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Two One-of-a-Kind Artifacts

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Society Museum

A museum’s collection can contain everything from items used in everyday living to one-of-a-kind items that are specific to one geographic area. Two such items have been donated to the Millinocket Historical Society in recent months. One is a “plaque” and the other a roll of paper!

The plaque is made from a piece of birch bark, approximately 12” x 10”, with a thin wood homemade frame and is dated May 31,1957. It was made by the Ripogenus Dam school students for their teacher at the end of the year. The bark is signed by the students (June Tweedie, Donald Holland, Rickey & Ruth Angotti, Carleton & Richard Norris, Quenten Clark, Paul, Peter and Charlie Pray, Robert Tweedie, Terry Johnson, Frances & Becky Boutaugh, Nicky Collins). The message reads: “Dear Teacher, We would like to have you back next year.” The teacher was Lana Gagnon and the plaque at some point ended up at her Greenville home. Some years later, a friend of the museum (Bradford Edwards) aquired it and donated it to the museum. The teacher, Lana Gagnon lived at Chesuncook Dam and traveled to Rip Dam for the school sessions.

The school was built about 1950 when the McKay Power Station was put into operation. The students were children of the men running the power station and children of the dam keeper, a forest ranger and a game warden. This school was open until the late 1950’s when the McKay Station power site became automated.

Quenten Clark, one of the students, visited the museum last week and provided some information and a great photo of the 1957 students. Another photo of an unknown small group of children supposedly from the Rip Dam School, date and names unknown, was provided by the Moosehead Historical Society. We are still hoping to get more of the students in the photos identified and also obtain a photo of the school!

The McLeod history of GNP also mentions a small building used as a school in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The state supplied the teacher.

The roll of paper is another “one-of-a-kind” item. It is a section (8” high and 12” diameter), and is from the last roll of paper to come off #11 paper machine at 5:35 AM on September 2, 2008. Next to the core can be seen a portion of the very last piece of paper made on that machine. The outer paper has signatures of a number of employees and others who happened to be in the area at the time this last roll was manufactured. This artifact was donated by Robert Erickson.

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