Vassalboro Historical Society
Where Vassalboro's past and present meet.
Where Vassalboro's past and present meet.
2/2/2023: The Society received a $10,000 grant to purchase a Bookeye Scanner. This scanner will allow us to digitize all our journals, diaries, autograph books, and family histories without causing damage to the spines. We anticipate that once it is set up (it is brand new) we will get our training and start work on digitizing John D. Lang's diaries. We will also allow local historical societies and other organizations to use the scanner as well. Thanks to the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation for their generous support.
We hope to be open beginning February 6th for an early season. Those of us who volunteer have missed our Monday & Tuesday work bees. There is always something to do at the museum!
We still have 2023 calendars available for $14 (plus $2.50 if mailing is needed). Please contact us if you would like one. You may see some familiar faces or places in it.
Thanks to John, Molly, and Andy Melrose we have new lighting upstairs (still keeping our vintage lights, only retrofitted with new energy efficient lights) and downstairs is partially done. It is so much easier to see what we are working on! The new lights are better for our collection and the environment.
The Town has agreed to pay for additional insulation and look into programs that would help pay for heat pumps. If that happens, we will be able to have a climate controlled building which will decrease our heating costs and keep us cool in the summer. A very exciting possibility.
10/20/2022: Lots of things going on at the museum, but first a personal story that connects to our vital records information. According to the book of vital records that we have at the museum, 107 years ago today (10/20/1915) Margaret Ellen Cain was born to parents William and Ada Cain. What is missing from the records is that Margaret had a twin brother, Maurice Edgar Cain, my dad. His birth weight was 1 1/2 lbs and they did not expect him to live, so they didn’t record his birth. Fortunately, he survived to the age of 79. Check out your family history in our library. You never know what you might find (or find missing).
Volunteers are staying busy! Laura Jones is taking photographs of our items so we can add to our museum software Past Perfect, as well as, to Maine Memory Network. This project has been in the works for years. Thanks to Laura for keeping things going and bringing it to a professional level.
Sharon Farrington and Julianna Lyon have continued work with textiles. Sharon has added to our display, bringing up hats, doilies, and other items she has found in our climate controlled textile room. Dawn Cates has been going through Oak Grove-Coburn yearbooks. We are narrowing down the number we keep. If you are interested, extras will be available for a donation. Call us to find out if we have one you are looking for. Of course we are keeping three for our archives. Other regular volunteers at the museum include Simone Antworth, Russell Smith, David Theriault.
We have nearly 600 Facebook group members. Wouldn’t it be great if they became paying members. Our memberships are: Over age 65 -$8 per year; Under age 65-$12 per year; Family-$25 per year; Business-$100 per year; and Lifetime-$150 one time. Please consider joining to help us cover the costs of keeping the museum active.
June 15, 2022: In addition to our new display, we continue to work on making the museum as organized as possible.
Juliana Lyon is back volunteering and handles our accession inn like she has been doing it for the last 30 years or so (which she has). We are so fortunate to have her continued support.
Ben Gidney, Stewart Carson, and Jeremy Cloutier have been doing the more physical labor. Ben donated and installed a picture hanger system which allows us to use the upper part of our office walls to hang portraits. Ben and Jeremy added spacers and curtain rods to our closets. This enables us to protect our clothing collection without having the curtains touching the fabric. Stewart has put together half of our new shelving units, which will give us more room for our 3D items. We will empty our older shelves to clean and to space items out for better air flow.
Volunteers Dawn Cates, Simone Antworth, Judy Goodrich, and new volunteers Steve and Sharon (Hopkins) Farrington have all worked hard to get the museum ready for our summer season. Russell Smith continues to handle any research requests that come in. The library is definitely his domain! David Theriault has taken over responsibility for draining the furnace /boiler. David also takes care of our clocks and victrolas.
We are happy to welcome John Melrose to the board as our treasurer. He’ has several years of experience including serving on various budget committees for our town.
Several of our group traveled to Litchfield for the Central Maine Heritage Council, a group of local historical societies which meets every six months, rotating locations. We are so fortunate in Vassalboro to have the buildings that we have!
Like everyone, heating expenses hit us hard this year and over half of our budget went to it, even though we are rarely open in the winter and our thermostat remained set on 50. We will be doing some fundraisers to help defray the cost.
If you are looking for something to do and our open flag is out, please do stop by. We’d love to chat about any and all things Vassalboro.
The Society had Lynne Bassett, the Textile Conservator back for a second visit. She helped us identify our children’s and men’s clothing. She also instructed our volunteers on how to display dresses using our dress forms, batting, file folders, muslin, straight pins, and tulle. An impressive process and our volunteer Judy Goodrich did a great job !
Our display also shows jewelry, purses, shoes, men’s articles, children’s clothing, quilts, hooked rugs, samplers, and more!
Stop by for a visit!
The Textile Conservation Priorities Project is underway. Textile Conservation Specialist, Lynne Bassett spent two full days at the museum assessing, identifying fabrics, determining the age, and teaching our volunteers. A few volunteers learned four conservation stitches which will enable us to correctly repair damaged items. We pulled items from their acid free boxes and Lynne identified which should remain boxed and which should be hung. The articles that are hung were separated by age, making it easier to find the right item for any displays that we create.
Lynne also recommended that we find more hanging space so our fur storage can be separated from our clothing collection. She was impressed with the scope of our collection and was very pleased to see several dresses from the 1800s.
Later in the month, Lynne will return for two more days. In the meantime we will be collecting flat, wooden hangers which we will wrap in batting and cover in muslin. We will be emptying more boxes to ensure that she sees the majority of our collection.
What a great opportunity we were given through a grant from the Oak Grove School Foundation. Thank you to the Foundation and to our volunteers: Judy Goodrich; Dawn Cates; Maurine Macomber; David Theriault; Terry Curtis; and Holly Widener.
The Vassalboro Historical Society is pleased to present honorary ownership of the Boston Post cane to Mrs T. Lois Bulger. The tradition of the cane began in 1909, when the Boston Post distributed 431 of the canes to towns throughout New England with instructions that each should be presented to the oldest living citizen of the town.
The cane is made from Gabon ebony from the Congo. Each cane took approximately one year to make. The cane’s head is finished with a 14-carat gold top and is elaborately sculpted. Vassalboro’s cane was missing for many years, until purchased in 1988 from an antique dealer in California and given to the Historical Society by Betty Taylor, one of the Society’s founders. The honorary ownership of the cane was given to Louise Charlotte Seehagen Eastman in September, 2016. Mrs. Eastman passed away at 101 years of age in January, 2020.
Our new recipient, Thelma Lois Wood was born on April 24,1922, to parents Eva and Norman Wood in Oakland, Maine. Always known as Lois, she attended Oakland schools, where she met her future husband, Harold Bulger. She continued her education and completed a Special Secretarial Course at Thomas Business College. Harold and Lois were married on December 24, 1940 in Oakland.
Mr. and Mrs. Bulger moved to Vassalboro where they raised their four children, Mayella, Gregory, Linda, and Elizabeth. They also opened their own business, and ran Pine Tree Stables, Home of Fine Horses for 30 years. In 1982 the Bulgers opened Pine Tree Stables Antiques and Collectibles. Mrs. Bulger continues to run the antique business which now includes Ebay sales. Mrs. Bulger also worked for the Adjudication Division of the Veteran’s Administration at Togus as a Claims Examiner for 34 years.
Mrs. Bulger was a member of Adams Memorial Church until it closed. She taught Sunday School and was a member of the Womens’ Fellowship. She loves reading mysteries, gardening, and quilting. Her family has grown and she is the proud Grammie to ten grandchildren, thirteen Great grandchildren, and Great-Great Grammie to four.
Mrs. Bulger received a walking stick carved by Raymond Breton of Vassalboro and a certificate in recognition of her status as Vassalboro’s Oldest Resident.
T. Lois Bulger
Founded in 1963, the Vassalboro Historical Society’s purpose has been to:
“…bring together people interested in history, particularly the history of the Town of Vassalboro…”
“…discover, collect, preserve and make available to the public any material…which may…establish or illustrate the history of that area…”
“…disseminate historical information and…arouse interest in such matters…”
“…co-operate with other historical societies in preserving and making available material of any sort, particularly things of more than local interest.”
The Society is a volunteer run, member based organization . We rely on our members, directors, and officers to handle day to day tasks as well as to be on hand for programs (set-up, clean-up, & refreshments), display set-up and change, fundraising, membership, etc. With reasonable membership costs, we hope that we can bring the Vassalboro Community together while preserving its past.
Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you.
Dec. 24 I got today for Christmas: 1 a white leather wallet, 2 a handpainted pink celluloid picture frame, 3 a fancy hairpin with a silver plaited butterfly on top, 4 a calendar for 1894, 5 a match holder, 6 an apron, 7 a handkerchief, 8 a writing desk with paper & envelopes, & 9 a red silk necktie.