County Ag Report - How the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum Was Established
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -
“A number of these items in here are a hundred years old and some are even maybe a little older.”
Francis Fitzpatrick, volunteer and past president of the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum in Littleton, was part of a group that began looking for a building to house the museum in 1991. Fitzpatrick’s friend and fellow volunteer, Barry Campbell, says their goal was realized ten years later with the purchase of the former Littleton Elementary School.
“We’d meet on a weekly basis, or maybe not a weekly, maybe twice a month trying to figure out what to do. We just kept plugging along and finally SAD 29 closed this school and there was the school and eight acres, and the town put it up for sale.”
After purchasing the school building in 2001, donations to the museum were slow, but that soon changed.
“The first year we struggled, but then when people see we were going to make it, we got a tremendous support in this community.”
“We started that about twenty years ago, the first suppers and we have a great following with that. And there’s probably at least ten ladies that this is what they do and they’re ready once a month for ten months out of the year.”
One of those ladies Fitzpatrick is talking about is Rae Johnston. Like Fitzpatrick and Campbell, she has been with the museum since the beginning. Johnston, who organizes the suppers, says they not only help pay the monthly bills, they also bring the community together.
“Heat and lights and phone and keep us operating, and gets the community together. We have nice crowds and everybody loves the chance to just sit and visit for awhile
When asked what they enjoy most about their work at the museum, Fitzpatrick and Campbell agree that it’s the interaction with the people.
“In the old days, everybody went to the corner store and sat around the stove and talked about this and that. Here you meet a lot more people than that and from all walks of life”
“I get a lot of satisfaction on just seeing people enjoy what we’ve saved and preserved. That’s what it’s all about.”
Join us again next time when we’ll take a closer look inside the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum.
Brian Bouchard, NEWSSOURCE 8.
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