The Museums of
Western Maine

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The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
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...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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Museums of western Maine filled
with cultural, industrial history

The museums of the Lakes & Mountains Region of western Maine contain some
of the most impressive collections of historical, cultural, and industrial exhibits
found in New England, with world-class artifacts pre-dating the signing of the
Declaration of Independence.

From lumberjacks to shoemakers, inventors and folk artists, western Maine's
museums tell the story of interesting people and the places where they lived,
worked, and thrived, utilizing the Yankee ingenuity that New England is famous
for. This summer or fall, visit a museum to experience three centuries of
inland-Maine life including both the rural Maine story and the emergence of
industry in the Lakes & Mountains Region.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village Museum, New Gloucester
This museum within New Gloucester's Protestant Shaker village can truly be
called a living exhibit because the Shakers here make up the last active
community in the world. Guided tours take visitors to the original 1794
meetinghouse and five other buildings where exhibits cover Shaker life, industry
and culture. The 1816 Spinhouse will display more than 100 items from the
museum's folk art collection through the 2009 season. Open Memorial Day
through Columbus Day, Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Museum L-A, Lewiston
Giant spools, loaded mill carts, contemporary artwork (hanging), and textile
machinery are part of the exhibits at Museum L-A inside the 1850s Bates Mill.
Credit: Maine Office of Tourism.From the 1850s to the 1950s the textile mills,
shoe mills and brickyards of Lewiston and neighboring Auburn (L-A) made up
the state's largest manufacturing center. Museum L-A documents the industries
and the people who made them thrive. Within the 1850s Bates Mill, the museum
displays vintage machinery, tools, shoes and quilts along with a cell phone
accessible oral history tour of mill workers from both cities. Open year-round
Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

State of Maine Building, Poland Spring
In 1893, the State of Maine Building was constructed in Chicago for the World's
Columbian Exposition. When the expo ended, the octagonal structure made of
granite and wood with four corner turrets and a roof that tapered to a central
tower was dismantled and moved by train to the Poland Spring Resort where it
was rebuilt in 1895. The building now displays photographs and artifacts from
the exposition and the resort, and has room exhibits about local history. Open
May through October, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Hamlin Memorial Library and Museum, Paris Hill
The original 1822 Oxford County Jail is now a community library and museum
displaying local history. The granite building, with bars still covering the
windows, is named in honor of Hannibal H. Hamlin who grew up next door and
was Abraham Lincoln's first Vice President. Visitors can see Lincoln-Hamlin
campaign artifacts, portraits of early residents, the 1848 Paris Friendship Quilt, a
rare hand-drawn birch bark Rangeley Lakes map made by an Abenaki Indian,
locally mined gems and minerals, diaries and other displays. Open April
through November 1 on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and
Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Wilhelm Reich Museum, Rangeley
The former home and laboratory of 20th century scientist and psychoanalyst
Wilhelm Reich, M.D. is now a museum preserving his research space and
scientific artifacts. Reich discovered a physical, biological energy in all living
matter that he called "orgone." The museum documents Reich's life and
pioneering work, and displays his inventions, scientific apparatus, and the
contents of his library and study. The 175-acre site also has a system of woodland
nature trails and a picnic area. Open in July and August, Wednesday through
Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and during the same time on Sundays in

Bethel Historical Society Regional History Center
The 1813 Dr. Moses Mason House contains original Federal-period furniture and
wall murals by regional folk artist Rufus Porter. Credit: Bethel Historical Society.
Two historic houses are the focal point of this museum in the mountain village of
Bethel. The 1821 O'Neil Robinson House offers changing exhibits, plus on-going
displays on the history of the town, Maine barns, and minerals and mining. At
the adjacent 1813 Dr. Moses Mason House, guided tours take visitors through
nine rooms containing fine original Federal-period decorative arts, furniture and
wall murals by folk artist Rufus Porter. Through May 2010 the house has an
exhibit on the history and role of the Grange in Maine. Open year-round
Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to Noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. And
from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in July and August.

Dead River Area Historical Society, Stratton
Canoeists and fishermen who enjoy the mountainous surroundings of Flagstaff
Lake take in the same view once had by the residents of Flagstaff and Dead River
Plantation. A historical society exhibit honors the two "lost" towns that were
flooded when the Dead River was dammed in the 1950s. Other artifacts on
display dating from the 1850s include a church organ, tools, china, glassware,
furniture from local homesteads and a complete schoolroom. Open in July and
August on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 207-246-2271

Maine's Paper & Heritage Museum, Livermore Falls
This new museum tells the story of paper mill communities in Maine, with an
emphasis on those in the Androscoggin River valley. Located across the street
from an operating mill, the museum currently displays 19th and early 20th
century photographs of paper mills and workers, and office and manufacturing
equipment. Planned exhibits include the evolution of papermaking techniques,
audio and video histories from living paper workers, and a train ride through
the mill yard. Call 207-592-1807 for operating hours and more information.

The Stanley Museum, Kingfield
Twin brothers and Kingfield natives Francis and Freelan Stanley are best known
for inventing the Stanley Steamer automobile. It was America's top selling car in
the late 1890s, and the museum displays three models from the early 1900s along
with engines and car history. The brothers also invented an early photographic
printing process. Visitors can see an exhibit of vintage camera equipment and the
photography of sister Chansonetta Stanley. Family paintings, portraits and
violins made by the brothers are also on display. The museum is open from June
to October on Tuesday through Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and
November to May on Tuesday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Rufus Porter Museum and Cultural Heritage Center, Bridgton
Rufus Porter was an artist and inventor who lived from 1792-1884 and spent his
childhood in the Bridgton area. Porter is best-known for his landscape murals
painted on walls of private homes throughout New England. The museum and
cultural heritage center preserves a Bridgton home containing murals painted by
Porter in 1828, and  offers classes, lectures and workshops on wood carving,
restoration arts, folk painting, traditional furniture making and fiber arts. Open
June through mid-October, Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00

To learn about more museums in the Lakes & Mountains Region and other
summer attractions,
Giant spools, loaded mill carts, contemporary artwork (hanging), and textile machinery are part of the exhibits at Museum L-A inside the 1850s Bates Mill. Credit: Maine Office of Tourism