BETHEL — The Bethel Historical Society is preparing for an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 8, to unveil its new Mary E. Valentine Collections Wing, Executive Director Randall Bennett said.

In February 2013, the society received a $200,000 bequest from Mary E. Valentine. It was the largest gift ever from an individual. Valentine passed away in 2012.

Since July 14, 2013, the society has been using the bequest toward the construction of a new collections wing modeled after the former Robinson Wing, which was torn down years ago.

The open house will begin at 2 p.m., with brief remarks outside of the wing, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:15 p.m.

“People will then have the opportunity to walk through the wing and see what it looks like,” Bennett added.

Bennett said the society is also sponsoring a free reading by Maine author Jim Witherell at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18, at the Bethel Inn. The reading is being held at the Bethel Inn instead of the Dr. Moses Mason House to ensure that there is enough room for people who attend.


“We’ve always had a good relationship with the Bethel Inn, and they’ve been good enough to work with us for this event,” Bennett said.

Witherell will read from his new book, “Ed Muskie: Made in Maine, 1914-1960,” and will sign copies following the reading.

“I think this will be a good chance for people to revisit Edward Muskie’s earlier life. He had a big impact on the state of Maine, especially Western Maine,” Bennett said.

For more information, call the Bethel Historical Society at 824-2908.

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