Maine Mineral and Gem Museum oral history project will give voice to miners and collectors
The Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, scheduled to open in 2013 in Bethel, is inviting the public to participate in an Oral History project to represent the human side of Maine’s mining history, according to a press release from the museum.
MMGM will gather, archive and document the stories of people who have significantly contributed to the history of mining and field collecting in the state of Maine.
“We believe that these stories are worth sharing and saving for future generations. They will enrich the Museum’s visitor experience by piecing together individual stories that contribute to a much larger understanding of this unique and fascinating history,” said Project Coordinator Barbra Barrett.
Over the next several months, MMGM will conduct oral history video interviews. The information will be archived, used to guide exhibition development, and will help to represent the cultural heritage associated with the minerals found in Maine. MMGM is seeking involvement from the public to ensure the museum reaches as many people as possible.
The project team may be recording 50 or more video interviews. “Our goal is to be inclusive, we don’t want to forget anyone. This is a story about the people who made our mining history and we would like to make it complete,” said Barrett.
MMGM will be the first museum whose primary focus is on gem and mineral mining in Maine. Exhibitions will concentrate on Western Maine and the mineral discoveries in Newry, Albany Township and Buckfield, to name a few of the most significant discoveries in the state.
The museum will have thematic exhibits showcasing Maine gemstones and mineral specimens. “Woven into the exhibits will be the tales of the people who were the first to lay their hands on some utterly fantastic discoveries of tourmaline, beryl and quartz. We want to do more than just show the public these specimens, we want visitors to know what it was like for the people who found them,” said Barrett.
The staff would like to hear from field collectors and miners who have participated or who know of others who have played a significant role in Maine mining, past and present.
To learn more, call 824-3036 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The museum’s website is www.mainemineralmuseum.org.