DIXFIELD – Western Foothills teacher Kurt Rowley had been planning this visit all summer long since Regional School Union 10 had been awarded a Maine Community Heritage Project grant last spring. Through the renowned Maine Memory Network, students from 10 of its member towns will help create a website honoring the area’s long history. The process began in Dixfield when 13 students visited the Dixfield Historical Society’s headquarters in Dixfield, just behind Bull Rock, the fabled moose which adorns the Commons next to the historical building.
“All of our towns have fabulous collections of documents and artifacts,” said Donna Towle, a board member of the historical society and hostess of the event. “We all want to share our history and this is a good way to do it.”
The students are key to determining what gets online, according to Rowley. He has been working with them since school began this fall, helping them narrow down their areas of interest. “This is new territory for us,” Rowley said. “Never before has a school in the area worked collaboratively with a historical society on this way.
The result will be that images of valuable artifacts or people or documents will be uploaded to the Maine Memory Network sometime later this year or early 2013.
“This project makes a new direction for all involved,” said Towle. “Previously the Maine Memory Network had worked with one town or two, but we came along and there are 10 of us. There could have been more but some towns aren’t ready yet.”
Rowley’s students expressed interest in the toothpick mills of Dixfield and the ferries that once carried people across the Androscoggin River. According to Towle there are plenty of items in its files relating to both these topics and many others too
The project is funded by the Maine Historical Society and is scheduled to run until July 2013.