Hagley Museum taps into oral history collection for ‘The Millrace’ podcast

The recently launched podcast delves into life in the Brandywine Valley during the early 20th century.

The Hagley Museum.

(Photo by Flickr user Doramon, used under a Creative Commons license)

First things first: A millrace is a channel of water that drives a mill wheel with its current, creating energy. Gunpowder mill Eleutherian Mills on the Brandywine (now part of the Hagley Museum and Library) has a famous one, and it was a high-tech wonder in its day, converting water flow into the power that ran the mill’s machinery.

The Millrace is also the name of Hagley’s new four-part historical podcast, which launched in August and has new episodes coming in September and October.

Utilizing Hagley’s huge oral history collection, The Millrace looks at life in the Brandywine Valley 100 years ago, with stories told by the people who actually lived it.

Episodes are about a half hour long, each exploring a different topic.

Episodes 1 and 2 are currently available wherever you stream podcasts (including Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify). Here’s what they include, with episode descriptions via Hagley:

Episode 1: “An Explosive Time”: In the first episode of the four-part series, listeners dive into the conflicts and disruptions of the year 1918 — from U.S. entry into World War I to the influenza epidemic — and learn how they influenced the lives of the men and women who were making the munitions for the U.S. and its allies at DuPont’s Brandywine Works, and the families and communities that depended on them.

Episode 2: “A Dangerous Job”: Who in their right mind would willingly go to work making explosives and why? For the second episode of The Millrace, listeners explore the working lives of the men and women who kept the powder yards running during and after the war.

Episodes 3 and 4, airing on Sept. 28 and Oct. 12, respectively, will focus on life during World War I.

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