The Star-Herald

Saturday tour to celebrate Presque Isle museum’s new grants, exhibits

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Historical Society will celebrate receiving two new grants, as well as the unveiling of new exhibits, during its next public tour of the 1875 Vera Estey House Museum at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 27.

The society recently received a $25,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation, which will be used to make repairs to the exterior of the house museum.  Built over 140 years ago, the house requires constant repairs especially with wooden clapboard siding.  

A second grant from the Leonard C. and Mildred F. Ferguson Foundation in the amount of $12,000 will allow the society to renovate the gardens at the house, which have virtually gone unused since the 1980s.  

During the July 27 tour, two new exhibits will debut: The Characteristics of a Victorian House and What is a Painted Lady; and Murderous Millinery:  Victorian Bird Hats. In addition, a new garden sculpture will be unveiled at 12:30 p.m.   

“The Ferguson grant is the start of a longtime dream for the garden, and the Society is very excited about what it means for the long term,” said Kim Smith, society board member.

With these funds, the society plans, in partnership with the City of Presque Isle, to begin turning the gardens into a “pocket park.”  A pocket park is a small park open to the public in an underutilized lot within easy access of downtown, Smith explained.

“Plans are to turn the berm on the north side of the house into a tiered flower bed, moving some of Vera’s beautiful tulips into that setting, adding benches and a small gazebo, and sculptures, thus providing the City its first public art,” she said.

The society wants the gardens to offer a beautiful and tranquil spot for reading, picnicking or meditating. Even outdoor weddings will be possible, for which there will be a small fee, said Smith.

“The total amount received was only half of the project budget, so additional fundraising will be required to complete the project, which includes five large pieces of sculpture. We are hoping to have the first phase done by next spring,” she added.

For information about touring the museum or about the historical society, visit www.pihistory.org.

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