Category archive: History

07/05/2018 – "Picnics and Shore Lunches," new exhibit

Picnics and Shore Lunches Exhibit at Outdoor Museum is Sure to Satisfy Visitors


Oquossoc- The old-time cartoon character Yogi Bear had a famous line that was often shared as he and his “little buddy”, Boo Boo, raided campsites which became his standard by-line; “Hey Boo Boo what’s in da pic-a-nic basket?” Visitors to the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum will soon be better able to answer that question for themselves about how picnickers of the past enjoyed dining outside thanks to a brand-new exhibit. Picnics and Shore Lunches set to open at the popular museum in Oquossoc on Friday June 30 th. The new exhibit will share how folks in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries cooked and dined outdoors, through a collection of unique vintage equipment and photos. And yes, there might just be an old bear marauding bear disrupting the delicious “meal” of an exhibit that is sure to satisfy. All the artifacts and images all have backgrounds in the region and have been collected over that past two years by the museum’s staff. “Dining outdoors was a big part of how folks enjoyed the outdoors and occupied their vacation time here in the region and that is still true today of course, but perhaps to a lesser degree”, shared Museum Director, Bill Pierce.

The exhibit was touted in the May issue of Downeast Magazine as being something “that will appeal to not just outdoor enthusiasts but also to Foodies”. The Historical Society hopes that the new exhibit might inspire visitors to perhaps enjoy a few more meals out of doors this summer? It features an interesting mix of vintage equipment including early coolers, nifty folding tables & chairs, picnic baskets and a cookware set for preparing “shore lunches” that was once owned by local legend Capt. Fred Barker. The exhibit also shares a series of vintage images of various shore lunches that took place between 1905 and 1915 along the Upper Magalloway for guests of the Parmachenee Club. The charming images from glass plate negatives have not seen the light of day for over 100 years!

The premiere marks the sixth new exhibit the museum has opened thus far this season. “We are pleased that three out of the six new exhibits were aimed at folks who may not hunt or fish at all, because the history of the outdoor experience in this region is quite diverse and we feel that this exhibit shares another aspect of that”, added Pierce.

The Rangeley Lakes Historical Society is a 501c3 Non-profit operating the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum as well as the Rangeley History Museum to help preserve and share the region’s iconic history. The Society’s programs and exhibits celebrate the region’s unique character and heritage through the dedication of its volunteers, generosity of its members and without tax-payer support. The Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum is open 10-4pm, 7 days a week in July and August. The Rangeley History Museum opens June 29th from 11 to 4pm Tuesday-Sunday. For more information, please call: 207-864-3091 or log on to:


Rangeley Historical Society receives $10,000 grant

RANGELEY- The Rangeley Lakes Region Historical Society has received a generous $10,000 grant from the H. King & Jean Cummings Charitable Fund. This grant, sponsored by the Maine Community Foundation, will help the Society by ensuring the position of a joint curator to work between the Historical Society’s two museums, the Rangeley History Museum and […]

Free workshop focuses on Rangeley history

RANGELEY — The Wilhelm Reich Museum’s summer nature workshops are coming to a close. The final workshop this summer will be held Sunday, Aug. 27 with longtime Rangeleyite Ron Haines, who will be giving an accurate account of how the year-rounders and the visiting folk have coincided for many more

Movie Initiative to bring First-Run Movies back to Rangeley

Movies Are Magic! The RFA Movie Initiative

A Fundraising Initiative to upgrade our digital projection and sound equipment to allow First-Run movies to return to Rangeley.

After a hundred plus years, the movie-going experience is embedded in America’s DNA. Movies offer the simple joy of expectantly settling into your theater seat and watching the screen come alive. They bring the sweet intimacy of sharing a show with your date, your friends or your children in the air-conditioned darkness on a hot summer day. They wrap us in warmth following dinner and a stroll through snow covered streets. Movies offer the perfect hangout for teenagers and the affordable opportunity for senior citizens to see a matinee. They light up the dark night and bring us together on a rainy day. The RFA Lakeside Theater, in the heart of downtown, is Rangeley’s movie house and center for entertainment, student programs and social activity.

Rangeley is home to generations of local families, relocated citizens, snowbirds, snow bunnies, retirees and seasonal families spending the entire summer. Rangeley is also a favorite with tourists, snowmobilers, outdoor enthusiasts, AT hikers, boaters, and day trippers. The region has a rich history of outdoor sporting. Our quaint downtown, with its friendly shops, restaurants, and local services is a destination for culture and commerce. Rangeley’s summer population grows nearly ten-fold and most visit downtown during their vacation. The Lakeside Theater stands in the center of it all offering a homey gathering place, where people of can connect and mingle on Main Street, appreciating the amazing vistas and fresh mountain air, taking in an art show, a performance or a movie, or stopping by a favorite place to share a café mocha, a pizza or a gourmet meal. It is all within walking distance.

Rangeley is loved by all of us. We are proud of our town and committed to making it the best it can be. That is why The RFA Lakeside Theater is responding to the community’s call to bring back first-run movies and why the Rangeley Friends of the Arts is behind this initiative to revitalize our downtown business district. In the past year, a focus group and multiple business owners suggested we help bring back first-run movies. Currently, to see a first-run show, community members have to drive an hour out of town and when they go, they take their spending power with them. Local merchants and service persons are suffering for the lost revenue. In the spirit of being good neighbors, serving our town and supporting the Arts, the RFA has pledged its efforts to promote becoming a first-run movie house. We plan to keep it local and make it great again!

In 2015 movie formatting changed dramatically. That’s when the industry adopted a digital format which requires that movies be shipped on a hard drive that is secured and accessed only by a specific type of connector. To show first-run movies, the Theater needs an expensive digital projector and needs to make upgrades to its existing sound system. Estimated costs are $50,000-$80,000 due to fluctuations in pricing for after-market equipment. Once the Theater has the equipment it still has to pay Licensing Fees, which range from $250 to $1000 per movie. Currently the RFA has the equipment to show movies on DVD/BLU RAY. That’s how the Theater has been keeping the big screen lit-up with classic favorites, special features and recent releases.

We are in a rapidly evolving film industry. Based on historical attendance data, admissions alone at $5 pp have not been able to sustain the costs of running a dedicated movie theater. Community theaters across the country have been diversifying in order to continue to succeed. Your financial commitment toward the purchase of new equipment is a good investment in the community’s social and economic health. It will provide necessary equipment the theater needs to become a full service, first-run movie house. It will enhance opportunities for Rangeley’s sustainability efforts.

A first-run movie theater:

• Brings teenagers into town and offers them an uplifting social experience
• Lights up Main Street and revitalizes our downtown business district
• Gives seniors and families accessible low-cost entertainment
• Broadens the Lakeside Theater’s repertoire. By becoming an arts center that also offers first run movies, it becomes a year-round destination that energizes downtown business activity.

The RFA has 50 years of organizational experience and fiscal management as well a dedicated board, staff and volunteers who want to meet the needs of the community. Since the RFA took ownership of the movie theater in 2013, the non-profit has expanded its programming and social services. The RFA is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our community and our business district.

Community volunteers, donors and local business owners are committed to providing their financial support to help purchase the new equipment needed for first-run movies, however, this is a tall order for a small town in rural Maine. We need your support. Your gift will turn this vision into reality. You will touch all of the lives that have made Rangeley such a special place for us to live, to work, to play and to treasure for the generations to come.

Click HERE to review preliminary estimates of the start-up costs and contract fees for the first year.

Once we reach the initial $80,000 goal, we will purchase the best products at the best prices at that time. All donations toward the new equipment are placed in a restricted account at Franklin Savings Bank in Rangeley. We hope you will join our community leaders in creating movie magic for our town. Thank you. The volunteers at the RFA appreciate your support. To Donate to this initiative, click Below.

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Traditional Matryoshka Nested Doll Making to be presented at Rangeley on Aug. 1 & 2

RANGELEY – Traditional Russian artist and lecturer Marina Forbes will be at the Rangeley Public Library on Tuesday, Aug. 1 and Wednesday, Aug. 2. On Tuesday evening, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Forbes will be giving a fully illustrated interactive talk featuring the history of Matryoshka nested doll making in Russia. Using a fully illustrated […]

Rangeley History Museum to open July 1

Rangeley History Museum to open July 1

RANGELEY — The Rangeley Lakes Region Historical Society will kick off another big summer season with events at both of its museums in celebration of the big Independence Day more

Sunday Nature Program: moose

Sunday Nature Program: moose

RANGELEY — The next Wilhelm Reich Museum free-of-charge, Sunday Summer Nature Workshop is about the Maine moose. Aug. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. attendees will learn all about Maine’s majestic moose

RRG&SA Junior Guides Program recipient of the 2016 Teddy Roosevelt Maine Conservation Award

The RRG&SA’s Junior Guides Program was recently recognized for outstanding achievement by offering children ages 9 through 12, as well as graduate Junior Counselors (ages 13-18) an exceptional outdoor skills education and experience. Sam Spaulding accepted the award on behalf of the RRG&SA.

“This program has done an excellent job of educating, preserving and protecting the future of our natural resources while sharing the rich outdoor traditions and history of the region,” said Bill Pierce, Executive Director of the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Rangeley. “The program has had alumni return every year as Junior Counselors who volunteer and help indoctrinate new Jr. Guides. In a word…it has created LEADERS.”

Pierce adds, “The children of the Rangeley community, often from single parent or overly-busy families that may not have otherwise had these experiences, have benefited greatly. Parents have witnessed its lasting rewards highlighted in the sun-kissed faces and rousing stories of their now empowered and confident children.”

The RRG&SA members thanks Elaine Holcombe, Education Director, and Joyce Fay, Administrative Director, for their efforts in making this program such an important community program.

Auction to benefit Phillips Historical Society

PHILLIPS – A fun afternoon of auction antics will take place this Sunday, Aug. 14, with Senator Tom Saviello as auctioneer. The auction, to benefit the Phillips Historical Society and their History House on Pleasant Street, will be held at 2 p.m. at the Phillips Area Community Center,at 21 Depot Street

Visit the Maine Forestry Museum

As the new President of the Rangeley Logging Museum (re: Maine Forestry Museum), the new Board of Directors and I would like to extend our invitation to you to come visit a page out of the history more