Happy Birthday, Millinocket Historical Society! This spring marks the museum’s fortieth year of preserving the history of Millinocket! Much has happened in the town and at the museum in the ensuing years. The oldest paperwork indicates the museum became a reality in May of 1979. The museum has a new location (as of July 4, five years ago), the collection had grown substantially and plans are going forward to enlarge the museum’s display area, grow the collection and bring in new volunteers to assist with this endeavor.
The museum idea sprouted in 1976 as an offshoot from the country’s bicentennial celebration. The state’s Bicentennial Commission that had been formed in 1975 requested that any monies left over from the individual town’s celebration be used to create something that would commemorate the past and present and be something permanent for the future. The town had raised $15,000 and $6000 of that remained. That was how the Millinocket Historical Society and museum got its start. During the next four years, volunteers worked to find a location (old kitchen area, top floor of municipal building) and renovate that space. Many families and individuals were part of this endeavor. Thanks to town officials, that space would be home to the museum until July 2014.
Several news articles have interesting details of the museum’s origin. The original space was 22 feet x 17 feet. As work was underway, articles began to be donated. Among those first items was the original master clock system from Stearns High School, the original steam whistle from the mill and a B & A Railroad bell. These were moved (along with many, many other items from the first museum and are still on display in the current museum at 80 Central Street.
Most of the original members of the historical society are gone, but their vision continues. Stop by this summer and check out the displays and share your Millinocket stories with us! We are currently making some changes to several displays. We’ve put up different school photos and on one we are looking to identify the students (a grade one from Katahdin Avenue School). We were recently given several from the late 50’s and early 60’s). In progress is a change of photos in the museum’s sports exhibit and some changes in the military/service room.
It has been forty years since the MHS museum became a reality, and with the continued efforts of past, present and future volunteers and supporters, the museum will continue to be a focal point of our community.
***Available at the museum store………
1. “Within Katahdin’s Realm, Log Drives and Sporting Camps” by Bill Geller – $30.00 ($5.00 each SH);
2. Booklet -1903 Report on Millinocket & mill – interesting statistics – $7.00 at museum
3. “Tales of Little Italy” DVD, $15.00 ($2.50 each SH)
4. “A Little Taste of History” cookbooks – $15.00 ($5.00 each SH on mail orders);
5. “Spirits of Katahdin” DVD – $10.00 ($2.50 each SH);
6. Engraved pavers, $100.00 each, contact MHS for details and form.
*** Museum open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, noon – 3PM.
***Contact me, Curator Trudy Wyman, 723-5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For groups or appointments, contact the Millinocket Historical Society at P. O. Box 11, on the web at www.millinockethistoricalsociety.org or on Facebook.