Historical societies across Franklin County are planning two countywide open house events in an effort to build interest in local history collections.

A half dozen historical societies came together for a similar event in the fall, and despite miserable rainy and cold conditions, the event was a success, said Jane Stinchfield, one of two Phillips Historical Society curators.

“It was one of those spur-of-the-moment, last-minute deals. Even with the weather and being such short notice and without publicity except for a few posters around town, we had quite a few people,” Stinchfield said.

Hoping to build on this interest, more than a dozen historical societies from Franklin County and one from Androscoggin County have come together again and will hold two more history tour events on June 6 and Oct. 10.

On each of the two dates, people may visit as many open house events at the participating historical society and museums as they like between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Organizers hope the tours will draw interest to the work historical societies are doing and increase awareness of the variety of historical items preserved at the various museums and societies.

Stinchfield recalled when she first become involved with the Phillips Historical Society after she retired and learned about their artifacts and large railroad collection.

“Until that point, I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea what treasures there are there,” she said. “I know there are people who live in towns that have these societies who have never been in, and it’s a real shame. So we hope to help them learn what’s all there.”

She said the historical societies also hope to get younger people interested in their work.

Participants can pick societies to visit and learn more about when they are open and what kind of work they do.

Stinchfield said those interested in projects such as genealogy or research can get a sense of what is where and make plans to come back another time.

“We’ll be there to give tours and answer questions,” Stinchfield said.

Most of the societies and museums don’t charge admission. The ones that do will be waiving their fees for the day, she said.

At the first round of historical tours, a few of the smaller societies, such as Madrid’s, held events that attracted only a small turnout but still were able to help get the word out to those who braved the elements to attend the tours.

“Now those few people know that Madrid does even have a historical society,” she said. “It’s that type of awareness we are trying to get out there.”

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]


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