LEWISTON — Celebrating is the theme as Museum L-A gathers to share “untold stories” of work, community, learning and economic development, with a five-station dinner and fun auction, while honoring several local people on at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23, at the Ramada Inn.

As part of “untold stories,” Dr. Bernard Lown will be honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award. “I am still inspired by Dr. Bernard Lown as we recorded his Oral History in 2012,”  Rachel Desgrosseilliers, museum executive director, said.

Lown recounts when, at 15 years old,  he became part of the “great shoe strike” while working at his uncle’s shoe shop, The Lown Shoe Co., on Minot Avenue, in Auburn.  It is then that he witnessed great injustices toward the everyday worker and decided he would fight against injustice in his life. His own witness account will be viewed that evening.

Lown, a Lewiston youth, became professor of cardiology (emeritus) at the Harvard School of Public Health; cofounded the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an organization which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985; and is senior physician emeritus of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He authored “The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine” and his most recent work, “Prescription for Survival: A Doctor’s Journey to End Nuclear Madness.” He is inventor of the cardiac defibrillator, following in the footsteps of our many inventor ancestors.

In  Lown’s own words: “Having spent part of my youth in Lewiston, establishing a museum to commemorate the lives of textile and shoe workers is a source of pride both for its importance and its uniqueness. All human beings strive for a speck of immortality. Society bestows this in multiple ways. The power of wealth imprints its name and visage on everything conceivable, from the Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Museum, Bates College, and Gillette Stadium to Pullman cars on railways, etc. Those who have toiled to build everything in sight are washed away nameless by the flood tide of history. It wasn’t David Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others, whose names are on the lips of masses, who labored and sweated over the trans-continental railroad or the Erie Canal or the Tennessee Valley Authority or who industrialized and urbanized everyday life. How can workers be respected when they are invisible?” said  Lown.

“In 1937 I witnessed the long and bloody strike of L-A shoe workers. It changed both my intellectual outlook and my values. Such an education is not offered in any of our mighty institutions of higher learning. My debt to the community is everlasting,”  Lown said.

A Maine Maker of the Year Award will be given to a manufacturer who demonstrates creativity in the development or production of their goods and the major attributes of leadership and innovation.

Angel Benefactor Awards will go to Ann Geiger and the Sisters of Charity of St. Hyacinthe to recognize their support shown to the growth and quality of Museum L-A. Geiger will be remembered posthumously for her major philanthropic support but more so for her insight and belief in the need to provide this community’s children with diverse opportunities of educational experience and exposure of which she felt Museum L-A a major link to these experiences.

A strong cheerleader always ready to offer her knowledge as an educator, she was also prepared to ask the harsh and important questions to make sure children and the community’s youth remained in the forefront of Museum L-A’s educational planning.

The Sisters of Charity of St. Hyacinthe consider the museum’s goals align with their mission of opening doors of care and opportunity for the sick, the elderly and the less fortunate. They have been instrumental in helping the museum leverage several other major commitments that allowed great momentum, including programs for nursing homes, tours for Alzheimer’s clients and mentally challenged groups.

The Fun Auction embodies the old and the new. Among the many items, is an antique rocker bought at Atherton’s furniture in 1917 and a child’s 1918 wood tri-cycle owned by a Bates Mill payroll master, but also a beautifully hand -crafted Harpswell chair by Thomas Mosher Furniture, one of today’s most noted furniture makers.

Nationally recognized auctioneer James D. Julia,  who is also a storyteller,  will auction off 20 shoe lasts that were created by various artists in the community. 

Tickets can be bought at Museum L-A or from any board member. Individual tickets are $55, sponsored tables of eight are available for $550, which includes name advertising in the evening’s program as well as a special table tent with name.

Contact Museum L-A, 35 Canal St., Lewiston, at 207-333-3881; 207-240-6429 or visit www.museumla.org.

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