About Us

Our History
In 1850, Benjamin Bates began construction on his first mill, Bates Mill in Lewiston, hoping to make his fortune in the textile industry as the Bates Manufacturing Company.  The company quickly grew to become one of the largest textile manufacturers in New England and transformed Lewiston from an agricultural town into a booming city.   After a steady decline in sales, the mill slowed down production in 1990 before officially closing their doors in 2001.  Museum L-A, founded in 1996, started its collection by salvaging the machinery and artifacts that were left behind when operations ceased.  

As the Museum began to grow, there was a recognized need to tell not only the story of the textile mill workers, but also the workers from the shoe and brick industries that built the Lewiston-Auburn area as well.  This lead to further collecting on behalf of the Museum.  The artifacts that have been collected serve to augment the stories that are being told in the permanent and temporary exhibits that are installed in our gallery spaces.

New Mission and Vision Approved
by the Board of Directors
As part of working on a three-year Strategic Master Plan and wanting to bring new vigor to the future of Museum L-A, the Board of Directors moved forward with updating its Mission and Vision.

The Mission was first reviewed as that which provides the road map to achieve its vision. To that end, Board members and staff focused on its reason for being and on what makes the Museum different. Then then reviewed the Vision which provides a clear destination for the future which should be aspirational, externally focused, and compelling!  

After lots of "hard work" which included a full Board retreat, several Board meetings and lots of soul searching, the Board of Directors on September 19, 2017 approved its new Mission and Vision which will now become the guiding light for all to follow in moving forward, including the future building of its new Museum.
Museum L-A connects generations and cultures, fosters a spirit of discovery and human ingenuity, and helps people experience the rich history of work, arts and community.
Museum L-A will be:
  • The center of a vibrant community.
  • A cornerstone that celebrates the history, creativity, character, and cultural diversity of Maine's working people.
  • A beacon for innovators and artists.
  • A catalyst for community resurgence.
  • One of Maine's most compelling cultural destinations.
Next Steps
The next steps are working on the Museum's Values Statement to identify its principals and ethics as a Museum and on developing an Impact Statement to help identify its effect and influence on the community.  Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Executive Director, has been pushing this in the museum world as being of great importance for accountability to one's community. The goal is that Museum L-A will be one of the first to prepare such a statement.

Board of Directors  
JULY – 2017

Elliot Epstein, Founder
John Cleveland, Chair
Margaret Craven, Vice-Chair
Brittany J. Lajoie, Treasurer
Jack Samson, Secretary
Christine Bosse
Kevin Callahan
John Camelio
Patti Camelio

Gene Clough
Alan Elze
George Gendron
Steve Huber
Paul Jalbert
Mark Tanous
Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Ex Officio Non-Voting
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