Hagley Museum

Hagley to welcome summer with Kick-off Saturday

Betsy PriceCulture, Headlines

Hagley Museum

Hagley Museum’s Saturday summer kick-off will offer history, nature, food and great views of the Brandywine River. Photo by Hagley Musuem.

Hagley Museum and Library will take advantage of Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the completed restoration of its historic powder yard, which was flooded by Hurricane Ida in 2021.

The first Hagley’s Summer Kick-off Celebration will be Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is also meant to be a panoply of the estate’s summer offerings.

The kick-off will offer a stem project for the kids, hands-on activities for every age, cannon firings, a rare look at Hagley’s greenhouse, food trucks and more.

To make the event more accessible, Hagley will make admission free for children ages 14 and under, and it’s recently joined the Blue Star Museums, which allow military families free admission all summer.

Hagley’s powder yard is the birthplace of the DuPont Corp., which started by making gunpowder on the banks of the Brandywine River. The black powder factory became the largest in the world, just down the hill from the family’s first home in the U.S., Eleutherian Mills.

“We were under historic levels of water from the Brandywine there,” said spokeswoman Laura Jury.

Hagley has restored railings in the area, rebuilt a brick patio and rebuilt the narrow gauge railway where its iconic yellow boxcar sits.

“We’re happy to be back to where we were prior to hurricane Ida and want to celebrate that with the public and partners who helped us,” Jury said.

Hagley Museum

A rare tour of Hagley’s greenhouse will be among activities during Hagley’s Summer Kick-off Celebration Saturday. Photo by Hagley Museum.

Hagley plans

This will be the first time Hagley has offered a summer kick-off, and organizers hope it will attract people who aren’t heading to the beach but still want some fun to help them slide into summer.

Some of the events, like the tour of the greenhouse that will be offered by a team from Hagley’s horticultural division, are not offered during a routine admission at Hagley.

A tour of Hagley’s impressive signature exhibit, “Nation of Inventors” in the Welcome Center and a look at “Du Ponts Down the Road,” a collection of six family vehicles including a carriage and an Indian motorcycle. Indian was a fierce competitor of Harley-Davidson when both were starting out in the early 1900s.

Some details to know:

  • The whole property open for walking and exploration, including areas typically closed to visitors.
  • Hands-on activities are in the DuPont Discovery Loft and at Hagley’s immersive 19th-century workers’ community.
  • Cannon firings, black powder programs, and water-powered machine shop demonstrations are throughout the day.
  • Special 45-minute behind-the-scenes talks about what it takes to restore and maintain 19th-century machinery  will take place at 11 a.m. and 1 pm. in the powder yard.
  • The 45-minute greenhouse tour and a walk through the E. I . du Pont heritage garden and orchard will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Tours of the house and vehicle exhibition take place all day.
  • Displays by some of Hagley’s community partners will be located around the museum grounds.
  • Food trucks offering a selection of barbecue, sandwiches, snacks, beverages and desserts for purchase will be located at the visitor center.

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Admission can be purchased upon arrival at the Hagley Visitor Center at 200 Hagley Creek Road.

In addition to the free admission for those 14 and younger, Hagley also participates in the Museums for All and ACCESS programs, which offer $2 admission for up to four people (with an EBT/SNAP valid card).

Regular admission is $20 for adults and $16 for students and seniors.  

Hagley’s unique landscape, including a variety of outdoor interactive spaces across more than 200 acres, was recently recognized as one of the Best Open Air Museums according to USA TODAY’s 10Best Contest.

Visitors should enter the Summer Kick-off Celebration through Hagley Museum’s main entrance near the visitor center. This is a rain or shine event. Additional details may be found at hagley.org/kickoff.



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