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March 21, 2024

Construction updates, spring lectures and more!


Work continues on our new building as we aim for an early summer opening. Upstairs, flooring has just been completed by Suzzanah Forsythe of Creative Covering Solutions, a local Bridgton company.  The Maine oak flooring was chosen to be both beautiful and durable, and the Museum is pleased to support local talent and businesses such as CCS. Suzzanah is one of many local artisans who have made meaningful contributions toward the completion of the new facility.

On the outside, excavators have been building a level 'landing platform' to facilitate the transfer from storage of the Norton wall murals, scheduled for later this month. Once that move is completed final grading of front yard, loam and initial landscaping will commence.


Acting Director Tom Johnson will be hosting a Virtual Lecture on the discovery of the Church House murals in 1985 and the process it took to get us where we are today. Tom will be speaking in a Q & A format on Wednesday March 27th at 7 PM. The presentation is free with a suggested donation.


Noted poet Stuart Kestenbaum will present a Virtual Lecture in April for Poetry Month. Kestenbaum, the Maine Poet Laureate from 2016 to 2021, will speak with us in a program called "Poetry and the Creative Process" on Wednesday April 10th at 7 PM. Tickets are free with a suggested donation. Get your tickets using the button below.


On Wednesday, April 24th at 7:00 p.m. Polly Forcier will present a virtual lecture on Historic Stencils from 1790-1840+. Beginning with “Border Wall Stencils” from c.1790-c.1820, she will then discuss all-over wall stencils in imitation of wallpaper. She will go on to discuss the stencils used in the Rufus Porter School of Wall Stencil Murals. She will end with a brief "how to" on stenciling. 


As a teacher, artist and historical preservationist, Ms. Forcier has dedicated over four decades to promoting the historic art of wall and floor stenciling and mural painting. After she and her husband moved into a c. 1790 home she decorated many rooms with historic stencils instead of the more expensive wallpaper. Subsequently she began decorating homes for friends and relatives, and teaching with her growing stencil collection. As demand for her historic stencils grew, Ms. Forcier established her new business MB Historic Décor.

Her work has been featured in Early American Life, Country Living, Colonial Homes, Antiques Magazine, Colonial Reproduction and Design 2005, Old House Interiors, Old House Journal and others throughout the 1980s-2020s. She serves as an advisor for the Center for Painted Wall Preservation, which preserves records of original paint decorated walls. She is a recipient of the 2022 VT Craftsman of the Year Award. Ms. Forcier attributes her longevity and success to her genuine love of this art and the desire to make it available to others.

Tickets are free with a suggested donation. Reserve your attendance by using the button below.



The changes now underway in all of the museum's existing and new galleries are going to present a fundamental and engaging change for visitors in 2024 and beyond. Using state-of-the-art ideas proposed by Perch Designs of Portland, a number of interactive exhibits will take their place next to more traditional artifacts. Each and every exhibit is getting a redesign and new presentations. Have you been to the Gem and Mineral Museum in Bethel? Well, the company that did those exhibits is the company that is doing ours. We think you will be impressed!



A Song of Labor

All honor to the hard worn hands

That earth-born toil are bearing,

And honor to the sturdy bands,

That earth’s cold crusts are sharing,

By forge and field their arms they wield,

By bench and anvil toiling,

In serried strength, our country’s shield,

They keep her flag from soiling.


Wake! wake the lay, each child of song,

Your anthem’d paeans pouring,

Till echoes wake and run along,

Like ocean thunders roaring!

Till o’er our soil each son of toil

Shall list your loud hosanna,

And hero-like bid pride recoil,

And feast on reason’s manna.


The good cordwainer sits him down,

Upon his throne of leather,

And covets not the tyrant’s crown

Where clustered jewels gather:

High prizes he the soul, that free

The mind by power unbroken,

To him loud mirth and jocund glee;

Are Freedom’s language spoken.


“Ye ho! Ye ho!” the seamen should

From every crested billow,

“Ye ho! heigh ho!” each watch about,

Like music lulls his pillow;

And midst the storm his heart is warm,

The light of home is burning,

And kindly thoughts like blossoms swarm,

With genial spring returning.


 Up from the forge the sparkling blaze

Lights on the smith to glory,

The yeomen stout with morning rays,

Shake down night’s tear-drops rosy;

And solid health, with solid wealth,

Keep step with footfall steady,

Nor comes old age with creeping stealth,

But finds them ripe and ready.


Oh! all things labor that have birth,

From mote to towering mountain—

The oak that springs from out the earth—

The water in its fountain:

Each blazing star that beams afar,

Its motion ceases never,

And myriad worlds of spirits are

To good works bound forever.


Then honor to the lusty hands,

That earth-born toil are bearing,

And honor to the sturdy bands,

That earth’s cold crusts are sharing;

By forge and field their arms they wield,

By bench and anvil toiling,

In serried strength, our country’s shield,

They keep her flag from soiling.


Scientific American, vol. 2, no. 25 (March 13, 1847)


Camp Invention™ registration is open! This years theme is "Illuminate". Camp Invention 2024 promises an exhilarating journey into the world of creativity, innovation, and endless possibilities for young minds. This year's camp is set to ignite the sparks of curiosity as participants embark on a hands-on adventure filled with exciting challenges and collaborative problem-solving. INNOVATION  PERSISTENCE 


From cutting-edge STEM activities to imaginative design projects, Camp Invention 2024 aims to cultivate a passion for innovation and exploration in each camper.



It is with deep sadness that we tell you the passing of long time volunteer Pat McHatton. Pat was with us for years, since the Museums’ earliest days. Pat was one of those veteran volunteers. As such, she was a great historian for newer volunteers and visitors, and was always ready to inform others about our interesting history. Her welcoming, friendly attitude extended to all she met. It was fun to work with Pat! She was generous with her time, often filling in at the busiest days or covering for others. We are grateful for Pat’s generosity and many countless hours of service. She is truly was an unsung hero. Pat's volunteer activities were not limited to time with the Rufus Porter Museum. She engaged in a number of roles at St Joseph's Church, the Lions Club and assisted in fundraising for many worthy causes over the years. 


There will be a funeral Mass Saturday, March 23, 2024, at 11:00 am at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bridgton, ME followed by an open house at the McHatton residence at 1PM.

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