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.


Museum L-A connects generations, strengthens community, and fosters creativity, discovery, and innovative thinking.

In 2006 Museum L-A’s Board of Directors hired E. Verner Johnson, Museum Planners, to develop a Conceptual Master Plan. The planners met with hundreds of citizens – young and old; business, professional and community leaders; educators and students. A Community Forum titled “The Birth of a Museum” was held to gather direct input as to the future plans for a new Museum to preserve the rich heritage of the community.  From this input, the planning document defines the core programs and activities of the Museum, develops the stories that the Museum will tell, documents the spaces needed to purse these programs and generates preliminary budget estimate that can be used for setting fundraising goals.
Museum L-A inspires a strong, vibrant, and resilient community that sustains a strong identity. 

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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