Museums of the Bethel Historical Society

MBHS History


Society founded at a meeting held in the Bethel Public Library


Death of Society founder Eva M. Bean, author of 1959 work East Bethel Road


Bethel Historical Society Incorporated


Dr. Moses Mason House entered on the National Register of Historic Places


Dr. Moses Mason House restored by the William Bingham 2nd Trust for Charity


Dr. Moses Mason House given to the Society, dedicated, furnished and opened to the public

Publication of the booklet Dr. Moses Mason and his House

Special Edition of the Bethel Citizen published in honor of the dedication of the Dr. Moses Mason House and the bicentenary of the settlement of Bethel


First annual Heritage Day held

Family Farm exhibit and booklet published with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities

Microfilming of old newspapers project begun with the support of the Maine State Commission on the Arts and Humanities

Eva Bean Research Room constructed at Mason House with funds from the William Bingham 2nd Trust for Charity

Society awarded Certificate of Commendation by the American Association for State and Local History for an effective program of preservation, publications, and education


Society sponsors Old Fashion Fourth in honor of nation’s bicentennial observance

Society quarterly newsletter,The Bethel Courier, founded

Society hosts Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums annual meeting

Eva Bean Research Room dedicated during tenth anniversary festivities

Historical marker system initiated; first one placed at Bartlett Cemetery

Annual professional audit system established

Made in Bethel booklet published


Society offers courses in history, genealogy, and crafts

Society hosts volunteer workshop sponsored by the American Association of Museums

First Dr. Moses Mason Award given for best student historical essay

Broad Street Historic District named to the National Register

Bethel’s Broad Street booklet published


Constitution revised to add trustees and define other positions

Broad Street Historic District dedicated by Senator Edmund S. Muskie

Society receives news of endowment of $250,000 from William Bingham 2nd Trust for Charity to be received over the next five years


Society Cookbook published

Annual endowment campaign begun

Historical Society calendar available for the first time


Society sponsors Oxford County Historic Resource Survey with grant from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission

First Sudbury Canada Days held

A. D. Shattuck’s painting, “Sunset at Bethel,” on exhibit, loaned by Vassar College

Society Director attends Seminar for Historical Administration at Colonial Williamsburg

Society membership reaches 400

Faye Taylor Memorial Art Show established

Dr. Moses Mason Birthday party held for first time

Philbrook summer house moved from lower Main Street to Society grounds


Film series held with the support of the Maine Humanities Council

Indian Raid ’81 Bicentennial and Indian Raid Special Edition of The Bethel Courier published

New editions of Molly Ockett and Dr. Moses Mason and His House booklets published

Reprinting of Lapham’s 1891 History of Bethel, Maine by the Society and the New England History Press

Summer house stationery offered


Gift of Twitchell folk art portraits to the Society

Adoption of personnel, accession and deaccession policies

Museum Assessment Program grant

Gift of R. P. Tolman’s portrait of Dr. Moses Mason


Society loans Chester Harding portrait of Dr. Mason and other artifacts to the “Maine at Statehood” exhibit at Bowdoin College, Colby College, and other locations throughout the State

Society membership passes 500


Grass Roots history course offered to Telstar High School students

1880 Atlas of Oxford County maps of Bethel reprinted

Adams Chronicles film series

Exhibits: Twitchell Portraits; Martha Fifield Wilkins


Publication of Thomas C. Hubka’s book, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn: The Connected Farm Buildings of New England, which includes several Bethel Historical Society photographs

Museum Assessment Grant II awarded

Publication of Chester Harding catalog by the National Portrait Gallery containing photographs of the Mason portraits

Exhibits: Maine at Statehood; A Good Stand of Buildings; Early Peoples of Northern Maine; William Rogers Chapman, 1855-1935

Conference on Rural Reform hosted by the Society

Society membership tops 600


Publication of a new and expanded edition of Eva Bean’s 1959 book,East Bethel Road

Long-Range Planning Committee formed

Railroad stationery offered for first time

Revised Society brochure published

Second reprinting of Lapham’s 1891 History of Bethel, Maine

Eight honorary members added to Society rolls


Bequest received to establish Austin F. Twitchell Fund to benefit collections

Marjorie MacArthur Noll Volunteer Service Award established; Floribel Haines is first recipient

Publication by the Society of Oxford County, Maine: A Guide to Its Historic Architecture by Society curator Randall H. Bennett

Society sponsors oral history workshop with Northeast Folklore Archives of the University of Maine

Society receives Harry W. Rowe Award from Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums for an outstanding contribution to state and local history

Society receives a Preservation Award from the Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Society membership now over 700


Microfilm of fifty years of the Norway Advertiser-Democrat added to Society collections

Maine Old Cemetery Association records (microfilm) added to Society collections

Sudie Vachon receives Marjorie MacArthur Noll Volunteer Service Award

Society membership tops 800


Microfilm cabinet donated to the Society in honor of E. Louise Lincoln by her family

Seven honorary members added to Society rolls

Society sponsors Norumbega project with the Bethel Library

Barbara Herrick Brown receives Marjorie MacArthur Noll Volunteer Service Award

Society publishes Bethel, Maine, Cemeteries book


Persis Post receives Marjorie MacArthur Noll Volunteer Service Award

Grant received from William Bingham 2nd Trust for Charity and the Bingham Betterment Fund to prepare a pictorial history of Bethel as part of Maine Street '90


Society membership over 900

Constitution and By-Laws revised

Updated edition of Molly Ockett booklet published

Helen Morton receives Marjorie MacArthur Noll Volunteer Service Award

Publication of Randall H. Bennett’s Bethel, Maine: An Illustrated History


First Hall Memorial Lecture held featuring Sarah McMahon of Bowdoin College

Margaret Herrick Oakes Book Fund established with $1,000 bequest from her estate

Friends and relatives of Agnes H. Haines establish fund in her memory to purchase local history and genealogical books and related resources

Society commended by the American Association for State and Local History for an outstanding record of publication in local and regional history

Elizabeth Mason Carter receives Noll Volunteer Service Award


Kilgore family reunion held at the Dr. Moses Mason House

Society receives challenge grant from the Bingham Betterment Fund to publish a book on the history of the Richardson Lakes region

Society membership exceeds 1000

Annual Fund Campaign established by Board of Trustees

Society sponsors Preservation Award for first time, recognizing the restoration of the Civil War soldier’s monument fence and the Middle Intervale Meetinghouse

First Fourth of July brass band concert and community picnic held on the grounds of the Dr. Moses Mason House

Rosalind Rowe Chapman receives Noll Volunteer Service Award

New walking and driving tour brochures published


Three honorary members added to the Society rolls by the Board of Trustees: Olive Anderson, Rosalind Chapman, and Rodney Howe

Margaret Joy Tibbetts receives Marjorie MacArthur Noll Volunteer Service Award

Society trustees approve the concept of another museum building on the grounds of the Dr. Moses Mason House for exhibition, research, and storage of collections


Society publishes major history of the Rangeley Lakes region, The Richardson Lakes: Jewels in the Rangeley Chain, by Herbert Shirrefs

Society celebrates centenary of founder Eva M. Bean

Exhibit, China: Exploring the Interior, 1903-04

30th Annual Meeting held

Noll Award for Volunteer Service to Rodney & Geraldine Howe


Gift of scale model of Bethel’s Grand Trunk Railroad Station from Jim and Linda Auman

Bethel Bicentennial program and exhibits

Noll Award for Volunteer Service to Donald & Arlene Brown

Preservation Award to Scott Oldakowski, Pat Thurston, and Bethel Rotary


Grant from Exxon for purchase of computer hardware for Society office

Bequest from estate of Olive A. Head to establish Paul and Olive Head Educational Fund

Preservation Award presented to John and Janet Todd

Launching of $900,000 Capital Campaign for additional museum facilities

Society hosts American Association for State and Local History regional workshop

Exhibit: Good Things Come in Small Packages

Noll Volunteer Service Award to Richard and Jane Hosterman


Grant from Exxon for video equipment

Exhibits: The Mount Zircon Moon Tide Spring; The Way Life Should Be: Tourism, Romance, and Reality in Early Modern Maine

Bethel Historical Society web site launched

Preservation Award presented to the Alpine House (Thomas and Rebecca Zicarelli)

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Edna York


Official opening of the O’Neil Robinson House as a Society museum property (June 3rd)

Lecture series on Maine historians sponsored by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council

Exhibits: From Mansion to Museum: The Robinson House Story; John Francis Sprague: Disseminating Maine History in the Early Twentieth Century

Exxon grant for exhibit display case

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Willard and Sylvia Wight

Preservation Awards to Elmvale Cemetery (Waterford), Naimey Block (Carl Glidden, owner), and Bethel Inn

Capital Campaign raises over $350,000 from over 200 donors

Jim Mann of Mountain Mann Jewelers, Bethel, donates Western Maine Heritage Necklace as a Capital Campaign fundraising item


Capital Campaign fund-raising total nears $500,000 Robinson House mortgage paid

Concept plan for renovating the Robinson House as a museum facility approved by Board of Trustees

Scenery of the White Mountains exhibit


Bethel: A Historic Town exhibit

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Ranald and Sarah Stevens

Preservation Awards to Bethel Opera House, Hall House (George and Danna Nickerson), and Whitman Library

Dr. Moses Mason House is listed as an Editors’ Pick in the 2000 Yankee Magazine’s Travel Guide to New England


Reading and discussion course in Maine History

Special commemoration of 150th anniversary of the arrival of railroad service to Bethel (March 10) at historic Potato John Barn, Railroad Street

Exhibit and gallery talk by Pat Stewart, Light Years Ago: The Art and Science of the Kerosene Lamp

Exhibits: A Sampling of Winter Recreation in the Bethel Area; All Aboard! 150 Years of Railroading from the Atlantic to the St. Lawrence

Sunday River Valley House Tour & Luncheon

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Mary C. Keniston

Preservation Awards to Scott and Jenna Smith (Wiley Block), and Bethel Methodist Church

2002 Capital Campaign fund-raising total nears $600,000

Exhibits: Plants and Animals in Peril: Maine’s Endangered Species; Signs of the Times

Five-session Spring course in White Mountain history

Restoration of Sunday River snowroller completed

Hall Lecture by Joseph A. Conforti, From Yankee Doodle to Yankee Go Home: The Odyssey of a Regional Character

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Margaret Davis


Capital Campaign fund-raising total nears $630,000

Winter course: Four Centuries of New England History

Exhibit: Stepping Toward Middle Ground for Maine’s Woods

Hall Lecture by Allan R. Whitmore, Ph.D., Ellsworth’s George Washington Madox (1821-1882) and This Down-East Democrat’s Surprising Linkage of Know-Nothing Nativism to Radical Feminism and Marxism

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Mary E. Valentine

Fall course, Wood and Woods: Logging and Landscape in Northern New England


Capital Campaign fund-raising total nears $670,000

Spring course: Four Centuries of Canada and Northern New England History

Exhibits: Molly Ockett and Her World; The Martin Collection of Maine Minerals

Hall Lecture by Elizabeth De Wolfe, Fighting Pious Frauds and Base Deceptions: Anti-Shakerism in New England

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Avery Angevine

Fall course: Indian New England


Spring course on Maine Agriculture

Recreation of 1850s Antiquarian Supper

Special lectures honoring Oxford County’s 200th Anniversary

Exhibit: Newry at 200: A Bicentennial Glimpse

Hall Lecture by Bunny McBride: Molly Ockett and other Wabanaki Women Healers

Smithsonian Exhibit: Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon

Fall Barn Tour and Lecture Series in Conjunction with Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Mabel A. & Alden T. Kennett


Spring course: Maine and the Civil War

Special events honoring the 40th anniversary of the Society’s founding in 1966

Exhibits: The Bethel Historical Society: Our First 40 Years; Cohen, Congress, and Controversy: Rediscovering Civics in the Archives (co-hosted with the Gilead Historical Society)

House Tour of nine Bethel homes

Yankee Brass Band Concert

Hall Lecture by David H. Watters, New England’s Legacy: Memory and Identity in an American Region

Fall course: Antiques and Collectibles

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Judy & Colwyn Haskell


Spring course in genealogical methods and sources

Exhibits: A River’s Journey: The Story of the Androscoggin; Documenting the Native American Experience: Selections from the Charles Huntoon Collection; Among Our White Mountain Souvenirs

Hall Lecture by Vandall King on the history of the Bumpus Mine in Albany, Maine

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Adaline Clough

Fall tour of historic barns in and near Bethel in conjunction with Chamber of Commerce’s Harvest Fest

Valuation Day with antiques authority Jay Boschetti

Society completes MAP Governance Assessment program sponsored by the American Association of Museums


Spring course: Topics in New England History

Exhibit, To Improve the Farmer’s Lot: The Grange in Maine

Hall Lecture by Donna Cassidy of USM on Marsden Hartley

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Rachel & Blake MacKay

Winfield Scott Ripley Brass Band Festival

Historic Preservation Award presented to Bruce & Heidi Perry for adaptive re-use of early 19th c. English barn

Development Committee formed and Director of Development hired

First issue of The Broad Street Herald(new BHS newsletter) published

Fall Conference on the History of the Grange in Maine


Spring seminars: Prominent Local Women Writers; Abraham Lincoln and New England

Society celebrates 50th anniversary of Eva Bean’s East Bethel Road

Society Facebook page launched

Online exhibit: A River’s Journey: the Story of the Androscoggin

Talks and book signings for The Gilded Age of Rangeley, Maine (Gary Priest),The Mountains of Maine (Steve Pinkham),Bethel, Maine: A Brief History (Stanley Howe), and Nature and Renewal: Wild River and Beyond (Dean Bennett)

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Walter & Carolyn Hatch

Exhibit: Sunday River, Mt. Abram and More! Celebrating the Skiing Heritage of the Bethel Area

Handicapped facilities, steel shelving, and microfilm reader/printer funded by grants from Davis Family Foundation, Maine Humanities Council, and Franklin Savings Bank

Strategic Plan 2009-2013 brochure distributed to more than 1,000 Society members and donors

Staff restructuring plan approved by Board of Trustees


February Winter Heritage Festival featuring numerous presentations and activities for all ages

Talks and book signings for Sunday River: Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future (Dave Irons), Write Quick: War and a Woman’s Life in Letters, 1836-1867 (Roberta Pevear and Ann Chandonnet), and Cobblestone to Hot Top: A Life in Maine (Charles Heino)

Spring Symposium: The Good Old Days—They Were Terrible!

Centennial Tour of 1910 Hall House

Exhibits: War & Pieces: A Civil War Reproduction Sampler; The Art of Helen Anna Morton

Antiquarian Supper in conjunction with Summer Heritage Festival

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Jean K. Owen

Fall Tour of Historic Barns

History Book Discussion Group

Talks and book signings: Folk Art Murals of the Rufus Porter School: New England Landscapes 1825-1845 (Linda Carter Lefko and Jane E. Radcliffe); Breaking Ground (William Andrews); L.L. Bean—The Man and His Company: The Complete Story (James Witherell)


Spring Symposium: Dr. John George Gehring and His Bethel Clinic

Exhibits: “Glorious Ridges and Princely Peaks”: Artistic Visions of the White Mountains; The White Mountain Club of Portland: Exploration and Adventure in the “Crystal Hills” 1873-1884; A Rich and Vibrant Legacy: The Traditional Crafts of Florence Bickford Hastings

Second Ripley Brass Band Festival

Hall Lecture, Reluctant Warriors: Mainers React to the Outbreak of the Civil War, by Thomas Desjardin, Historian, Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Church & Meetinghouse: A Historical and Architectural Tour

First Annual Stanley Russell Howe Lecture: Environmental Legacies: Land-Clearing, Forest Use, and Conservation in Northern New England, 1820-1920, by Richard W. Judd

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Arlene D. Lowell


Programs and/or book signings on the following topics: Maine Women in the Civil War (Lynda Sudlow); L. L. Bean (James Witherell); 100 Years of American Quilts (Bonnie Dwyer); Charles Kellogg: The Nature Singer (Roxanne Gupta and Donald Bennett); Old tales of the Maine Woods (Steve Pinkham)

Exhibits: Full of Memory and Sentiment: Autograph Quilts from the Bethel Historical Society Collection; Treasures Concealed & Now Revealed!

Spring Symposium: Don’t Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story: Myths, Lies and Other Traditions of Local and Regional History

Stanley Russell Howe Lecture: The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish rebels, & Indian Allies, by Alan Taylor

Hall Lecture on Capt. Charles A. J. Farrar, by William B. Krohn

My House/My Land: What is Its History? – three-part series

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Grace McKivergan

Stanley R. Howe retires from BHS staff, with title Executive Director Emeritus


Programs and/or book signings on the following topics: The Life of Francis Payne Bolton; Nelson Dingley, Jr.’s Daily Evening Journal: A View of the Northern Civil War Homefront; the 200th anniversary of the Dr. Moses Mason House; William Bingham II biography; the Appalachian Trail in Maine; Real Photo Postcards of Three Maine Women Photographers

History Symposium: Teaching the Civil War in Secondary Schools

Exhibits: In the Field & On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War; Pictures Serene and Sublime: Traditional White Mountain Art Recaptured, with guest artists Erik Koeppel and Lauren Sansaricq

Presentation of a detailed scale model of the 1813 Dr. Moses Mason House by Jim and Linda Auman, who are made Honorary Members of the Society

Ground is broken and construction begins for the Mary E. Valentine Collections Wing at the Society’s Robinson House


Programs (some with book signings): women physicians in Maine; Edmund S. Muskie; Civil War Soldiers’ quilts; History and Music of the 4-String Roaring Twenties Banjo; 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act; Maine hunter and guide Daniel E. Heywood; The Civil War Aftermath in Maine

Dedication and official opening of the Mary E. Valentine Collections Wing

Exhibit: “Stitched Together in Time and Place: Valentine Family Quilts”

Yankee Brass Band concert in late July

Noll Volunteer Service Award presented to Tineke Ouwinga


“The Yankee Ingenuity Museum Trail” collaboration with other Maine museums

Exhibit: Secluded Glens & Noble Landscapes: Traditional White Mountain Art

Honor the Brave” flag quilt created by BHS trustee Donna Gillis displayed at annual Fourth of July Community Picnic & Concert

Harvestfest Events: rug hooking demonstrations and exhibit of hooked rugs; talk and book signing by Judith Burger-Gossart, Sadie’s Winter Dream: Fishermen’s Wives and Maine Sea Coast Mission Hooked Rugs, 1923-1938

Stanley Russell Howe Lecture, A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience, by Dr. Emerson W. Baker, Professor of History at Salem State University


Women’s History Month program in collaboration with the Ski Museum of Maine; Danna Brown Nickerson: Places of Memory; exhibition of 19th and early 20th century White Mountain landscapes at Mason House in conjunction with Harvestfest

Antiquarian Supper recreation

Observance of the 50th Anniversary of the Bethel Historical Society

Exhibits: The Mountains of Maine: Skiing in the Pine Tree State;

“Mornings at the Museum” July children’s program launched

Program on Jacob Lovejoy diaries project by trustee Michael S. Stowell

Molly Ockett 200th Anniversary program and D.A.R. memorial plaque unveiling; talk at Woodlawn Cemetery in Andover by trustee Catherine Newell

Stanley Russell Howe Lecture, Wabanaki Treaties and Water: Indigenous Homeland in Nineteenth-Century Maine, by Micah A. Pawling, Ph.D

Addison Verrill’s Greenwood, book launch at Greenwood Historical Society; book co-published by GHS and BHS

200th anniversary event at Middle Intervale Meetinghouse Society