Secluded Glens & Noble Landscapes:
Traditional White Mountain Art Recaptured

July 2 through August 29, 2015
Mason House

Based on a highly popular art show mounted in 2013, this second exhibition will feature 19th century White Mountain landscapes, plus contemporary works* in the Hudson River School manner by nationally-recognized plein air artists Erik Koeppel and Lauren Sansaricq.  Howe Exhibit Hall, Dr. Moses Mason House; Tuesday through Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00  (*contemporary White Mountain paintings will be available for purchase)

Left: Androscoggin Gorge at Berlin Falls, N.H., circa 1870; unsigned oil on canvas (private collection)

The Yankee Ingenuity Museum Trail
July through October, 2015 Mason House

During the summer/fall of 2015, visitors to the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society will explore the theme of “Yankee Ingenuity” as they tour the Dr. Moses Mason House (1813), one of the finest Federal style house museums in western Maine.  The interior contains a wide variety of eighteenth and nineteenth century examples of the decorative arts, plus captivating wall murals painted during the 1830s and attributed to Jonathan D. Poor, nephew of Rufus Porter.

Throughout the building's nine period rooms, special signs will direct the visitor's attention to notable objects and architectural features (including furnishings designed and built by the Doctor himself) that reflect the resourcefulness, inventiveness and creativity of Maine’s nineteenth century inhabitants.  Hours: July & August, Thursday through Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 PM; September & October, by appointment (207-824-2908).  For more about this state-wide project, click here.

Photo:  Dr. Moses Mason's "pictorial bookcase," constructed in the 1850s as a book storage cabinet and family photograph display stand.

Dr. Moses Mason House Period Rooms
 July & August, Thursday through Saturday, 1:00 to 4:00 PM; and year-round by appointment

Begun in 1813 and opened as a museum in 1974, the Bethel Historical Society's Dr. Moses Mason House is one of the few period houses in northern New England available for tours year-round (for an appointment September through June, please call 207-824-2908 or 800-824-2910).

Discover life as it was lived in the highlands of western Maine during the first half of the nineteenth century as you join one of our trained guides in a tour of nine rooms filled with fine examples of the decorative arts, many of which were in the house during the years of the Masons' occupancy (1813-1869).  During your tour, you will view portraits of Dr. and Mrs. Mason painted during the 1830s by Chester Harding of Boston, and view their grand entrance hall with its exceptional circa 1835 Rufus Porter School wall murals.

Bethel: "The Athens of Oxford County"
 Opening August 20, 2015
Robinson House

Situated in the midst of high mountains and fertile river intervales, the town of Bethel traces its origins to a 1768 grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to men whose ancestors had fought in a campaign to conquer Canada in 1690.  Known throughout the latter part of the eighteenth century as "Sudbury Canada" (in honor of these original grantees, many of whom were from Sudbury, Massachusetts), the town was incorporated as "Bethel" (from the Book of Genesis, meaning "House of God") in 1796.  This on-going exhibition occupies two galleries at the Robinson House and provides an informative and entertaining window into the community's past through the use of historic images, selected artifacts and scale models from the Bethel Historical Society's permanent collection.


Gould Through the Years: Selections from the Academy Archives
  Robinson House

The Bethel Historical Society has entered into an important collaboration with Gould Academy that will result in the long-term preservation of the “Gould Archives” — a wide-ranging collection of documents, photographs, books and objects significant to the history of the school, founded in 1836 as “Bethel Academy.”  The archives have been placed on long-term loan to the Society which will monitor and maintain the collection while also making it available for display and study purposes.  To mark this important preservation effort, the Society has mounted an exhibition of selected items from the archives.  Photo: The second Gould Academy classroom building, erected in 1881 and razed in 1934.

In the Field & On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War
  Robinson House (through 2015)

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this exhibit makes use of rarely seen artifacts and images from the Society’s permanent collection to explore the effects—profound and poignant—of the Civil War on the western Maine town of Bethel, once known as “the Athens of Oxford County.”  Although the War years resulted in the loss of many of Bethel’s loyal sons (some of whom, having survived military service, chose not to return to Maine), they also witnessed the town’s development as an important inland Maine center of commerce, industry and tourism.

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