The applications have been vetted, the project coordinators have been notified, and the official letters are in the mail. So Maine Historical Society is pleased as punch to announce the first round of grantees in its new Community Mobilization Grant program, which offers Maine Memory Network (MMN) grants in three categories: Digitization Projects (up to $750), Online Exhibit Projects (up to $1,250), and Maine Community Heritage Projects (up to $3,000).
But before we name names, a few summarizing facts. Nine organizations or community teams received grants during this spring cycle, which is the first of nine over a three-year period. (The next deadline is September 1.) And we wouldn’t have a Community Mobilization Program at all without the generous assistance of a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Now onto the details!
A Digitization grant was awarded to the Winslow Historical Preservation Committee to inventory, digitize, and upload to MMN suitable images from its collections. The Committee’s holdings, which are stored at the town library, amount to approximately 500 photographs and documents, and are in need of being assessed. The grant of $600 will allow the Committee to purchase a scanner and begin digitizing the collection.
Five Online Exhibit Grants were awarded. They went to:
Cary Library, of Houlton, in the amount of $1,250 to digitize an 1837-1843 account ledger integral to the history of Aroostook County, and to create an exhibit using parts of this ledger, supplemented with other items from the Aroostook County Historical and Art Museum. Both organizations are longtime MMN Contributing Partners (CPs) but have never created their own online exhibit before.
- L. C. Bates Museum (Good Will Home Association), in the amount of $1,250 to create an exhibit that depicts the history, nature trails, and monuments in the part of the Good-Will Hinckley known as SunSet Park.
Part of the park was designed by world-famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead and the exhibit will feature Olmstead maps and plans. Olmstead designed other areas of the Good-Will campus, as well, and the project team plans to digitize as many images as possible of Good-Will children at work or play on Olmstead-designed open spaces.
Maine’s First Ship, in the amount of$1,240 to create a virtual history of the 1607-1608 Popham Colony, including photos of artifacts from the archaeological digs of Fort Saint George (in present-day Phippsburg) now in the collections of the Maine State Museum. Maine’s First Ship is a credit-bearing, summer program for high school students to construct a replica of the Virginia, the first English-built ship on the North American continent. The 15 students who work on the ship this summer will also be building the MMN exhibit.
- Maine Island Trail Association, in the amount of $1,250 to present the story of Little Chebeague Island’s history and its relationship to regional, cultural, social, and environmental events and influences. With only one known living resident left, the 86-acre Little Chebeague is largely now a recreation and tourist destination, but its history includes Indian occupation, farming, a resort hotel, a cottage colony, and US Navy facilities. The exhibit will cull from a variety of collections, including that of island expert Richard Innes, to tell the story of this “little” gem in inner Casco Bay.
- New England Electric Railway Historical Society, aka Seashore Trolley Museum, in the amount of $1,250, to develop a “virtual trolley tour of Maine from Kittery to Van Buren.” The Trolley Museum has long been a Maine Memory CP–check out some of its 275 images on the Network–but this exhibit will focus on major cities, destinations, and long-gone tourist attractions, and will feature hand-drawn maps from the museum’s previously unpublished Atlas of Maine Electric Railways.
Finally, but by no means at the end of the line–in fact, these folks have signed up for the most intensive deal of all–we awarded the coveted Maine Community Heritage Project grant to three towns. They will spend the better part of a year building a local history website–featuring a 3,000-word narrative history, five online exhibits, and many of the 100-150 images they are required to digitize as part of the project–and holding community events to show it off.
Who signed up for that? These eager towns, that’s who:
Strong, in western Maine, just north of Farmington, which plans to highlight its notoriety as the home of the first registered Maine guide, Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby, and its previous claim to fame as the “Toothpick Capital of the World,” among many other fun facts. ($2,973)
- Surry, located Downeast, near Blue Hill and Ellsworth, which was home to the Surry Playhouse and is still home to the unusual Surry Opera Company, both of which will be featured in the project. The application also emphasized the importance of both experiential and service-based learning for the approximately 25 Surry Elementary School students who will participate. ($2,116)
- Swan’s Island, off Bar Harbor, which will be weaving the MCHP into the school’s grades 3-5 Swan’s Island History unit (taught only every three years!), as well as a grades 6-8 history unit. A 2008 fire destroyed the Swan’s Island library where all the formal historic collections were kept. The reborn Swan’s Island Educational Society (SIES)–the library and historical society rolled into one–has risen like the proverbial Phoenix thanks to the generosity of residents who have donated photographs and documents to reinvigorate the collections. ($3,000)
To see what these three communities will be building on Maine Memory in the coming year, check out the 19 MCHP websites that have been built over the last few years with previous IMLS funds.
And if all this grant news gets you fired up to apply in September–great. Inundate us!