The Maine Antique Dealers’ Association presented a check for $1,000 to Jean Lawrence, president of the Waldoborough Historical Society on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
The Waldoborough Historical Society was established in 1968 to collect and preserve the town’s history. It has been integral in cementing the town’s legacies through displays of art and artifacts that celebrate its shipbuilding history, and its place as the originator of the distinctive “Waldoboro rugs,” whose three-dimensional aspect is prized by collectors.
The Maine Antique Dealers’ Association, according to its website, is the oldest organization devoted to the antiques trade in the nation with an endowment fund in place “to promote education in, and knowledge of, historical Maine arts and decorative arts.”
The endowment allows the association and its members to “return some token of their resources to our larger Maine community, its citizens, and its art and historic institutions.”
Harry Hepburn of Harrison, chair of the endowment fund, presented the check, along with board member and Bremen resident Christopher Stanley.
“We’re so happy to be able to help organizations that promote the history of the state of Maine,” Hepburn said. “As antique dealers we love this history.”
The endowment has funded a number of projects and organizations throughout the state, including Maine Maritime Museum, Joshua Chamberlain House, and the reconstruction of the Virginia, Maine’s first ship.
Stanley said that antique dealers and pickers who comb estate sales, flea markets, and garage sales in search of treasures from the past play an important role, finding objects that tell the history of a time or a community and ensuring they are preserved.
Lawrence said the money from the Maine Antique Dealers’ Association will enable the society to make the West Waldoboro Community School building, which it acquired in 2018, handicapped accessible. Lawrence plans to repair the front steps and add ramps to both the front and back of the building.
The West Waldoboro Community School is one of the few historic schools still left in the town, and one of the oldest. The West Waldoboro Community Club deeded the building to the Waldoborough Historical Society to ensure its preservation.
The society currently uses the school for storage and as a space to hold indoor yard sales to raise funds that maintain the historic buildings both in West Waldoboro and at the museum on Main Street.
“We don’t have money to buy anything,” Lawrence said. “It’s all by donation.”
Residents support the museum by donating quality items for its indoor sales and by participating in raffles and online auctions. The society has an upcoming auction on Oct. 2 featuring buoys decorated by artists that reflect the character of Waldoboro.
Residents also help build the society’s collection. Several key pieces at the museum, including a display of Sylvania light bulbs, and a newly acquired box to hold harness racing gear from Harold Ralph Stables have been found at garage sales, in barns, or salvaged from older buildings and gifted to the museum.
Lawrence said she is excited to receive a clock that originally hung at the Waldoboro School. The clock is in Virginia, but the owner is downsizing and is donating the clock, saying “it’s time it came home.”