Anyone curious about American history, especially Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. students studying the Revolutionary War, should visit the Old Wye Mill in Queen Anne County and Talbot County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It’s the oldest mill in continuous operation, and on the National Register of Historic Places, showcasing the history of farming on the Eastern Shore.
The Old Wye Mill was built in 1682, and is still a working grist mill and a museum that showcases early colonial life in America. During the American Revolution, this wye grist mill ground flour for General Washington’s troops. It’s the earliest industrial site in this part of Maryland, as well as the oldest continuously operated grist mill in the United States.
In our effort to highlight all of the best museums in Maryland, we spoke with Rhonda Corder, the Office Manager and Museum Curator at the Old Wye Mill, to share what makes this museum special, why you should visit, and what you need to know before you go.
Where is the museum located?
Location: Old Wye Mill, 900 Wye Mills Road, Wye Mills, MD 21678 (Maryland’s Eastern Shore)
Is the museum accessible?
What topics does the museum cover?
How the mill originated, the evolution and history of grain, flour and mill life over the years. The Old Wye Mill museum also goes through the mechanics of the oldest continuously operating water powered mill in the United States, which also happens to be the oldest commercial structure in continuous use in the State of Maryland.
What is your museum’s claim to fame?
The mill supplied flour for George Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War.
What is your favorite exhibit or artifact in the museum?
The mill’s millstones powered by a water wheel to grind the raw material into flour.
What kinds of special exhibits and events do you host throughout the year?
Actual milling of flour for the public to witness twice a week.
Are there guided tours available?
Yes, guided tours are available by contacting the Old Wye Mill via email (via form at OldWyeMill.org). Tours cover the history of life surrounding the mill, and are offered only in English at this time. If given enough notice, we may be able to bring a translator in for specific language needs.
How much time should someone plan to spend at the museum?
You should plan about half an hour to one hour for your visit to the Old Wye Mill.
What should someone bring with them and what items are not allowed in the museum?
The building is not climate controlled, so a jacket during cool weather and water during warm weather is recommended.
Please note that pets are not allowed inside the grinding area.
Is photography allowed inside (without flash)?
Yes, we allow photography.
What should parents of young children know before visiting the museum?
We are currently working on a download that you can access prior to visiting the Old Wye Mill. There is also a hands-on demonstration of the grinding of corn to sift for corn meal.
What’s the coolest item for sale in the gift shop?
Stone ground flour, including organically grown whole wheat, buckwheat and rye, as well as grits and corn meal.
What are your normal days and hours of operation?
- Monday – Saturday: 10am- 4pm
- Sunday: 1pm- 4pm
NOTE: we are only open on weekends if volunteers are available.
Does the museum have a bag check or coat room?
Is there parking available?
Yes, and there is enough space for bus parking.
Is there an admission fee?
$2 suggested donation at the door. The Old Wye Mill accepts credit cards.