Monthly Archives: November 2015

Letter to the editor: Shaker museum sharing videos of forum speakers

From the Portland Press Herald, Nov. 16, 2015

Full-length videos of three talks in the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum’s recent series of speakers — the Sid Emery Memorial Forum — are posted on our website at We encourage teachers to incorporate them in their course curricula and the interested public to view them.

The series of talks started Aug. 3 and ended Oct. 25. It included talks by:

  • Anita Sanchez, author of Mr. Lincoln’s Chair, who discussed how the Shakers obtained conscientious objector status from President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
  • Richard Judd, co-editor of the new Historical Atlas of Maine and a professor at the University of Maine, who related the history of the book and talked about a “renaissance of Maine history” since the 1990s.
  • Native American historian and artist George Neptune of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, who tells the stories of early peoples in Maine and used his own artistic baskets in weaving the tale. He is an educator at Maine’s Abbe Museum.

Unfortunately, filming of the first talk in the series was unproductive because of technical difficulties.

That talk was by James Harmon, director of the Sanford International Film Festival and teacher at Sanford High School. He described his developing interest in filmmaking since childhood and how Sanford established the festival.

The Friends of the Alfred Shaker Museum are grateful to Harmon’s student film club and to Patrick Bonsant of Saco River TV for filming the presentations in the series.

We also thank the Maine Humanities Council, Kennebunk Savings Bank Foundation, Alfred Historical Society, and two private donors for supporting the series. We also appreciate the collaboration of the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society in co-hosting these events.

Barbara Carlson
President, Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum

Shaker Museum to Show Film on Buxton’s Local History


In an addition to this summer season’s programming, the Alfred Shaker Museum will screen Buxton, Maine: An American Story on Sunday, Nov. 15 , at 1:30 p.m. at the museum. The video is a production of Saco River TV’s director, Patrick Bonsant, and Matthew Fletcher, with support from the Narragansett Number One Foundation.

Bonsant will provide an introduction to the film before the screening. He and Fletcher taped, produced, and edited the film.

The film involved three years of work for Bonsant, who grew up in central Maine. He holds a BA in communications and media studies from the University of Southern Maine and enrolled in a seven-week program on video and film at Media Workshops in Rockport. He has worked as an evening editor at an ABC affiliate and has served as a media specialist for community tv networks in Portland and Gorham. He joined Saco River in Hollis as its director in 2007. Another documentary he produced, Saco River Indian Cellar, was a community film selection for MPBN three years ago.

While the current film focuses on Buxton, “the personal stories and the historical narrative will resonate with anyone who grew up in a small New England town,” he said. The narrative captures the distinctive history and development of much of Maine and its people. Since the full video is more than 2½ hours long, the Alfred museum’s screening will excerpt roughly the first 95 minutes for this presentation.

The film begins in the 1700s with the Native Americans and the first settlers and their families. With beautiful photography and a strong narrative, the film shows the emergence of dominant individuals and families, livelihoods, and industries over centuries and presents interviews with experts and current residents to capture its past and comments on its future. Many cultural institutions cooperated in the effort.

There will be no charge for viewers to see the film, but donations will be accepted with appreciation.

“We are very grateful that Patrick Bonsant offered us this program,” said Barbara Carlson, president of the Friends of Alfred Shaker Museum. “It is both insightful and enlightening.”

Museum Curator Linda Aaskov, who has ancestral roots in Buxton, noted that the production “might be said to be part of that ‘renaissance of Maine history’ that Sid Emery Memorial Forum speaker Richard Judd of the University of Maine recently cited in his Forum talk as a development of the last 20 years or more.

Videos of three presentations in the Forum series are now posted on the museum’s website. They include talks by Authors Anita Sanchez and Judd, and one about the history of Maine’s Native Americans by George Neptune of the Passamaquoddy tribe. The Forum co-hosts — Alfred Shaker Museum and the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society — hope that schools in Southern Maine will incorporate viewings of these talks in curricula for their students.

Museum Hours:

Museum Hours: 1 PM – 4 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and by appointment.

Closing for the season on November 11.

Admission: Free. Donations are gratefully accepted.

We are dog-friendly. Well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome in our building.

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