KHS News

Kennebunkport Historical Society awarded Employee Vibrant Community Grant from the Corning Foundation

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (April 29, 2020) – The Corning Incorporated Foundation has made an Employee Vibrant Community Grant of $1,000 to the Kennebunkport Historical Society. Arundel resident Denise Stevens, who works at Corning as a cell culture lab technician, has volunteered for the Society since 2014. Stevens applied for the one-time grant in January.

“It would be impossible for the Kennebunkport Historical Society to deliver its programs and services without the support of our loyal volunteers, members and donors,” said Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp. “This grant from the Corning Foundation has come at a particularly critical time, as the economic impacts of the pandemic are being felt across our community. We are extremely grateful that Denise applied for the Employee Vibrant Community Grant on our behalf, and to the Corning Foundation for their support.”

The Employee Vibrant Community Grants program began in 2018 as a celebration of Corning Incorporated Foundation’s 65th Anniversary. Due to its success, it became an annual program in 2019. The program encourages employees to nominate eligible non-profit organizations for a $1,000 grant, which allows the Foundation to invest in the non-profit organizations that mean the most to Corning employees. A complete list of the 2020 grant recipients is available on the Foundation’s website at www.CorningFoundation.org.

Kennebunkport Historical Society Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp received a check for $1,000 from the Corning Foundation.

Arundel resident and Corning employee Denise Stevens has volunteered at the Kennebunkport Historical Society since 2014. She applied for a $1,000 grant from the Corning Foundation to benefit the Society.

One for the history books – The Kennebunkport Historical Society is collecting Pandemic stories

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (April 14, 2020) – The Pandemic of 2020 will go down in the annuls of history as a time when people’s lives were upended and forever changed. The Kennebunkport Historical Society is creating a record of how our local communities coped with the crisis, by collecting stories of what everyday people are doing in response.

“History is more than just dates and facts,” said Kennebunkport Historical Society Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp. “What makes it fascinating are the personal stories that help to paint a picture of daily life and bring the past alive. They are a critically important part of the historical record. Years from now, when the Pandemic is a distant memory, future generations will want to understand how we lived through it.”

What are you, your family and friends doing differently during this unprecedented time?  Are you making masks?  Planting a vegetable garden?  Taking online exercise or yoga classes?  Participating in Zoom gatherings?  If you are willing to share your stories with the Society, please email them to info@kporths.com.  Be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number should Society staff have questions.  Stories will be archived and may also be published on the Society’s website and social media channels.

Virtual volunteers helping Kennebunkport Historical Society transcribe archived records during Pandemic

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (April 8, 2020) – With people sequestering at home during the Pandemic, the Kennebunkport Historical Society’s Archivist, Sharon Cummins, saw an opportunity to engage local history buffs.  In March she put out a call looking for “virtual volunteers” interested in transcribing handwritten records which can be difficult to read.  The response was overwhelming.  Every day, Cummins emails scanned pages from notebooks in the archives to nearly 20 volunteers who are creating typewritten copies for the Society.

“Over the years handwritten information about historic buildings throughout Kennebunkport has been collected,” said Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp. “These records are used frequently by members of the Society doing research, and we have been gradually transcribing the material to make it easier to work with.  Sharon had the brilliant idea to reach out and ask people with extra time on their hands during the Pandemic for help.”

“I have been amazed at how many people have raised their hands to help with this project,” added Cummins.  “The work these volunteers are doing will make the information in our archives more easily accessible to researchers and homeowners interested in learning about the history of the community and their property.  We can’t thank them enough!”

If you are interested in transcribing some of the Society’s records while you are sheltering in place, please contact Sharon Cummins at kennebunks@gmail.com.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

We have begun to see cases of COVID-19 in Maine, here at the Kennebunkport Historical Society we are taking procedures to keep our employees, volunteers and visitors safe. While our office at 125 North Street will remain open at present, we are asking anyone not feeling well to stay home for the safety of others. We can easily be reached by email at director@kporths.com or by phone 207-967- 2751. In the event the office is closed we will be working remotely and will return any message in a timely manner.In the meantime, we will be following the CDC guidelines and thoroughly wiping down frequently touched areas.

We have cancelled all meetings and activities scheduled through April 30th. That does include the April Art Guild of the Kennebunk’s Art Show at the Town House School. The April 7th lecture on Frank Handlen will be postponed and we will be reassessing future lectures as they get closer. These are unprecedented times and we will do our best to inform you of changes to our schedule of events. It is our responsibility to do our part in keeping everyone safe.

Kennebunkport Historical Society and Local Musicians to Offer Acoustic Concert Series at Town House School

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (March 2, 2020) – The Kennebunkport Historical Society, in partnership with locally renowned musicians Monica Grabin and Dana Pearson, is presenting an acoustic concert series this year called Mid-Week Music. Singers Grabin and Pearson will perform multiple music genres playing guitar, banjo, piano, bass, autoharp, harmonica and ukulele, though not all at the same time!

Concerts will be held in the Society’s Town House School located at 135 North Street in Kennebunkport on the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. from May through December. Tickets are $15 at the door.

“We’re so excited to be able to host Mid-Week Music at the Town House School,” said the Historical Society’s Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp. “It’s a perfect venue for concerts. The acoustics in the School really lend themselves well to the kind of music that Monica and Dana perform.”

“We have planned an eclectic mix of themed concerts to appeal to a broad range of musical tastes, including folk, country, the Beatles and Elvis, so there is something for everyone,” added Pearson. “We are kicking off the series with music by Bob Dylan on Wednesday, May 20. We look forward to performing in such a unique venue.”

The full concert schedule includes:

May 20 – Nothin’ But Bob (Dylan)
June 17 – Country Music
July 15 – The Beatles
August 19 – Girl Groups!
September 16 – Originals (with Mark Gunter)
October 21 – Elvis! (with Mark Gunter and Jim O’Neil)
November 18 – Grab Bag (whatever they feel like playing)
December 16 – A Very Dana & Monica Christmas

Monica Grabin and Dana Pearson, both of Kennebunk, met nearly 30 years ago when Grabin and her husband Bill were hosting the Kennebunkport Folk Club song swap. After playing informally and recording together for several years, they began performing publicly in 2013 as First Person Plural. After a string of appearances at Elements: Books Coffee Beer in Biddeford, they put on a series of concerts at the Unitarian Church in Kennebunk and the Wells Branch Community Hall in Wells.

For more information visit www.kporths.com/events, email info@kporths.com or call the Historical Society at (207) 967-2751 ext. 105.

Local musicians Monica Grabin and Dana Pearson will be performing an eclectic mix of acoustic concerts at the Kennebunkport Historical Society’s Town House School the third Wednesday of every month from May through December.

International Recording Artist Jane Morgan Weintraub Makes Surprise Appearance at Kennebunkport Historical Society Lecture

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (September 11, 2019) – The audience gathered for a Kennebunkport Historical Society (KHS) lecture by Board member Albert Black about The Kennebunkport Playhouse on September 3 was pleasantly surprised by a special guest appearance from international recording artist, actress and KHS member Jane Morgan Weintraub. Mrs. Weintraub’s brother, Robert Currier, founded The Kennebunkport Playhouse to bring summer theater and entertainment to the community. The Playhouse was located on River Road across from the Cape Arundel Golf Course before it burned to the ground the evening of October 29, 1971. The cause of the fire was determined to be arson.

“The Society was deeply honored to have Mrs. Weintraub in attendance,” said KHS Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp. “The Kennebunkport Playhouse lecture was part of our series A Walk Through History, and nothing brings history alive for people more than firsthand accounts about places and events. Mrs. Weintraub graciously shared memories of her brother Bob and the annual performances she gave each summer at the Playhouse. It was a real treat for the audience.”

Legendary stars like Joan Fontaine, Myrna Loy, Diana Barrymore, Russell Nype, and Van Johnson thrilled local audiences with their Playhouse performances through the years. Mrs. Weintraub was a regular, wowing theater goers each summer with her one-woman show, dancing and singing her popular hits like Fascination, which was released in 1957 and remained on the charts for 29 weeks. Her career spanned six decades and included live performances, radio, TV and appearances on Broadway. Weintraub received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.

Diane Lent will present the next lecture, Haunted Kennebunkport, in the Society’s A Walk Through History series on October 1 at the Town House School located at 135 North Street. The lectures are free and open to the public.

KHS Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp (left) and lecturer Albert Black welcomed international recording artist, actress and KHS member Jane Morgan Weintraub (seated) to the Society. Mrs. Weintraub made a surprise guest appearance during Mr. Black’s presentation about The Kennebunkport Playhouse, which was founded by Weintraub’s brother Robert Currier.

Publicity photo for Jane Morgan Weintraub.

The Kennebunkport Playhouse was founded by Robert Currier. It burned to the ground on October 29, 1971.

Kennebunkport Historical Society Hosts National Archivist David S. Ferriero

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (September 4, 2019) – On August 29 the Kennebunkport Historical Society (KHS) welcomed David S. Ferriero, archivist for the National Archives and Records Administration, to discuss a four-phase project it has undertaken with the Maine Historical Society (MHS) to digitize the KHS’s extensive collections. Ferriero, who is also a member of the Society, met with Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp, KHS Board member John Zimmermann, and Henry Caiazzo, an archivist with the MHS.

“It was an honor to spend the afternoon with Mr. Ferriero,” said Camp. “It’s natural to think of the Society’s collections as having a mostly local audience. But he encouraged us to think globally. With so much information available through the internet, people around the world are only a click away from discovering and enjoying Kennebunkport’s rich maritime history. I am so grateful for his insight and encouragement as we prepare for the Society’s future.”

The digitization project will help protect and preserve the KHS collections for future generations and improve remote access to them through the Society’s website. Mr. Ferriero discussed the importance of the project and the digitation process that the National Archives has undertaken.

“I’m pleased that I finally got a chance to visit,” noted Ferriero. “The Kennebunkport Historical Society has great collections that need to be made discoverable. I’m happy to see their commitment to making that happen.”

Mr. Ferriero was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed as 10th archivist of the United States on November 6, 2009. He is the first librarian to serve in this position. Prior to joining the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Mr. Ferriero served as the Andrew W. Mellon director of the New York Public Libraries (NYPL). He has also held top positions at two of the nation’s major academic libraries, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Ferriero earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s degree from the Simmons College of Library and Information Science, also in Boston. He served as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War.

During his visit, Mr. Ferriero invited Ms. Camp and Mr. Caiazzo to Washington, D.C. to tour the NARA, meet with other archivists there, and learn more about the NARA’s effort to preserve and protect our national archives.

About the National Archives and Records Administration

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only one to three percent are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by the NARA forever. For more information about the NARA visit https://www.archives.gov/about.

The Archivist for the United States, David Ferriero (left) met with Kennebunkport Historical Society (KHS) Executive Administrator Kirsten Camp and Maine Historical Society Archivist Henry Caiazzo recently to discuss their efforts to digitize the KHS collections.