Community teams from Bethel, Jay/Livermore Falls, Pittsfield, Rumford, and Scarborough met at Bowdoin College in July for a two-day orientation to the Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War community grant program.
Team members–-from local historical societies, libraries, and schools–-received an orientation to Maine Memory Network, participated in project planning, and were immersed in Civil War history.
Scholars Libby Bischof (USM), Tom Desjardin (Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands), and Patrick Rael (Bowdoin College) provided historical context through readings, lecture, and discussion. Amy Marcotte of the Sanford Vet Center helped to tie the Civil War era to the present day with a short lecture and discussion on “Veterans Now and Then.” Theater professional David Greenham spoke to attendees about creative ways to interpret the “performance event” required as part of the project.
In August local teams began their monthly meetings. At the first meetings of the year they developed plans to create their Maine Memory Network exhibit based on the artifacts and documents they have in their communities and began the process of picking books to read for their “One Book, One Community” book discussions.
Local & Legendary is a partnership between Maine Historical Society and Maine Humanities Council, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project involves 10 Maine towns over two years. First year teams included Belfast, Gorham, Portland, Westbrook, and Windham. Teams research local Civil War history, digitize collections, create an exhibit on Maine Memory Network, run a “one book” program in their community, and host a custom-designed performance piece.