The Belfast Museum year in review

Nov 28, 2012

The Belfast Museum has closed for the season. The guest book was signed by 819 visitors from 37 states and seven countries, including the museum's first visitors from Denmark and Kuwait. Many stayed for more than an hour and made favorable comments about the exhibits. Most also made very favorable comments about Belfast in general, according to museum staff.

The museum had several summer interns. Emma Bonneville, a 2012 BAHS graduate and now a student at the University of Vermont, presided over the front desk, welcomed visitors, maintained records and worked on a variety of projects. Allie Njaa, now a senior at BAHS, worked in the archives, completing a project to consolidate, re-order, conserve and catalog materials related to Belfast structures.

The museum's monthly educational programs have ended for 2012. It now has 17 “Window on History” Season I and II programs available on DVD for purchase at the Belfast Museum and at Historical Society events. DVDs also can be checked out from the Belfast Library or viewed on BCTV-2 and the museum's website. Museum staff expressed appreciation for the local businesses who supported the programs. “Window on History” will continue for a third season; check the museum's website for the upcoming schedule.

The Belfast Civil War quilt has been sent to Stillwater Textile Conservation Studio in Bradford, N.H. Conservator Deborah Bede will clean and stabilize the quilt for long-term preservation and prepare it for periodic exhibition. Thanks to major grants from The Golden Rule Foundation, The Hut Foundation, and contributions from Historical Society members and other local benefactors, the Conservation Project is fully funded, museum staff said.

On its return to Belfast in the spring the quilt will serve as the centerpiece of the museum’s 2013 summer exhibit recognizing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. The Belfast Museum will be part of a “Civil War Trail” of exhibits organized by Kim MacIsaac, curator of the 5th Maine Regiment Museum on Peaks Island. Approximately 25 museums will be participating.

Thanks to the efforts of Historical Society members Joe and Mary Mosier, both of whom are retired from the Navy, information about the illustrious career and life of Admiral William V. Pratt was added to the Johnson-Pratt tomb in Grove Cemetery. Admiral Pratt, a Belfast native, served as Commander in Chief U. S. Fleet 1929-1930 and Chief of Naval Operations, 1930-1933. Smith’s Memorials did the design work and stone-cutting during the summer.

The Belfast Historical Society and Museum is a membership organization that provides many programs to the community, which are open to the public without charge. The cost of these programs is met by membership dues. 2013 memberships begin on Jan. 1. An individual membership is $10, and membership forms are available on the museum's website.

Although the Belfast Museum is officially closed for the season, it is often open by chance and always by appointment (338-9229). Monthly programs will resume in April 2013 and the museum will reopen in June. Until then, view the latest news, announcements and photos on Facebook or on the museum's website, www.belfastmuseum.org, which has links to “Window on History” as well.

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