2018-04-27 / Community

Museum opens for season

By Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society

The South Portland Historical Society is opening its Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park on Saturday, April 28. Exhibits have been added and updated for the 2018 season and we encourage residents to come down for a visit. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year’s rotating exhibit continues with the theme, “Our People: At Work and Play,” but with new photographs and artifacts pulled from the archives of the historical society. The exhibit offers a view of the lives of ordinary people who have lived and worked in South Portland in years gone by. If you’re new to the city and want to understand more about South Portland’s blue collar history, this is a must see.

One of the projects the historical society is working on is documenting the history of the South Portland Police Department. That project started with the incredible gift of police artifacts and information from retired officer Louis Brown last year. I continued research through winter and spring with the assistance of genealogist Jackie Dunham. We have been further assisted this spring by Lt. Frank Clark of the department, as well as retired officer Sam Longanecker. While that research continues, we will offer a glimpse of those findings as part of this year’s “Our People” exhibit. We are still seek both current and former South Portland Police Department officers to help us as we work to document the history of the department and the men and women who have protected and served our community. If you are retired from the department and would like to help, contact the society at 767-7299 or sphistory04106@gmail.com.

The society would like to thank the following businesses for sponsoring this year’s “Our People: At Work and Play” exhibit: Eaton Peabody Attorneys at Law, Marc Gup Real Estate Group, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance and Town & Country Federal Credit Union.

In its main exhibit room, the museum features an exhibit that covers 100 years of shipbuilding in South Portland. From the heyday of wooden ship building in the mid-1800s to the hectic activity of the Liberty shipyards in the 1940s, South Portland has a long history of shipbuilding. Indeed, the Knightville neighborhood owes its name to Thomas Knight, a master shipbuilder who worked in one of the several shipyards that once occupied the waterfront in that area. Ferry Village was also home to several shipyards, as was Turner’s Island. The South Portland Shipyards exhibit is sponsored again this year by Bath Savings Institution.

We extend our thanks to all of these businesses, as well as the many other businesses that support the historical society with memberships and event sponsorships. The museum will again be open with free admission this year. Let us not take that for granted; free museum admission is one of the many benefits made possible by the support of people in the South Portland community who appreciate history and the need to preserve it. If you would like to help, please stop by the museum to pick up a membership brochure, visit us at www.sphistory.org where membership information is available, or give us a call at 767-7299 to become a member with a credit card. Thank you and we hope to see you at the museum this year.

Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo is executive director of South Portland Historical Society.

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