Collections_OLD

Textiles

Artifacts from Lewiston and Auburn's textile industry form the majority of Museum L-A's collections. These artifacts were variously left to us in the deserted mills surrounding the Museum, salvaged on their way to the dump, or donated by former textile workers and their families. A small portion has been actively acquired by the Museum with the goal of filling specific gaps in the collection.

The textile collection currently consists of both modern and vintage locally produced textiles, machinery involved in local production, personal items and tools owned by mill workers, photographs of work and social life, as well as numerous artifacts from different stages of production.

Museum L-A accepts donations from the local textile industry that fit with the mission of the Museum. If you are interested in making a donation of an artifact, or helping the museum to acquire a rare item to enhance the collection, we encourage you to contact us at 207-333-3881 or info@museumla.org.

Bricks

We are currently looking to develop and augment Museum L-A's collection of brick making artifacts to represent the long history of brick production in Lewiston and Auburn. The nature of the work changed little over hundreds of years and used few tools - ironically the industry producing the most lasting monuments left the least evidence of its existence.

Museum L-A accepts donations from the local brick making industry that fit with the mission of the museum, including tools, artifacts, photographs, maps, family histories, and archives. If you are interested in making a donation of an artifact, or helping the museum to acquire a rare item to enhance the collection, we encourage you to contact us at 207-333-3881 or info@museumla.org.

Shoes

Corporate and individual donors have contributed significantly to the wide variety of shoe shop artifacts currently in Museum L-A's collection. The majority of the items in the collection represent the last 50 years of the industry through machinery, tools, shoe lasts, products, company promotional and operational materials, and different items involved in manufacturing.

More rare are those materials dating to before 1950. Museum L-A is interested in collecting artifacts from a variety of times, 1850s to present, and from the many shoe shops in Lewiston and Auburn.

Museum L-A accepts donations from the local shoe industry that fit with the mission of the museum. If you are interested in making a donation of an artifact, or helping the museum to acquire a rare item to enhance the collection, we encourage you to contact us at 207-333-3881 or info@museumla.org.

Oral History

Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Executive Director
"In 2004 I was hired to organize and develop the Museum of Textiles. As I was giving tours, I felt that although it was good to show machinery and equipment, missing from the story was the heart of it all – the people who worked there.
I decided to hold a Millworkers Reunion to try and find some workers that could help tell the story of the mills and what they meant to the community. The response was phenomenal — more than 500 people attended, including 386 millworkers. They stepped off the elevator and sighed "I'm Home;" they touched their machines as if they were made of gold, they proudly showed what they did and why it was important, and they wondered why there was a reunion because they were "just millworkers".
As I was visiting with them, the stories I was hearing were unreal. There was no question that these were special people. And, it is at that moment, that I felt we could not let these stories go untold. Most of the people were in their 80s and 90s already. That is when the Workers Oral History Project was created. That is when the race against time began."
Official Histories
The Museum hired professional Oral Historian Andrea L'Hommedieu to conduct 45 histories which were chosen from the list of 386. We made sure that we had from the floor sweeper to the President represented and all in-between. We then hired Anthropologist and Documentary Photographer, Mark Silber, to do the official portraits for the upcoming exhibit. Portraits and Voices-Millworkers of Seven Mills became the first special exhibit presented by the Museum, complete with a great catalogue with DVD which won "First Place" in the New England Museum Association's publications contest.
During that time, the great partnership between Bates College and the Museum was growing. Several classes asked if they could help with the oral histories and another 138 were completed through the Anthropology, French and History classes.
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