Museums of the Bethel Historical Society

Upcoming Programs & Events

The Power of Water with Bob King (co-sponsored with Mahoosuc Land Trust)

Thursday, June 20, 6:00 p.m., at Trustees Auditorium, McLaughlin Science Center, Gould Academy

Join the Mahoosuc Land Trust and Museums of the Bethel Historical Society for a screening of The Power of Water a film about Bob King, who has spent his adult life resurrecting derelict small dams and bringing them back to life. The film discusses how water power was once the economic engine of New England. Bob believes that select ones, restored correctly, could play an important role in a sustainable energy source for the future. The film will be followed by a discussion with Bob and filmmaker Matthew Myer Boulton.

Opening Reception, "Birdhouses, Baskets, and Benches: Crafting Traditions of the Newell Family"

Friday, June 28, 6:00 p.m., at the Mason House

Join us for the opening of a new exhibit celebrating the crafting traditions of the Newell family of Bryant Pond and Locke’s Mills, Maine. Of Penobscot descent, the family includes craftsman and dance teacher, Socklexes Newell and several generations who continued the traditions. The exhibit will feature “Sock’s” rustic twig furniture and baskets; birdhouses created by Bill and Bunker House; interviews with family members, photographs, and contextual information.

Fourth of July Picnic and Concert

Thursday, July 4, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., on the grounds

Bring a picnic lunch and join us on the side lawn Mason House for this popular annual event featuring a reading of a Fourth of July address given by Dr. Mason in 1809 (at age 20!) and concert of patriotic music by the Portland Brass Quintet. Desserts will be offered for sale from our circa 1922 Mt. Zircon bottle lunch stand.

Yankee Brass Band Concert

Saturday, July 27, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., on the grounds

We are very pleased to welcome back the Yankee Brass Band for their first concert in Bethel since 2017! Since 1987, the Yankee Brass Band has entertained audiences with "historically informed performances" of 19th Century American Brass Band Music. Using rare and authentic period instruments, the Yankee Brass Band presents the music of the "Golden Age of Bands" played in much the same manner as in the mid to late 19th century.

Mornings at the Museum

Thursdays, July 11, 18, & 25, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., on the grounds

Fun and educational activities for children ages 5-10. For information on attendance and activities, please contact Rosemary Laban at 850-766-1241, or the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society at 207-824-2908.

Summerfest at MBHS

Saturday, July 20, 10:00 to 3:00 p.m.

We are pleased to be a co-presenter of Bethel Summerfest this year, together with the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce. We will have children's games and activities, treats from the Mt. Zircon Bottle Lunch Stand, exhibits in all three of our buildings, tours of the Mason House period rooms, and great deals in our museum shop. At 12:00 we will have a special presentation on, "The Evolving Legacy of Mali Agat (Molly Ockett)" in the Reading Room of the Robinson House.

Please visit for a full schedule of the day's events!

Mill Brook Craft Series

Thursdays in August (August 1, 8, 22, and 29), 1:00 p.m. Twitchell Education Center

Please join us Thursday afternoons in August for our popular "Mill Brook Craft Series." Every week a local artist or artisan will demonstrate and discuss their chosen craft or trade. This years presentations include:

  • August 1: Bamboo carving with Elina Sh
  • August 8: Guitar making with Tony Andrews
  • August 22: Wooden furniture and kayak building with Kevin Windsor
  • August 29: Encaustic art with Betsey Foster

BAAM Art Summer Camp

Monday, August 12 to Friday, August 16, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Bethel Area Arts and Music will be hosting an Art Summer Camp on the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society grounds the week of August 12 to 16. For more information and to register your child please contact BAAM.

Book Launch: "Sanguinary and Cruel": The War of 1812 Narrative of Joseph Penley

Wednesday, August 21, 6:00 p.m., Reading Room, Robinson House

First published in 1853, under the title, A Short and Thrilling Narrative of a Few of the Scenes and Incidents That Occurred in the Sanguinary and Cruel War of 1812–14, Joseph Penley's memoir is notable as one of a very few first person narratives to have emerged from the War of 1812, and one of an even tinier number to have been recorded by an enlisted man. To this new edition, published by the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society, editor Larry Glatz has added a useful introduction, notes, appendices, and indexes, which provide helpful context and make the story useful and entertaining to lay readers and scholars alike. At this book launch event, Glatz will offer a presentation on the narrative, followed by a question and answer period and book signing.

Annual Meeting - Meet John Adams

Thursday, September 5, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Mason House

Everyone is invited to join us for our annual meeting. We will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Dr. Moses and Agnes Straw Mason House as a historic house museum. After a potluck supper and short business meeting, we will be joined by George Baker, who will bring his entertaining and informative live portrayal of President John Adams.

Katherine Rhoda: Songs of Women’s Suffrage

Wednesday, September 18, 6:00 p.m., at the Mason House

The long struggle to achieve voting rights for American women gave rise to a wealth of music. Katherine Rhoda will discuss and perform some of these songs with voice, keyboard, autoharp, and guitar. This concert is free; donations are always gratefully accepted.

Harvestfest at MBHS

Saturday, September 21, 10:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Come visit us during Bethel’s Harvestfest celebration for our traditional cider pressing demonstration, exhibits and tours of both houses, and special events on the grounds.

Fall Food Festival (tentative title) at Mahoosuc Land Trust

Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, September 29th

We will be pressing cider and cosponsoring other activities at the Mahoosuc Land Trust's fall festival. Details to be announced!

Trick-or-Treat Broad Street

Thursday, October 31, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Please stop by on Halloween for the Bethel Library and the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society's third annual Trick-or-Treat Broad Street. We will be distributing candy to trick-or-treaters at the Bethel Library, Robinson House, and Mason House. Stay tuned for announcements about other possible Halloween programming for kids and adults.

Book Launch: Just Like Glass

Thursday, November 21, 6:00 p.m. at the Gem Theater

Please join us at the Gem Theater for the launch of Just Like Glass, the debut novel from writer Amy Wight Chapman (our own MBHS Administrative Assistant).

Christmas at the Mason House

Saturday, December 7

Dr. Moses Mason House

Please join us again for one of our most popular annual events, “Christmas at the Mason House." Celebrate the season while enjoying traditional holiday refreshments, music, and decorations in the first floor period rooms in the 1813 Mason House. Timing and details of this year's event to be announced.