The Searsmont Historical Society has received $5,000 from the Maine State Museum with funds from the state of Maine’s New Century Community Program. The grants provide funds to help Maine’s nonprofit cultural organizations to improve facilities that house historically, scientifically or artistically significant collections. New Century Community Program grant funds were approved by Maine voters in a 2007 bond issue.

The Searsmont Historical Society found a need to expand its display and storage area when townspeople began donating larger items of historical interest, including farm and transportation equipment and mill components.

This summer, construction has begun on a 36-by-60-foot timber frame barn in the southwest corner of the Searsmont Community Center location. The society currently occupies a large display room in the Center that will continue to operate. The foundation is complete and the timber frame is currently under construction.

New Century Community Program grants require recipients to raise a minimum of one-to-one matching funds. “The grant award itself is of immediate practical use,” noted Maine State Museum Director Joseph R. Phillips, “but state-level recognition of community efforts also helps to generate matching funds from local people and businesses.”

For more information about the Collections Facilities Grant Program, call the Cultural Resources Information Center at 287-7591 or e-mail maine.cric@maine.gov.