Selections from the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame

The Maine Country Music Hall of Fame, founded in 1978 and now located at the Silver Spur in Mechanic Falls, showcases thousands of pieces of historic memorabilia accumulated over several decades, much of it donated by Maine Country Music Hall of Fame inductees and their heirs. This exhibit will tell the history of Maine country music and bring to life the memory and musical contributions of some of the finest country musicians in the U.S. The exhibit opening will be on Saturday, July 3, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., and the exhibit will be open during regular hours for the Robinson House.

Celebrating 60 years of Mt. Abram

The Maine Ski and Snowboard Museum is back with another visiting exhibit in the Valentine Wing – this time to commemorate 6o years of Mt. Abram! The Greenwood ski hill opened in the winter of 1960-1961 and has been a favorite among families and locals ever since. The 60th anniversary exhibit features photos, trail maps, and memorabilia. The exhibit will open Saturday, December 5th at 1 pm and will be on view through spring 2021 whenever the “Open” flag at Robinson House (10 Broad St.) is out. FMI: 207-824-2908.

Click here to listen to an interview with Lainey and Steve Cross about their family’s early days at Mt. Abram.

The Art of Donald Gilman Bennett

The artist’s grandparents, Edward and Minnie Bennett. Pastel. 1950.

Winter 2020-2021

On Saturday, December 5th, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society will open a new exhibit in the Philip and Mary Chadbourne Room at the Robinson House featuring the art of past MBHS president, creator of “The Bethel Journals” website, and Bethel historian par excellence, Donald Gilman Bennett. Featured in this exhibit are paintings in oil, pastel, watercolor, and other media, as well as sketches and photographs from Mr. Bennett’s private collection. Please stop by — with masks on, of course — to enjoy this colorful and uplifting display. This exhibit will be on view through spring 2021 whenever the “Open” flag at Robinson House (10 Broad St.) is out. FMI: 207-824-2908

Dr. Moses Mason House Period Rooms

Open in July and August; Thursday through Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 PM; other times by appointmentDr. Moses Mason House (1813), parlor showing Chester Harding portrait of Dr. Mason

One of the finest Federal style residences in its region, the Dr. Moses Mason House was constructed in 1813 on a spacious lot facing onto the common at Bethel Hill village. According to Dr. Nathaniel Tuckerman True, Bethel’s eminent nineteenth century historian, this house was the first on the common to be painted white, the first on a high foundation of granite slabs, and the first to make use of exterior shutters. The house and grounds were renovated and restored in 1972-73 by the Bingham Trust, which presented the property to the Bethel Historical Society in memory of William Bingham 2nd, the town’s great twentieth century philanthropist.

Nine rooms in the Mason House now appear much as they did during the occupancy of Dr. Moses Mason (1789-1866) and his wife, Agnes M. Straw (1793-1869). These rooms contain a wide variety of eighteenth and nineteenth century examples of the decorative arts, many of which are original to the house. Other furnishings from the Society’s permanent collection are also on display throughout the various rooms. The most captivating feature of the Mason House is located in the front hallway, which contains Rufus Porter School wall murals—on the upper and lower floors—painted during the mid-1830s and attributed to Jonathan D. Poor, a nephew of Rufus Porter. Depicting distant seascapes and colorful landscapes with lush foliage, these intriguing examples of American folk art have been painstakingly cleaned so that modern-day visitors can view them much as they looked during the Masons’ era.

Oxford County Skiing History: From Jockey Cap to Jordan Bowl

On view through Spring 2021 in the “Western Mountains Gallery,” this colorful exhibit provided by the Ski Museum of Maine traces the roots of alpine and Nordic skiing and ski manufacturing at sites located within or near the borders of Oxford County. Through images, artifacts, and vintage film, the display presents the fascinating story of skiing history in the highlands of western Maine.

A River’s Journey: The Story of the Androscoggin

One of the largest rivers in New England and the third largest in Maine, the Androscoggin drains an area of over 3,400 square miles in Maine and New Hampshire.  The 170-mile waterway begins its journey near Errol, New Hampshire, where the outlet to the Rangeley Lakes and the Magalloway River join, and—punctuated with numerous rapids and impressive waterfalls (including that at Rumford, shown at left)—eventually mingles with the waters of the Kennebec River in Merrymeeting Bay below Brunswick, Maine, before flowing into the Atlantic.

Molly Ockett and Her World

This exhibit tells the story of Molly Ockett, an Abenaki Indian of the Pigwacket tribe whose lifetime (ca. 1740-1816) spans an important and particularly tumultuous period in this region’s past.  Born at Saco, Maine, Molly Ockett—baptized “Marie Agathe”—is one of the best-known individuals from the local past in the mind of the average resident of western Maine.  As an itinerant healer and herbalist for both natives and newcomers, Molly Ockett established close relations with the early settlers in such communities as Andover, Fryeburg, Poland, Paris, and Bethel during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Such ties enabled her to gain an intimate view of white society as it spread throughout the vast wooded domain long occupied by her ancestors.

Bethel: A Historic Town

Situated in the fertile Androscoggin River valley surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Maine, the town of Bethel traces its origins to a 1768 grant made by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to men whose ancestors had fought in a campaign to conquer Canada in 1690. Originally named “Sudbury Canada,” in honor of these early grantees from the town of Sudbury, Massachusetts, and their campaign against Canada, Bethel was first settled by people of European descent in 1774.