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Historical Society to host open house; welcomes summer employees

FORT KENT, Maine – Those who remember when Fort Kent had something of a square dancing movement or those who never knew this pastime was once wildly popular in the area might enjoy visiting a Fort Kent Historical Society open house on Saturday, July 16 where a new exhibit will feature decades of local square dance memorabilia.

A new exhibit at the Fort Kent Historical Society includes decades of Fort Kent square dance memorabilia including these dancing clothes which belonged to Gil and Natalie Charette.

A new exhibit at the Fort Kent Historical Society includes decades of Fort Kent square dance memorabilia including these dancing clothes which belonged to Gil and Natalie Charette.

Another new exhibit to be featured at the open house depicts a history of banking in Fort Kent. These exhibits are housed in the new Paul D. Thibodeau Visitor’s Center, located on Market Street, in the building next to the train station.

The train station itself also holds a collection of historical memorabilia which visitors can view at the open house, including artwork by Fort Kent artists dating back to the 1800s and the original typewriter and safe which Bangor and Aroostook Railroad employees used to conduct business at the turn of the century.Another new exhibit to be featured at the open house depicts a history of banking in Fort Kent. These exhibits are housed in the new Paul D. Thibodeau Visitor’s Center, located on Market Street, in the building next to the train station.

Along with two new exhibits, the historical society also has two new employees.

Russel Nadeau and Tate Caron are spending their summer break from Fort Kent Community High School working three to four hours each day, seven days a week. The pair are offering tours of the train station and the Dube House, and helping with exhibits.

The Historical Society was able to hire Caron and Nadeau thanks to a grant from the Maine Acadian Heritage Council.

Russel Nadeau (left) and Tate Caron take a break from their duties working at the Fort Kent Historical Society on Tuesday, July 5.

Russel Nadeau (left) and Tate Caron take a break from their duties working at the Fort Kent Historical Society on Tuesday, July 5.

“When I’m learning about that family I’m learning about my own family,” Nadeau said. “When I’m giving tours, it’s my family I’m talking about so I’m very familiar with it.”

Caron, a 16-year-old senior, also has a seasoned Fort Kent family history. His family owns G and S Farms, and are seventh-generation Fort Kent potato farmers.“When I’m learning about that family I’m learning about my own family,” Nadeau said. “When I’m giving tours, it’s my family I’m talking about so I’m very familiar with it.”

“It’s sort of a way to be part of the community and learn more about my family heritage,” he said of his reason for seeking employment at the Historical Society.

Caron is currently helping to develop a potato exhibit featuring antique potato farming equipment and memorabilia.

Pelletier said he is continually impressed with the young employees.

“They’re excellent; two very good workers,” he said.

The Fort Kent Historical Society will host the open house from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 16  and will unveil a new sign for the Paul D. Thibodeau Visitor’s Center. The event is free to the public and cake and refreshments will be served.

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