More than 100 people attended the Readfield Historical Society annual meeting and program on March 16 when Marius Péladeau, of Readfield, was honored for his decades of helping to preserve various aspects of Maine history. Bob Harris, RHS president, presented Péladeau with a certificate of honor, according to a news release from the historical society.

Péladeau’s career started in Maine in 1962 when he began working as a sports reporter for the Lewiston Daily Sun. In 1967, he moved to Washington, D.C., and served as press secretary for U.S. Congressman Joseph P. Vigorito of Pennsylvania for five years.

When Péladeau returned to Maine in 1972, he shifted his focus to the preservation of Maine history, a passion that he has continued for nearly five decades. His first position in the field was as director of the Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums, which he held for four years. Following that, he became director at the Farnsworth Library and Art Museum in Rockland, a capacity he filled for 12 years. Upon leaving the Farnsworth in 1987, Péladeau became general manager of the Theater at Monmouth, where he remained until his retirement, according to the release.

During the 1992 Readfield Bicentennial, Péladeau thoroughly researched Readfield’s historic industrial hub, called Factory Square, and created a slide show that he has presented to the public many times over the years. From 2003 to 2005, he volunteered as curator and vice president of the Readfield Historical Society. There, he created historical exhibits for their museum, taught members how to clean historical artifacts, prepare them for display and made informative signage. Many of these displays remain in place to this day.

In 2009, Péladeau took on the challenge of overseeing the restoration and revitalization of the Readfield Union Meeting House. Built in 1827, the brick building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Under Péladeau’s direction as board president, meeting house became visible in the community again after a period of neglect.

Many structural repairs and improvements were made to the building during Péladeau’s tenure and he also oversaw the preservation of rare trompe l’oeil art throughout the interior, painted by Charles Schumacher of Portland in 1868. The trompe l’oeil at the meeting house is one of 51 works that Schumacher completed in Maine, but the only known example to have survived intact.

Péladeau also attended to other historical features of the building, such as several stained and unique stenciled glass windows and an 1890 organ produced by the Chicago Cottage Organ Co. Péladeau retired as UMH president in 2017, but he remains on the board of directors as historian and consultant.

He also continues his lifelong work in the historical realm in other ways. Péladeau serves as a consultant and lectures throughout the northeast and is now in the process of republishing two of his books. His works include writings on art history, early photography, and the Civil War, of which he is a noted and respected expert, according to the release.

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