Berks County Heritage Center to Host Museum Day and Grist Mill Open House

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

During the day, attend RARE, the first-ever public demonstrations that will bring the Gruber Wagon Works to life! During the demos, we’ll fire up Wagon Work’s 15-horsepower Otto engine that served as the main power source for the factory and set the factory’s driveshaft system in motion. The engine and driveshaft system remained functional throughout the operation of the plant, running many machines and equipment.

Tours of Gruber Wagon Works will be offered at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Line-Shaft system demonstrations will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Otto engine demonstrations will take place at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

On Sunday September 18, return to the site from 12-4pm for an open house at Melcher’s Grist Mill. Visit 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 before the structure was moved to the Heritage Center in 1985. The mill is an example rare and complete of a multi-purpose water-powered agricultural mill.

These programs are presented by the Berks County Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information on these programs, contact Dan Roe at [email protected] or dial (610) 374-8839 ex. 201. The Berks County Heritage Center is located at 1102 Red Bridge Road, Reading PA 19605.