In 2002, a grass roots project emerged, initiated by the president of town’s chamber of commerce, Darryl Brown, and two pioneer women, Sherry Judd and Susan Gagnon. Maine’s Paper & Heritage Museum committee, a dedicated group of current and retired paper mill workers, business and community leaders have been working towards a dream of an actual museum located along the banks of the Androscoggin River in western Maine.
The immediate area has seen the loss of the shoe and some paper industry. Businesses and a local nursing home have closed. A museum would provide jobs and bring tourism into the community thereby increasing economic development.
Maine’s Paper & Heritage Museum will be a living museum, offering educational programs to the general public, community and students.
There is a large population of senior citizens in the area who are former mill workers, or their relatives. They will be interviewed and their information will be videoed for continuous use through museum monitors. Senior citizens will also conduct tours and will dress in era attire while acting as museum docents. In this way, the museum will employ the seniors, tapping into their energy and passion for their past.
Funding will be used for educational materials including video equipment and televisions, for writers, teachers and employees and period costumes.
A connection with local schools will be established. High school students will learn about the history of their area including a major component entitled, “Your Community, Home of the Paper Industry.” In turn these students will mentor middle school students who then will mentor elementary school students.
Many artifacts will be collected and will be displayed in authenticated rooms. A train will take visitors along the Androscoggin River to the power plants and the mills. A gift shop will be established with replicas of artifacts fashioned by local artisans. A gallery will showcase the work of local artists.
Children’s book depicting the games and entertainment of the early days of the paper industry focusing on families will be written and then published by a local publisher. This book will be used to educate the Kindergarten and First Grade students in a light hearted way, about the paper industry in Maine.
A play will be presented reenacting the history of papermaking, and tapes of the play will run on the local access TV channel.
We would like to to offer a college level class at the University of Maine called, “The History of the Paper Industry along the Androscoggin River.”
To create an exciting interactive museum where visitors can experience life in a paper-making community. The museum will encourage tourism and increase economic activity and showcase our distinctive heritage.
Museum Board of Directors:
|Board Member||Museum Position||Employment|
|Greg Bizier||President||Past Otis mill employee|
|Sam Howes||Vice President||Tour Guide|
|Kim Turner||Treasurer||Otis Credit Union employee|
|Sherry Judd||Secretary||Community Leader, past president|
|Gregory Gill||Project Manager||Past employee at Androscoggin Mill|
|Ronald Azeltine||Attorney||Community Leader|
|Ken Smith||Scout||Past Otis Mill employee|