By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The first floor of the Belknap Mill will soon be undergoing changes to make it more inviting to visitors, with more open display space as well as expanded gallery offerings.
The changes are the result of a comprehensive space assessment undertaken by the mill’s board of directors and staff members in order to re-emphasize the commitment to history, art and education.
The current gift shop will be downsized to a mobile unit that can be easily moved to accommodate the events taking place at the mill, while allowing more gallery space for current and new displays.
The mill will continue to offer its Power House Museum space displaying the turbines and control panels used when the mill was operating. The Hosiery Museum has examples of the machinery used to make socks and other textiles from its inception in 1823.
Slated for demolition as part of Laconia’s Urban Renewal in the 1960s, a successful Save the Mill effort gave the Belknap Mill new life as a museum and educational tool.
Among its many offerings is a popular fourth-grade program, “My First Day of Work at the Mill,” which has students from area schools making field trips to learn what it was like to work in the mill during its heyday, with an interdisciplinary focus on geography, government, mathematics, science, social studies and economics.
The mill also participates in community events such as the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, with a Great Pumpkin Cook-Off scheduled outside in Rotary Park from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 14. A Riverside Duck Derby will take place at 4:30 p.m.
The space renovations will be commencing within the next six months, according to Operations Manager Tara Shore.
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