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Historical Society sets schedule
BETHEL — The Bethel Historical Society’s 2013 calendar of events includes a variety of lectures, book-signings, exhibit openings and commemorative programs that are sure to enlighten and entertain.
In March (date to be announced), the Society will present its annual program honoring Women’s History Month. Past programs have included slide shows, panel discussions and interesting lectures. The program will be posted on the Society’s website (www.bethelhistorical.org) soon.
On April 13, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., the Annual History Symposium will be held in the exhibit hall of the Mason House. In conjunction with the Society's exhibit, "In the Field & On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War,” opening May 28, this year's Symposium will explore how the Civil War is taught in secondary schools, with an emphasis on methods and resources utilized. Keynote speaker will be Thomas A. Desjardin, Historian for the Maine Division of Parks & Public Lands and author of "Stand Firm, Ye Boys from Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign and These Honored Dead: How the Story of Gettysburg Shaped American Memory," among other books. Commentary will be provided by several area history teachers and questions encouraged from those in the audience.
On May 25, the Faye Taylor Art Show and St. Nevers Day Sale will take place. The Art Show, which will be open at the Mason House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature the work of students in grades one through six in S.A.D. #44. (The Art Show theme will be announced in April.) The Society's annual fundraising sale of "treasures" donated by members and friends, the St. Nevers Day sale will once again be held on the Hastings Homestead lawn (corner of Mason and Broad streets) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On May 28, a new exhibit entitled "In the Field & On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War" will open at the Robinson House. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this exhibit is the Bethel Historical Society's contribution to the Maine Civil War Trail project. Using rarely seen artifacts and images from the Society’s permanent collection, the display will explore the effects - profound and poignant - of the Civil War on the western Maine town of Bethel, once known as “the Athens of Oxford County.” Although the War years resulted in the loss of many of Bethel’s loyal sons, they also witnessed the town’s development as an important inland Maine center of commerce, industry and tourism. (Robinson House hours are Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July and August.) The exhibit will run through December 27.
The annual Hall Memorial Lecture will take place on June 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mason House. Eben Miller, History / Honors Program Coordinator at Southern Maine Community College, will present a talk entitled "Nelson Dingley, Jr.’s Daily Evening Journal: A View of the Northern Civil War Home Front, 1861-1863." Launched during the outbreak of the Civil War, in April 1861, the Lewiston Daily Evening Journal offers a unique view of the Northern home front. Published by a young Republican (future Maine governor Nelson Dingley, Jr.) the Journal demonstrates how Mainers responded to the crisis, from the swift mobilization of regimental units to widespread displays of patriotism. This lecture will draw from the Journal to explore the extent to which the experiences in Lewiston, and in Maine more generally, were emblematic of the Northern home front during the first years of the Civil War, paying special attention to soldiers’ news from the war front, expressions of Unionism, economic and cultural developments, and the evolution of emancipation as a wartime policy.
From July 2 to August 31, regular guided tours of the nine period rooms in the historic Dr. Moses Mason House will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. A small fee for nonmembers is changed. To commemorate the bicentenary of the structure, a brief program entitled "200 Years a Landmark: Celebrating the Dr. Moses Mason House” will occur at 1:30 p.m. on July 2. Begun in 1813, the house was renovated and restored by the William Bingham II Trust for Charity in 1972-73. A highlight of this event will be the unveiling of a professionally designed scale model of the Dr. Moses Mason House, Bethel Hill's oldest residence, created by BHS member James Auman of Warren, NJ and Norway.
The ever-popular Fourth of July Community Picnic will begin at 11:30 a.m. on the side lawn of the Dr. Moses Mason House (14 Broad Street). After the presentation of colors and the National Anthem, visitors can enjoy a free two-hour concert by the Portland Brass Quintet. Dr. Mason began this Fourth of July tradition in the 1850s and the Bethel Historical Society carries it on today. In case of rain, the picnic and concert will be held in the Middle Intervale Meetinghouse (1816) on Intervale Road, approximately four miles downriver from Bethel Hill village.
On Saturday, July 6, in conjunction with the Bethel Art Fair, a special exhibit entitled "Pictures Serene and Sublime: Traditional White Mountain Art Recaptured" will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mason House. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous artists captured the awe-inspiring summits and verdant glens in the White Mountain region of northern New Hampshire and western Maine. Including more than a dozen of these early landscapes, this exhibit highlights the work of Erik Koeppel and Lauren Sansaricq, nationally-recognized plein air artists who maintain studios in Jackson, NH, and who have developed a love for the expressive potentials of traditional representation. This eight-week show will feature a variety of White Mountain landscapes by these two highly acclaimed artists - most of which will be for sale! (All purchases benefit the Society.) The exhibit will run only through August 31.
On September 12, the Society’s Annual Meeting will take place at the Mason House. A 6:30 p.m. potluck supper will precede the meeting at 7:30 p.m., during which officers and trustees for 2013-2014 will be elected and the BHS Historic Preservation Award presented. Following this, Stanley R. Howe, BHS Executive Director Emeritus, will talk about his ongoing work on the biography of William Bingham 2nd - a project sponsored by the Society and supported by grants from The Betterment Fund, The William Bingham Foundation and The Bingham Trust.
A few days later, on Saturday, September 14, David B. Field, retired University of Maine professor of Forest Resources, will present a program about the Appalachian Trail in Maine - as it is today and how it came to be. Author of “Along Maine's Appalachian Trail,” he has maintained six miles of the Appalachian Trail for 54 years. He also has served as an officer of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and on the board of managers of the Appalachian Trail Conference. Following his talk, Field will be available to sign copies of his book. The free program will begin at 1:30 p.m.
On October 12, at 1 p.m., the annual “Stanley Russell Howe Lecture” will feature Dona Brown, Professor of History at University of Vermont, who will present a program on the emergence and impact of "auto tourism" during the early decades of the 20th century. Brown came to UVM in 1994 after having earned her PhD at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her first book, “Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the Nineteenth Century” (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), explored the significance of the tourist trade in creating an enduring image of New England. She has also published a number of articles on the history of tourism and regionalism, and is the editor of a collection of 19th century tourist stories (“A Tourist's New England: Travel Fiction, 1820-1920”). She teaches courses in United States cultural history, New England history, and Vermont history. Director of the Center for Research on Vermont from 2003 to 2006, she has recently completed a book about American back-to-the-land movements in the twentieth century, “Back to the Land: The Enduring Dream of Self-Sufficiency in Modern America” (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011). Most recently, she authored “The Landscape of Self-Sufficiency: New England Farms and the Back-to-the-Land Movement of the 1930s,” in “New England: A Landscape History” (MIT Press, 2011).
Finally, on December 7, the Society’s Christmas at the Mason House” event will be held from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Once again, visitors will be able to enjoy music and refreshments in the 1813 Mason House period rooms, decorated in traditional mid-nineteenth century style and illuminated by candles!
For more information on any of the Society’s 2013 programs (most of which are free), please call 824-2908 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.