Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum Receives Two Grants from the Maine State Archives

AUGUSTA-The Curran Homestead Living History Farm and Museum has received $1,738.96 for a Historical Museum Collections Grant and $2,651.44 for a Historical Facilities Grant to improve both the documentation associated with their collection of material culture and to improve facilities housing for their historical collections. The grants were provided by the Maine State Museum with funds from the State of Maine’s New Century Community Program.

One of the projects will include creating archives of oral histories by Dr. Robert Schmick, a volunteer director of The Curran Homestead, that links specific tools for blacksmithing in their collection with their use by a professional blacksmith still practicing traditional techniques. In this series of digital recordings, the uses of each blacksmithing tool in the collection will be addressed as well as step-by-step directions on how to complete a number of forge projects.
Master Blacksmith Robert Robinson of Split Rock Forge in Stockton Springs, ME will additionally share his knowledge of local blacksmithing practices of the past and give instructions on the firing and maintenance of the forge during the metal fabrication process.

These recordings will eventually be made available as podcasts on the Internet. The equipment for recording, processing, and storage of these oral histories provided by this grant will further assist in the completion of a series of recordings on a variety of themes including the material culture of rural life and family farming in Maine and specific farm and commercial tasks particular to our region’s past like ice harvesting and the making of maple syrup, among others.

The second grant will provide the funds for the materials to build a wooden blacksmithing shed on the farm and museum site. This structure will be entirely constructed by our volunteer staff. It will house our collection of tools and accoutrements for blacksmithing that includes a portable forge with a built-in bellows. It will provide a space for blacksmithing instruction, forge projects, and storage of student work in the future.

“These grants support community efforts to preserve and share the stories of our people, our towns, our families and how we lived our lives,” noted Joseph R. Phillips, Museum Director of the Maine State Museum. “Without these objects and buildings, important pieces of our Maine heritage would be lost.” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says a recent report to the Maine Legislature indicated many of Maine’s historical collections (photographs, paintings, natural history collections, letters, etc.) are in danger of being lost to mold, fire, theft, or misuse. “Maine has an estimated 200 million historical objects and records, many in facilities with little or no security, fire protection, or environmental controls. Maine people in local government, historical societies, and libraries are seeking help to preserve heritage,” Secretary Dunlap commented. Small grants have stimulated local citizens and organizations to commit more of their own resources to these projects. “Although financial support is important, recognition of local concerns and effort through an award should also generate a substantial amount of enthusiasm,” Phillips noted.

For more information about the Historical Facilities and Historical Museums Collections Grant Program, call the Cultural Resources Information Center at 287-7591 or email: .

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