Museums of the Bethel Historical Society


Current Exhibits

Crafting Memories: Stories from the Mason Era, 1813-1869

On view May 1 to September 27, 2024, in the Twitchell Education Center

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Dr. Moses and Agnes Straw Mason House as a historic house museum, this series of five mini-exhibits in the Twitchell Education Center (a replica of Dr. Mason's office/library, which once stood at the same location) will highlight various aspects of the years of the Mason's occupancy of the house. Each mini-exhibit will be featured for one month from May to September.

  • May: "Laying the Foundations: Early Carpentry Tools"
  • June: "Comfort and Utility: Handmade for the Home"
  • July: "The World of Cyrene Ayer: Childhood in 19th-century New England"
  • August: "Victorian Remedies: Health and Beauty in the 19th Century"
  • September: "Unraveling Threads: The Civil War Homefront"

Bethel and Beyond

A new permanent exhibit in the Robinson House

In the spring of 2022, we opened a new large, permanent exhibit on the history of Bethel and the surrounding region. This exhibit includes a chronological journey through Bethel's early history and will soon be expanded to include three themed exhibit halls focusing on aspects of the region's history such as culture, work, and travel.

The Golden Age of the Gehring Clinic

On view through October 12, 2024, in the Robinson House

This exhibit tells the story of Dr. John George Gehring and his Bethel clinic. A pioneer in the treatment of what were then called "nervous disorders," Gehring developed an innovative regimen of mental and physical techniques in the era before Freudian theories were popularized in America. His practice brought a large number of prominent and interesting people to Bethel, including, most consequentially, William Bingham, 2nd, who became a benefactor for Gould Academy, and significantly shaped its development.

The Mount Zircon Bottle at 100

On view through October 12, 2024, in the Robinson House

In honor of the 100th birthday of the Mount Zircon Moon Tide Spring Company bottle-shaped lunch stand, which was restored by Museums of the Bethel Historical Society Executive Director Emeritus Randall H. Bennett in the 1990s and is now owned by MBHS, this exhibit in the Mary and Philip Chadbourne Room covers the history of the company and the bottle. It features a detailed timeline of the mineral spring business founded in the mid-19th century by Dexter Abbott, accompanied by dozens of historic photographs and documents, as well as photos of the restoration of the bottle lunch stand and a display of Mount Zircon bottles and other artifacts.

Oxford County Skiing History: From Jockey Cap to Jordan Bowl

On view until further notice in the Robinson House

On view in the “Western Mountains Gallery,” this colorful exhibit provided by the Maine Ski & Snowboard Museum 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.

Dr. Moses Mason House Period Rooms

Open in July and August; Thursday through Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 PM; other times by appointment

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. Click here to learn more.

Upcoming Exhibits

Birdhouses, Baskets, and Benches: Crafting Traditions of the Newell Family

On view July 2, 2024, through August 31, 2024 in the Howe Exhibit Hall, Mason House

Our 2024 summer exhibit will feature the crafting traditions of the Newell family of Bryant Pond and Locke’s Mills, Maine. Of Penobscot descent, the family includes craftsman and dance teacher, Socklexes Newell and several generations who continued the traditions. The exhibit will feature “Sock’s” rustic twig furniture and baskets; birdhouses created by Bill and Bunker House; interviews with family members, photographs, and contextual information.