News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 21, 2012
Grand opening of new barn exhibits planned at historical society

by Jessica Brophy

The Deer Isle-Stonington Historical society will cut the ribbon on brand-new exhibitions in its two-story barn on Saturday, June 30, at 2 p.m.

The open house includes a “Thank-You Reception” open to all in the Island community, said Tinker Crouch, president of the historical society.

The “thank you” goes out to all who donated money, time, artifacts and expertise to the new exhibits.

These new exhibits represent “life on the island,” said Crouch.

The main exhibit documents the history and role of the fisheries on the Island, from the early days of windjammer fleets to fin fish and lobstering.

“There’s a lobster shack, an explanation of how traps were made, a wharf, artifacts of seining, and the [sardine] canning factory,” said Crouch. Also included is gear like a scallop drag, trawl and more.

The barn also includes an exhibit of a print shop, including a printing press that has been on the Island for more than a century. The press is on long-term loan from Island Ad-Vantages publisher Nat Barrows.

Upstairs, children’s toys and school things are on display, as well as a church exhibit featuring an organ. The historical society’s exhibit of Indian life on the island has been expanded, including artifacts found at the Scott’s Landing excavation.

The exhibits were planned and constructed over the winter. “When we pulled everything out of barns and storage in various places, it was amazing what we have,” said Crouch.

Wes Norton, the Island Institute Fellow, spearheaded the fisheries exhibit. To do so, he waded through the society’s extensive collection of documents, photographs, oral histories and artifacts.

“He learned a lot about old gear,” said Crouch—things like 18-foot long flounder spears, old fish finders and more.

Equipment from Billings’ Diesel lifted much of the heavy exhibit pieces to the second floor.

Crouch said fundraising continues for the second phase of the historical society’s renovations, which will expand the archives. The society has raised $340,000 toward its $490,000 goal.

The ribbon cutting and ceremony will begin at 2 p.m., with refreshments to follow.