Nation of Inventors
Nation of Inventors celebrates the American spirit of ingenuity by taking visitors on a journey from the early years of the patent system, in the 1790s, through the “golden age” of American invention, in the late 1800s. The exhibit features more than 120 patent models from Hagley’s unique collection highlighting the diverse stories of inventors from all walks of life.
Eleutherian Mills Residence
High on a bank of the Brandywine River overlooking the original black powder mills, Eleuthère Irénée (E. I.) du Pont, founder of the DuPont Company, built his home. For almost a century the Georgian-style home and surrounding complex of buildings and gardens served as the center of family and business life. You will see it much as it was when the last family member lived there, filled with furnishings and collections of American folk art alongside treasured family pieces.
E. I. du Pont Garden
The E.I. du Pont Garden is located directly in front of the Eleutherian Mills residence. At two acres, the garden is easy to view and comfortable to walk, with a charm and character worth experiencing throughout the year. The garden is restored on its original site and reflects the period of cultivation during the life of E. I. du Pont, 1803-1834. A plan drawn by E. I. du Pont in 1804 indicates the location of more than a hundred varieties of pear, apple, peach, cherry, and plum trees in the orchard, many of which you can see in the garden today. Cherries harvested from the orchard were recently used in the production of a hard cider in collaboration with Wilmington Brew Works.
The Hagley Powder Yard
Enjoy a walk or shuttle ride to the Brandywine's most beautiful mile. Explore historic structures that housed the powder manufacturing process. See demonstrations of nineteenth-century machines, black powder explosion demonstrations, and an 1870s steam engine.
The Eleutherian Mills area also features a 19th-century barn with displays of tools, weathervanes, and vehicles. Included among the vehicles is a Conestoga wagon like the ones used by DuPont to transport black powder from the powder yards to the port of Wilmington for shipment.
Visitors can also learn about 19th Century innovation and invention in a display of patent models from Hagley’s collection—the world’s largest private collection of patent models.