SACO — Beginning this weekend, the Saco Museum will show a new permanent exhibition, “Making History: Art and Industry in the Saco River Valley.”

The show, which will be on view at the museum, the Dyer Library and the Saco Transportation Center, documents the history and tradition of making items in the Saco River Valley from the 17th century to today.

The exhibition is eclectic and reflects the diverse nature of the Saco Museum’s collection, said museum director Jessica Routhier. The museum has long been a steward of objects made and used in the region that includes Saco, Biddeford and Old Orchard Beach.

The range of material is wide, from taxidermy to fine art and furniture. There are American Indian artifacts, tools used in river factories and logbooks written in sea captains’ hands alongside modern machine parts and medical implements made in the region today.

“The vast majority of the material for this exhibition came from our permanent collection, which is the point of the show,” Routhier said. “We want to give a broad view of the history of this area, and tell it through the thread of this place.”

“Making History” is funded by a Preserve America grant administered by the National Park Service, the Maine Humanities Council and other donors. A reception will be held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday, and will remain on view long-term.

The exhibition explores several themes, all centered around the idea of making things: “Making Contact” explores early settlers; “Making Waves” examines shipbuilding and seafaring; “Made for Trade” explores commerce and industry; “Made in the Mills” focuses on factories; “Made in the Shade” is dedicated to tourism; “Making a Home” explores domestic life; and “Making a Difference” goes to the theme of preservation and conservation.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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