Hagley Museum and Library is 3 mi. n. on SR 52 and .5 mi. n. on SR 141, then s. to Old Barley Mill Rd., following signs. The museum occupies 235 acres on the site of the original du Pont gunpowder mills, estate and gardens. Many restored mills show the development of water power on the Brandywine River.
The visitor center is in an old stone cotton-spinning mill that houses interactive science exhibits tracing DuPont Co. history, from explosives manufacturing to the development of chemical products that changed the world. Highlights include a reproduction of Jeff Gordon's #24 DuPont NASCAR race car and a space suit made of DuPont materials.
Eleutherian Mills, a Georgian house erected by Éleuthère Irénée du Pont in 1803, contains furnishings reflecting the tastes of five generations of du Ponts.
Exhibits and demonstrations along the river depict the evolution of the American economy and include a wooden water wheel, turbine powered roll mills, an operating steam engine and a restored 1870s machine shop. Working models in the Millwright Shop demonstrate the production of black powder.
The ruins of mills near the museum demonstrate an unusual construction style once used along the river. Three sides of the building were constructed of heavy stone topped by roofs with ridges set toward the walls opposite the river. The walls facing the river were made of wood. Consequently, the inevitable accidental explosions blew the back walls and roof sections toward the river, minimizing damage to both buildings and workers.
A restored workers' community features a one-room schoolhouse and a worker's dwelling. Also on the grounds are the first office of the DuPont Co., Lammot du Pont's workshop, a 19th-century formal French garden and a barn with 19th-century farm tools, antique horse-drawn vehicles and a 1928 DuPont Motors Co. automobile. Guided tours are available.