Gould Through the Years: Selections from the Academy Archives
On-going — 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.

During March and April 2014, Society staff and volunteers coordinated with James B. Owen, retired head of the Academy's art department, and Nathalie Berry, Administrative Assistant to the Head of School, to transfer the Gould Archives from crowded storage space on the third floor of Hanscom Hall to the Society’s recently expanded museum facility on nearby Broad Street, just a short walk from the Academy.  Currently being inventoried, items in the Gould Archives parallel the Society’s own rich holdings relating to the school's past.  To mark this important preservation effort, the Society has mounted a short-term exhibition of selected items from the archives.

In the Field & On the Homefront: Bethel During the Civil War
Through April 2015 — Robinson House

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this exhibit is the Bethel Historical Society's contribution to the 2013 "Maine Civil War Trail" project.  Using rarely seen artifacts and images from the Society’s permanent collection, the exhibit explores 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, they also witnessed the town’s development as an important inland Maine center of commerce, industry and tourism.

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

Begun in 1813 and opened to the public in 1974, the Bethel Historical Society's Dr. Moses Mason House is one of the few period house museums in northern New England available for tours year-round (open by appointment September through June; please call our main office in the Robinson House at 207-824-2908 or 800-824-2910 to schedule a visit).  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: A Historic Town
Expanded Exhibit Re-opening June 23, 2015
Robinson House

Situated in the midst of high mountains and fertile river valleys, 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 provides an overview of the town's past through the use of historic images and selected artifacts from the Bethel Historical Society's permanent collection.  (Included is a scale model of the 1886 Bethel Chair Company mill, constructed and donated by Society member James Auman.)  Click here to visit the online version of "Bethel: A Historic Town."

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