Town's Oldest Living Resident Awarded Apple Cane
Software Grant Award
Old Orchard Beach Historical Society/Harmon Museum has been awarded a grant in the amount of $870 from the Historical Records Collections Grant Program for Cataloging Software, through the Maine State Archives. This program encourages museums and historical societies to purchase or upgrade existing software for cataloging items in their collection. (Click here to read full article.)
1907 Fire Society Welcomes Home "Ol Bertha" Pictured at right is the catalyst for the organization of the newly formed Old Orchard Beach 1907 Fire Society. It is a 1925 American LaFrance 1000gpm pumper, originally purchased for the Town of Old Orchard Beach by Chief Theodore "Teddy" Mingo, it served as a front line piece until 1960 when Chief Louis Wharff replaced it with a 1960 pumper. It is the first pumper that Retired Chief Thomas Smith drove when he was hired as a fulltime firefighter. Click here to learn more about the mission of this new non-profit group.
The 1907 Fire Society officially became a Not-for-Profit Incorporation, as of December 15, 2008. Due to the generosity of the owners of Seacoast RVs, Mike and Linda Mailhot, who advanced the necessary funds to the Society in the amount of $15,000. Because of this act of generosity Old Orchard Beach has once again gained possession of a piece of its history, the 1925 American LaFrance 1000 gpm pumper originally purchased by Chief Theodore Mingo and affectionately known as "Ol Bertha".
We are very fortunate to have acquired the truck at this time; it was going to be sold to a collector of antique vehicles from the country of Norway and shipped to that country in a container containing other antique cars and trucks.
The truck made its debut on December 7th, 2008 by participating in Old Orchard Beach's 16th annual Celebrate the Season by the Sea tree lighting and holiday celebration. It was a site to behold! Society President Arthur Guerin was the operator assisted by Society Director Charles Davis (a former Call Man for the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department).
We are looking forward to displaying our collection of artifacts and equipment in the new Museum of the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department. Although it is yet to be built, we are looking ahead to its realization. For more information about this project or to find out how to make a donation, email Arthur Guerin.
Preservation Grant: The Old Orchard Beach Historical Society received $1,200 in October 2009 for preservation of the Harmon Museum textile collection. The grant was provided by the Maine State Museum with funds from the State of Maine’s New Century Community Program.
Harmon Museum is home to the Old Orchard Beach Historical Society, whose members and volunteers are dedicated to preserving and representing the history and culture of Old Orchard Beach. The museum’s textiles provide a personal, colorful connection with the town’s past and their preservation is an immediate goal of the society. “We are very grateful that the state of Maine shared our commitment to this project,” said Evelyn Cooper, Project Manager. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase archival storage boxes and materials to re-house articles of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing specific to the Old Orchard Beach area dating from the mid-1800‘s. Evelyn Cooper and volunteer, Arlene Hanson, will survey and photograph the collection and provide for its storage in an acid-free environment. The project is scheduled for completion in 2010.
“These grants support community efforts to preserve and share the objects and facilities that preserve the stories of our people, our towns, and our families,” noted Maine State Museum Director, Joseph R. Phillips. “Without these artifacts and buildings, important pieces of our Maine heritage would be lost.”
The New Century Community Program grants, which also require one-to-one matching funds generated by grant recipients, have stimulated local citizens and organizations to creatively muster the resources necessary to accomplish their goals. “Although the grant award itself is worthy of note, recognition of local efforts to generate matching funds is also important,” Phillips noted.
For more information New Century Community Program grants, call the Cultural Resources Information Center at 207-287-7591, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or check the website, http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/cric/index.htm.
Evelyn Cooper, Project Manager, and volunteer, Arlene Hanson, were responsible for the actual cataloging and re-housing. The project generated much interest and enthusiasm and several of our volunteers offered their assistance by sewing in clothing tags, typing and writing costume descriptions, and with digital photography.
Costumes were first sorted by gender and approximate era. The focus was to preserve (a) two costumes from each decade; (b) those that pertained to specific town history (e.g., Big Band Era, beach fashion, community organizations); and (c) those known to belong to prominent town citizens. Selected items of particular interest or design were also included for future use in museum exhibits. Costumes already damaged by time and conditions were put aside for later consideration by the Museum Trustee.
Each item was given an accession number which was written with an archival pen on twill tape; the tape was then lightly basted into the costume; a brief description of the item was written; and a digital photograph taken. Cottons and linens were wrapped in buffered tissue, silks and wools in unbuffered tissue, and loosely packed in acid-free textile boxes. Melinex pockets were attached the boxes with archival tape and a label inserted identifying the contents, and the boxes were shelved. The project was completed on January 26, 2010.
In all, 217 items were re-housed: 8 vintage swimsuits, 5 complete military uniforms, and 204 articles of clothing (60 infants; 35 children’s; 17 men’s; and 92 women’s). Some unique costumes include an 1890‘s wool bathing dress; a WWI army uniform and leggings; a 1920’s flapper dress, and an elegant 1930‘s black lace evening gown that belonged to benefactress, Bhima Sturdevant.
A binder of the photos and descriptions has been made and will be on display this summer. Visitors to the museum are welcome to browse through it.
Harry Jones (above center), flanked by his mechanics, Alfred Morse and Louis Burnell, and his Stinson Detroiter SB-1, September 1927.
Old Orchard Beach Historical Society has received $540 to preserve and provide better access to its aviation collection. The Maine Historical Records Advisory Board provided the grant with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Committee.
As many have noted, the "creative economy" is an important factor in the state's economic growth. Old Orchard Beach, a resort community, relies on its creative economy to bring in tourism and support its local residents. Cultural resources like the Old Orchard Beach Historical Society, The Harmon Museum and Old Orchard Beach Public Library, these grants sustain the basic infrastructure of this key sector of our economy.
"Grants of this kind support community efforts to protect the stories of our birth, property rights, government, and how we lived our lives," noted Jim Henderson, Director the Maine State Archives. Small grants have stimulated local citizens and organizations to commit more of their own resources to these projects. "Although financial support is important, recognition of local concerns and efforts through an award also generates a substantial amount of enthusiasm," Henderson noted.
Anastasia S. Weigle, Project Archivist, wrote the grant back in September 2006 and received the good news December 2006. The former Director of Dyer Library, Anastasia was able to bring in a grant for the Dyer Library Archives back in 2005. As the project archivist, Anastasia; together with Evelyn Cooper, historian and Joyce Rorabaugh, collection coordinator; will survey, preserve, process and make available to the public the aviation collection at The Harmon Museum. This collection includes artifacts, photographs, postcards, and scrapbooks. The Harry M. Jones Collection is a large part of this. Harry M. Jones is one of Maine's great pioneers in aviation history who, in 1919, began his career as operator of an airplane hanger at Old Orchard Beach and made a number of promotional flights.