Heritage museum receives state grant

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AUGUSTA – Western Maine Paper and Heritage Museum has received $500 to preserve and provide better access to its historical collections from the Historical Collections Grant Program.

The program is administered by the Maine Historical Records Advisory Board, with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and Maine’s New Century Community Program.

Recent studies show that cultural resources are important in decisions to locate businesses or to choose a community in which to retire. The grants help sustain the basic infrastructure of this key element of society.

“Grants of this kind support community efforts to protect the stories of our birth, property rights, government and how we lived our lives,” said David Cheever, director of the Maine State Archives, the agency that coordinates the program.

“People need to document their birth or naturalization to obtain a passport or to get medical care; others research their property boundaries; some seek long-lost relatives or to understand the history of the old saw mill down the road. Without these precious records, most questions like this would remain unanswered,” he said.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said a recent report to the Maine Legislature indicates that many of Maine’s historical collections (photographs, paintings, natural history collections, letters) are in danger of being lost to fire, theft, mold or misuse.

“Maine has an estimated 200 million such records, many in facilities with little or no security, fire protection or environmental controls. Recent surveys show that local governments, historical societies and libraries are seeking help to preserve our heritage,” Dunlap said.

The full report, HRREPT.DOC, can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.maine.gov/pub/archives/.

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