Rangeley- In an exciting new partnership, the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc will be exhibiting a collection of artifacts on loan from the Maine State Museum when it opens for its 9th season on May 3rd. The partnership between the two museums began when State Museum Director, Bernard Fishman, came to Rangeley to narrate a presentation titled “Upta Camp”, featuring vintage 19th century stereo-views, in support of the Historical Society at Lakeside Theatre. The relationship between the two institutions has progressed ever since. “The entire staff at Maine State Museum has been very supportive and it’s an honor to work with them in any way we can”, shared Historical Society Executive Director Bill Pierce. Always in search of significant historic items of regional significance, Pierce recently came across a collection of early 20th Century artifacts from an expedition to Labrador located in New Portland. After doing some research, he then convinced the owner of their historic value and worked with the State Museum so they could successfully acquire them.  In another instance just last summer, Pierce became aware of some artifacts that were available from Forest Lodge on the Rapid River, including a vintage roll top desk belonging to the famous author Louise Dickinson Rich that was too large for the available space at the museum in Oquossoc. In the interest of seeing them preserved somehow, Pierce immediately contacted MSM and they were able to acquire them.

Since the successful start at the Lakeside Theatre event two years ago, the two museums have been working through the required steps to now exhibit items with Rangeley provenance at the Society’s Outdoor Heritage Museum. This required the Society to submit and pass an extensive American Association for State & Local History Facilities Report. It also required three inspections of the Outdoor Heritage Museum by members of the State Museum’s curatorial and conservation staff. As a result, a collection of seven artifacts not featured on display for many years at the Maine State Museum will be premiered at the Oquossoc museum when it opens its doors for its ninth season on May 3rd! Items include an exceptional beaded pouch once belonging to Maine’s first Registered Guide, Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby, as well as her rare business card and a personal letter. Also included are the original wooden display box used on the Upper Dam House front desk to sell flies tied by the legendary Carrie Stevens. Other loaned items include vintage mounts of a Canada Lynx, Otter, and a Pine Marten.

Fly Rod Crosby’s Beaded Pouch

Angela Goebel-Bain, Curator of Historical Collections at MSM had this to say, “The Maine State Museum is pleased to work with the Outdoor Heritage Museum to share some unique artifacts to better assist them in telling the story of this wonderful part of Maine. Museum director, Bill Pierce, has done a great job in developing interesting displays, and we are extremely pleased to be able to lend a collection of regionally significant pieces to their 2019 slate of exhibits. This exciting new partnership meets our shared goals of preserving and sharing Maine’s rich culture and to offer compelling stories with the people of Maine and beyond.”  

The Rangeley Lakes Historical Society is looking forward to an exciting future thanks to efforts like this unique partnership. “We are encouraged by having met the rigorous standards required to now feature loans from the Maine State Museum, that similar partnerships can now be forged with other notable institutions”, shared Society President Tony MacNaughton. For instance, in the mid-19th century local guide, Joshua G. Rich was hired by Professor Louis Agassiz of Harvard University to acquire over 100 specimens of wildlife suitable for mounting for Harvard’s Museum of Natural History. “We are hopeful that our partnership with Maine State Museum will perhaps open some doors to future opportunities to share loans of important artifacts and outdoor art from other archives like those of the Agassiz Museum of Natural History at Harvard. That would be a win-win for everyone”, added a smiling and optimistic Pierce. The Outdoor Heritage Museum is located at the corner of routes 4 & 17 in Oquossoc Village in Rangeley Maine. For more information on exhibits and upcoming events go to: www.rangeleyhistoricalsociety.org/calendar