe, the traditional mode of transportation used by the Quinnipiac people of the Long Water Land that we inhabit today.

Fee: $70

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