Rangeley Logging Museum now Maine Forestry Museum

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RANGELEY — The Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum has officially changed its name to Maine Forestry Museum.

For the past several years with a dedicated, active board and hardworking volunteers, the logging museum has broadened its geographic range across the state and country, according to a news release from the museum’s board of directors.

Its main purpose is to educate and entertain about Maine’s forest and its importance to Maine’s future. The museum represents the impact that forestry has had on lives, both past and present, and what the future holds for the forests in Maine. That is why the board recently voted to change the name.

Some recent accomplishments have resulted from expanding hours to six days per week with help from a Tuesday volunteer work crew whose ages range from the mid 50s to the mid 80s. They took on the major project of building a full-length, covered front porch entryway, complete with an Americans with Disabilities Act-approved ramp. Corrected soffits have been installed as well as gorgeous, half-log siding on two walls of the museum’s outer sides, according to the release.

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A substantial amount of money still must be raised to install new siding on the other two exterior walls. Once raised, this will ensure that the museum is watertight with no further water damage.

With the discovery of sill rot, water seepage and insect damage from warped clapboards, time was of the essence to properly preserve the museum’s structure for future generations.

President Ken Astor presented the museum with a $10,000 donation and several businesses donated materials and lumber. Volunteers made this project come to fruition.

In early fall, the museum closed one week earlier than usual. This allowed a sizable donation of insulation to be installed on the second floor up to the peak of the roof.

The second phase of this project will continue this spring when a donation of v-match pine will be delivered and installed by volunteers. At the end of this project, the museum will be fully insulated in anticipation of introducing and welcoming winter visitors to the logging industry and its history. Many ideas for special winter days at the museum are in the planning stages.

The next phase of renovations includes a 2,000-square-foot addition. It will feature a lecture area, an interactive learning area, a stone fireplace with a rustic wood mantle, a café and kitchen that will lead out to a large deck overlooking the children’s playground. The expansion will include space for forest-themed artifacts.

Funds are being sought to build a children’s forest-themed playground in the woods so visitors can enjoy views from the deck while watching the children play.

The “Renaissance Plan” includes the creation of a high-tech, interactive learning station for students throughout Maine.

A partnership between the museum and the University of Maine is being formed in which students can further enhance their studies and career opportunities, according to the release.

For more information and a schedule of 2015 events, please visit the new website, complete with gift shop, at www.MaineForestryMuseum.org or call the off-season phone number at 864-5368.

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