LEWISTON – A community effort has made it possible for Museum L-A to save a large collection of historically important items from the junkyard.

Dozens of volunteers worked recently to move and store pieces of textile machinery, documents and artifacts from areas of Bates Mill 5 that are being cleared by the city of Lewiston to prepare the building for development.

Cote Crane dismantled and repositioned large looms, creels, fringes and warpers, formerly operated by Bates of Maine, that have been earmarked as part of Museum L-A’s growing exhibit on the history of local industry and labor.

“This equipment is not something that just anyone can pick up and move” said Rachel Desgrosseilliers, museum executive director. “Without Cote’s expert help, much of this could have been lost to future generations.”

The Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club, working with Edward Little High School students belonging to Rotary’s student affiliate, the Interact Club, helped moved and secure documents, artifacts and smaller pieces of equipment.

The Rotary Club has designated Museum L-A as its Centennial Project and has donated not only money but hundreds of hours of volunteer labor. Several interested residents and former mill workers joined in the effort.

“The work that these volunteers are doing and the many hours they are spending in helping us save the history of our community is invaluable,” said Desgrosseiliers.

There is a continuing need for volunteers to perform a variety of tasks for Museum L-A, including receptionists and guides to extend the hours the museum can remain open to the public.

Anyone interested in serving as a volunteer or sending donations should contact Desgrosseilliers at 240-6429 or write to Museum L-A, 35 Canal St., Box A7, Lewiston, ME 04240.

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