School’s out for the summer. Whole weeks on the calendar read V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. The heat drives everyone to the beach, the hammock, or just plain batty. And the Maine Community Heritage Project — at least the pilot program that existed in 16 communities solely as an intensive year-long website-building project — wrapped up its three-year run in June.
This time a year ago, in the midst of a much less summery summer, I was madly editing (okay, still writing) a 92-page MCHP manual and gearing up for MCHP orientation. The 2008-2009 teams were celebrating their successes, while the newly anointed 2009-2010 teams were preparing for a year of… well, they didn’t know quite what just yet. And now all 16 teams have completed the work assigned to them.
But I can attest, based on a quick peek into the cache of pending items in Maine Memory Network, that some team partners aren’t totally resting on their laurels in the sunshine. (I’m talking about you, Blue Hill Public Library, you workhorses! And I hear from the MMN Cataloger that our Guilford and Hallowell friends have been sending in some things recently as well. Then there’s stalwart Lubec, who hasn’t rested since it started back in 2008; the town now has nearly 500 items on MMN.)
For those of you still at work, and those of you deservedly at rest, permit me to gently draw your attention here for a final few “MCHP as We Knew It” words. Not from me, but from one of the many wonderful students who participated in the project this past year. Her name is Cassie Conroy, she was an 8th grader at Mattanawcook Jr. High School, and she delivered this eloquent little speech at Lincoln’s final celebration back in May. I couldn’t squeeze it into the blog back then, but it’s just as well because it deserves its own place in the spotlight. So without further delay…
This year I learned that Lincoln’s Main Street has changed a lot throughout the years. My views on Lincoln and its history have changed dramatically. I always thought that Lincoln was a boring old place with nothing to learn about. It was just there. Now I know that it has a lot of history and people had to work hard to make it the way it is today.
This project is way different from all the other projects I have done. This project is all about service learning and how responsible you feel by being a good citizen. I never knew about the historical society until last year when we were introduced to Mrs. King and the photos and documents we dated and put in order. Up until then it never existed to me. I learned that it is not all fun and games; it’s about working hard, putting your all in and donating your time into the project and sharing the information on the history of Lincoln with other people.
By starting up this website, I hope it opens people’s eyes so they can understand things they would have never imagined existed in little Lincoln. I hope we can take this project further and continue to work on it throughout the rest of our years in school. This website is going to make it so people [can] share their memories with others.
And that about says it all, doesn’t it? Thank you, everyone, for a fantastic Maine Community Heritage Project year. Keep sharing those memories on your websites, and keep this “Living History” bookmarked on your browser. The pilot Maine Community Heritage Project may have wound down, but stay tuned throughout the summer and fall for more news on Maine Historical Society’s community outreach. We’ve got lots of plans in the works!