BETHEL — During May, a class of senior students at Gould Academy have been undertaking an archaeological investigation at the Bethel Historical Society as they search for evidence of Dr. Moses Mason’s “library,” a small structure that stood facing Broad Street between the Mason and Robinson houses from about 1837 through the 1860s.

The students are being instructed by Savannah Sessions, a Gould teacher who has volunteered at the society, and the dig is being supervised by Norman Buttrick, a historic archaeologist and longtime society member.

Seven “test pits” have been opened in an effort to pinpoint the structure’s exact location. The society will preserve and catalog any artifacts uncovered during the dig. The public is invited to view the project as it evolves. The next work sessions will take place on Friday, May 17, starting at 9:50 a.m., and Monday, May 20, beginning at noon.

Friends and members of the society are reminded that items in good condition are still needed for the upcoming St. Nevers Day Sale on Saturday, May 25. The event will take place on the side lawn of the Hastings Homestead at 18 Broad St. Items should be in clean, usable condition; no clothing or computers. For information call 824-2908.

On May 28, a new exhibit titled “In the Field & On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War” will open on the first floor of the O’Neil Robinson House, 10 Broad St. Among the objects on display that have not been publicly exhibited before will be a large portrait of Major Gideon Alphonso Hastings (1821-1905) and a folding camp chair used throughout the war by General Cuvier Grover (1828-1885).

Grover’s camp chair is one of the most significant Civil War artifacts in the society’s collection and was manufactured in 1861 by B. J. Harrison & Co., New York. 

Part of the “Maine Civil War Trail,” the society’s newest exhibit will remain on display through December.

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