The Hagley Museum and Library, located in Wilmington, Delaware, unfolds the history of American industry and economy. The the starting point for the museum is the DuPont Company, one of the United States’ most respected companies. Situated along the banks of the Brandywine River on a 235-acre plot, it is the original site of the gunpowder factory founded by E. I. du Pont of the DuPont Corporation in 1802.
The museum and library is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and interpretation of America's economic and technological heritage.
The museum houses a wide array of artifacts, tools, and machinery dating back to the industrial era of the 19th century. The prime exhibits feature the DuPont Company’s 200-year-old history and its contribution to the modern world.
Almost all the major products developed and manufactured by this company are displayed here. Starting with gunpowder, the displays continue on with race cars and move on to unique materials such as Nomex, Kevlar, Dacron and nylon.
Adjoining the museum is Eleutherian Mills, which was the first home of the du Pont family in America. Built in 1803 by du Pont, it features the antiques and memorabilia of five generations of the family. The French-style garden created by du Pont, who was an avid botanist, still exists in its full splendor.
Located adjacent to the home are the First Office and the Barn. The First Office was constructed in 1837, and is the building where the DuPont Company was headquartered for more than 50 years. By visiting this building, one gets an insight into the early years of the company. The 19th-century office equipment is still kept intact for public viewing.
The Barn is also a living exhibit of the 19th-century lifestyle. It features domestic, farm, and powder yard vehicles, and agricultural tools and implements of the bygone era.
Situated near the barn is the automobile exhibit, showcasing the vintage cars manufactured by the DuPont car company. The featured cars include a 1928 Du Pont Motors Phaeton and a 1911 Detroit Electric car.
One who wishes to relive the past should visit the Hagley Powder Yard and Workers' Hill. The Powder Yard is the place where one can get a glimpse of yesteryear’s mills and storehouses. Here, the center of attraction is the waterwheel, powered purely by water.
The Workers' Hill sheds light on the social and family life of 19th-century mill workers.
The museum and library also boast a large collection of manuscripts, photographs, books, and pamphlets covering the history and evolution of American industries.
The library contains an enviable collection of papers and company records, ranging from the 18th-century merchants to the modern hi-tech firms. These records depict the impact that the businesses had on society.
The research library was founded by Pierre S. du Pont as the Longwood Library in 1953. It was later merged with the museum.
In 1985, Hagley Museum and Library was granted membership in the Independent Research Libraries Association (IRLA). The museum’s Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society offers fellowships in both graduate and postgraduate research programs.
It also arranges and sponsors conferences, lectures, and a monthly seminar. The rich collection of research materials gathered over the years can be accessed by the general public