The mission of the Rufus Porter Museum is to increase the enjoyment, knowledge and pride of our communities by bringing to life the world and inspiring works of Rufus Porter--- a remarkable American artist and inventor.
In 1788, the Proprietors of Bridgton contracted to raise funds for a parsonage on South High Street for the first settled minister, the Reverend Nathan Church. Following his retirement in 1824, the house was moved by Augustus Perley using oxen over packed snow to the foot of Highland Lake, where it was converted to housing for mill hands at the Gibbs Mill. In 1986, with the house in jeopardy as land was being cleared for the expansion of Shorey Park, much evidence turned up of it being the front section of the Nathan Church parsonage, including a brick dated "1789" found when the chimney was taken down preparatory to moving. Donald and Mary Johnson purchased the house, and with the help of Bob Dunning and Dana Watson, moved it up Main Hill to its current site at 67 North High Street. The Johnsons operated an antiques business in the house for many years.
In September of 2004 the Johnsons sold the two-acre property to Julie & Carl Lindberg of Bridgton and Philadelphia. Their intention was to preserve the early 19th century murals in the house. They additionally wished to create a museum of local and regional folk art with a focus on Porter’s work. Julie & Carl knew that if their dream was to become a reality, local support would be necessary. A couple of open houses later, a core group of dedicated volunteers formed.
The Rufus Porter Museum opened in June 2005 on a limited basis with volunteers attending to all aspects or running the museum, including management and giving tours. The group achieved 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2006 as a cultural, educational, and historic museum. Nancy Smoak joined the museum in 2007 as the museum’s Programs Director and conceived and organized the (now annual) week-long event, Cultural Heritage Series to promote education in the traditional arts. The museum is open seasonally from June through October. In addition to the many enthusiastic docents and interns, a core staff now manages museum’s operations and expanding educational opportunities.
- Executive Director: Andrea C. Hawkes, Ph.D.
- Curator: Julie Lindberg
- Administrative Assistant: Samantha Scarf
- Judith Graham (President)
- Nelle Ely (Vice- President)
- Deb Fitts (Treasurer)
- Sally Chappell
- Jane Radcliffe
- Beth Cossey
- Virginia Eilertson
- Doug Bauer
- Greg Marston
- Linda Carter Lefko
- Thomas Johnson
- Miranda Peters
- The Lindberg Family Foundation
- The Kendal C. and Anna Ham Foundation
- Maine Humanities Infrastructure Grants
- The Quimby Family Foundation
- The Lipman Family Foundation
- The Ferguson Family Foundation
Purchase the Bridgton, Maine house containing Rufus Porter murals Build a structure for classes, workshops, lectures and exhibits on the folk arts focusing especially on those arts and sciences practices by Rufus Porter Purchase the signed and dated Rufus Porter murals known as the Westwood murals History
In September of 2004, Julie & Carl Lindberg purchased the two-acre property at 67 N. High Street in Bridgton, Maine fronting on Route 302, the major east-west highway in southern Maine. Their intention was to preserve the Rufus Porter murals in the house and create a museum of his work. Julie & Carl knew that if their dream was to become real, local support would be necessary. A couple of open houses later, a core group of dedicated volunteers was formed.
To date, the group has received 501(c)3 status from the IRS, created By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation, elected a Board of Directors, filed Incorporation papers with the state of Maine, constructed a parking lot and renovated the property, and has applied for several grants.
The museum opened in June 2005 on a limited basis with volunteer docents.