LEWISTON — The Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor is creating an exhibit to preserve the history of the community’s response to the mass shootings Oct. 25.

The items collected from around the city will be displayed at Maine MILL’s headquarters at 35 Canal St. until the end of the year.

Executive Director Rachel Ferrante said preserving them is important to the city’s culture and history.

“It’s really our responsibility to memorialize both the victims and the community’s response to what happened, hopefully as a way to help people heal and become stronger and move on,” Ferrante said.

A total of 18 people were shot at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley on Mollison Way and at Schemengees Bar & Grille on Lincoln Street the evening of Oct. 25. Thirteen others were injured by gunshots.

Two days later, police found the body of suspect Robert Card, 40, of Bowdoin in a recyclables storage trailer in Lisbon. A medical examiner ruled he died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.


Ferrante and local artist Tanja Hollander were separately having similar ideas when they came to the realization Oct. 26 there would be many memorial items to come.

The Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor in Lewiston displays items Monday it is collecting from public vigils and memorials since the Oct. 25 mass shootings in Lewiston. Organizers welcome any photographs or items from vigils or memorials. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“It seemed to make sense to preserve this part of our history and honor it,” Ferrante said. “It’s already an ever-growing thing.”

Maine MILL has a full-time staff of two, soon to be three, and about 10 volunteers, which makes the project a fairly heavy lift. The city and the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce have been monumental in identifying items and tracking down stewards of memorials, Ferrante said.

Hollander consulted with Boston Public Library curator Kristin Parker, who is also a cultural preservationist for conflict zones. Parker was able to provide information Hollander needed to go about collecting the items responsibly, she said.

Ferrante and Hollander are also working to preserve many of the pumpkin carvings from Sunday’s Just-In-Time Community Pumpkin Tribute. Hollander reached out to a group of artist friends who suggested 3D scanning rather than casting the pumpkins in plaster. That project is in the works thanks to a Biddeford man who is donating his time and expertise, Hollander said.

As time goes on, however, Ferrante and Hollander grow more anxious about what they might miss for the collection. Morning frosts the past several days continue to mar the many banners, signs and other delicate memorial fixtures around the city. The forecast is for rain Monday night into Tuesday and rain or snow Thursday.


Rachel Ferrante, executive director of the Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor, sets up a small sign Monday to memorialize the victims of the Oct. 25 mass shootings in Lewiston. The museum will create the exhibit at its headquarters at 35 Canal St. Ferrante said that only items donated or in danger of becoming damaged by the weather have been brought to the museum. They welcome any photographs or items from vigils or memorials. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Hollander is trying to be sensitive about when to take memorial items, which are continuing to be displayed.

“We want the memorials as people have been organically creating them to live as long as they can,” Ferrante said. “We’re balancing those two things all the time.”

Hollander said she still explains to people what she is doing and why it is important.

The explanations are well received, she said.

“As the history and culture museum, this was and is a big part of our history and culture and we have a responsibility to memorialize that appropriately,” Hollander said.

The exhibit will continue to the end of the calendar year, and all items and artifacts will then be preserved in storage until future exhibits.

Hollander said, “Any stories or items or documents people want to share with us that are about this moment” should get in touch with her.

Rachel Ferrante, executive director of the Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning and Labor, puts a heart into a setting on a white wooden cross Monday at the museum. Eighteen wooden crosses were put up by the Lutheran Church Charities’ Hearts of Mercy & Compassion at Main and Lincoln streets in Lewiston to commemorate each of the victims of the Oct. 25 mass shootings in Lewiston. The organization provided another cross and heart to the museum. Ferrante said the hearts, which have written condolences by the public, will be offered first to the families of the victims. Any hearts that are not wanted will go to the museum’s collection of memorabilia. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

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