Heritage Center to host Museum Day & Grist Mill open house Sept. 17-18

The Berks County Heritage Center will celebrate the 18th annual Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day on Saturday, September 17, from 10am to 4pm with exciting demonstrations and free admission to all the Heritage Center sites, including the Gruber Wagon Works and the C. Howard Hiester Canal Museum.

During the day witness rare, first-ever public demonstrations that will bring the Gruber Wagon Works to life! During the demonstrations, staff will fire up the Wagon Work’s hit-and-miss 15 horsepower Otto Engine that served as the main power source for the factory and put into motion the factory’s line- shaft system.

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The engine and line-shaft system remained functional throughout the factory’s operation, running numerous machines and equipment.

Tours of the Gruber Wagon Works will be offered at 10am, 12, 1 and 3pm. Line-Shaft System Demonstrations will be at 11am & 2pm. Otto Engine Demonstrations will be at 12:30pm and 3pm.

On Sunday, September 18, come back to the site from 12-4pm for an open house at Melcher’s Grist Mill. Tour the relocated 1888 Grist Mill to learn about the history and function of the mill which was used by the Melcher family on their farm in Bally prior to the structure being relocated to the Heritage Center in 1985.

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The Mill represents a rare and complete example of a water-powered, multi-purpose farm mill.

These programs are presented by the Berks County Parks & Recreation Department. For more information about these programs, contact Dan Roe at DRoe@countyofberks.com or call (610) 374- 8839 ex. 201.

The Berks County Heritage Center is located at 1102 Red Bridge Road, Reading PA 19605.

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