A History Walk and Talk program sponsored by the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit is a perfect outdoor activity and coincides with the organization’s 65th anniversary celebration this fall. SUBMITTED PHOTO

WELLS — The Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit celebrates 65 years of being incorporated as a cultural organization, with an early evening program and Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 5:30 p.m.

An 1862 Meetinghouse is the headquarters of the Historical Society of Wells & Ogunquit and is the heart of what began as one town in 1653. Light refreshments will be served and the community is invited to a special program to mark the 65th anniversary of the organization with “Museum Renew,“ a presentation of special guests and tours of the new galleries.

Julia Einstein, Administrator for the Historical Society, describes the process of the behind-the-scenes work of painting, designing, and re-installing the collection galleries as the “Museum Renew” project was in full force.

“This fall we are thrilled to open our new and improved Meetinghouse Museum,” Einstein said. “It is a brighter space, with high visibility labels, and newly re-printed photo reproductions, as well as a new gallery: Native Stories. How fitting to come as we celebrate 65 years for the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit’s collecting and preserving the history of our towns.”

Visitors to the Sept. 24 event will be guided through a series of vignettes that tell the stories of historic Wells and Ogunquit in five thematic galleries. Objects and artifacts that range from a 1754 wedding slipper made from English silk, to an 1864 Civil War drum, have been cleaned, placed onto new pedestals, and re-hung.

Displays have been modified to be accessible for wheelchair visitors and interactive installations have been designed for families with young children to enjoy.

Advertisement

“The Annual Meeting is a great chance for our friends and members to enjoy our beautiful Meetinghouse and find out what we’ve been doing over the past year,” said Irene Crocker, Chair of the Board of Directors. “There will be time for discussion too. We would like feedback from our community on how we’ve been doing and will ask for ideas for what you’d like to see us doing next year. It’s free to attend so mark your calendars – we’re looking forward to making this a real community event.”

Wells Town Historian Hope Shelley, who has recorded the history of the organization, looks back to March 1954, “when we started with seven officers, and a five-member Board of Directors held five meetings per year.”

Through the decades the group has grown to have monthly meetings, a yearlong schedule of programs, community and school outreach, and weekly tours of a newly restored Meetinghouse Museum.

Also this month, the Historical Society will have another of their popular programs, History Walk and Talk on Saturday, Sept. 21.  Participants will take a tour of the historic cemeteries of Ogunquit.

The tour will be led by Sonny Perkins, who has history in Ogunquit as he is descended from a long line of Perkins in the town. Perkins helps to care for, and preserve the historic cemeteries. He also serves as a director on the Board of the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit, and organizer of their annual fundraiser, “Woodies in the Cove.”

And, on Saturday, Oct. 19, the organization will present the popular walking tour of the Tatnic Hill in Wells with historian and author Joe Hardy. Hardy is a long standing environmentalist, and one of the founders of the Great Works Regional Land Trust. He is the author of “History of a Maine ‘Little River,'” “Settlement & Abandonment on Tatnic Hill: An Eclectic History of Wells, Maine, 1600-1900,” and “Four American Stories: Emigration and the Lure of the West.”

With his family, Hardy has lived for many years on the Hill Road, the old “Way to Wells” from South Berwick.

These programs start at 10 a.m., at the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit on 938 Post Road (Route One) in Wells. The cost is $5, and is free for members of the Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit.

Those interested are advised to call or email to reserve a spot at [email protected] or call 646-4775.

filed under: