Four charming tables set with flowers, lemonade, iced tea, fruit kabobs, and platters upon platters of tasty pastries were the visual complement to a highly-polished MCHP presentation by the Bangor team Wednesday night in Bangor High School’s Peakes Auditorium.
But it’s hard to say what was sweeter — the mini Cannolis and cream puffs, or the pride and joy on the faces of team members and the many students who attended the program. All the hard work, and the late nights of the last few weeks, clearly paid off.
Much of the evening was about giving thanks to the many people — on the team, in the schools, throughout the community — who participated in the project in one way or another. From team leader Debe Averill’s articulate and gracious welcoming remarks, through each succeeding presenter, those that intersected in one way or another with MCHP were lauded and applauded.
Meanwhile, the website — a rich evocation of Bangor’s prominent place in Maine history — was unveiled exhibit by exhibit. The presentations touched upon a variety of aspects of MCHP, from what a Maine Memory Network cataloging record looks like and how to use the ever-popular “zoom” feature, to the variety of processes students went through, to way topics were brainstormed and then whittled down. The crowd of about 125 listened attentively and applauded appreciatively.
After the program, audience members got a chance to see the results of the team’s hard work in-depth on an array of laptops set up in the lobby. Cohen and Doughty Middle School students — the latter dressed in WWII-era costume to reflect their research into their 1940s exhibit topic — led these close-up tours of the site and talked about their dynamic experiences in the project.
Meanwhile, in the cafeteria, those sweet treats tempted others to linger and chat about future collaborations and additions to the website. Team members breathed a sigh of relief that the intensity of the project year was drawing to a close, but in the next breath looked forward to ways the website could be positioned for future use.
Maine Historical Society has, from day one, intended the Maine Community Heritage Project to be more of a foundation than the final say. There can hardly be an end to the stories a place like Bangor has to tell, and now that these cultural organizations and schools have come together in such an elaborate way, there are infinite possibilities for their continued work together in the future.
Not to mention welcoming others into the fold. One of the last conversations I was privy to during the evening included Bangor’s Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent of Schools, both of whom were bubbling with praise and excitement about the project. Already, ideas were floating for getting an elementary school involved next year.
What better way to celebrate the work of the MCHP… by capturing the present moment to lay future plans for an ongoing exploration of the riches of the past.