July 24, 2013

Southard Museum to reopen for Richmond Days

By Susan McMillan smcmillan@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

RICHMOND -- As the town celebrates its 190th birthday this weekend, Richmond history once again will be on display at the Southard Museum.

click image to enlarge

Carolyn Case and her husband, Fred, plan to reopen the Southard Museum for Richmond Days this weekend. The Southard has been closed since Carolyn's father, Wilbert Cooper, died in 2006. The house and barn oat 75 Main Street features antique tools and items from Richmond's history.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

click image to enlarge

Antique planes on display at the Southard Museum in Richmond, which is planning to reopen this weekend for Richmond Days.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

The revamped museum's reopening on Saturday is one of the highlights of this year's Richmond Days, which begins with a children's parade Friday evening and culminates in a fireworks show Saturday night.

The Southard Museum, named for the shipbuilder who commissioned construction of the mansion in 1870, closed in 2006 after the death of its historian, Wilber Cooper.

Cooper's daughter and son-in-law, Carolyn and Fred Case, have since moved back to Maine full time, and Carolyn Case said she's received several requests to reopen the museum. They've restored the gallery space, redesigned exhibits and added new ones, as well as artwork.

The museum features a collection of antique tools and several exhibits on Richmond history, including shipbuilding, the ice industry, the Etonic shoe factory and veterans. Case said they plan to add multimedia presentations and host speakers.

"We're trying to make it a real museum that will give visitors a real personal experience," she said. "We're really incorporating a lot more of the history of the town, and we're really trying to find things that especially local residents can really relate to."

The Southard Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, with a 2 p.m. presentation by Maine State Museum Chief Archaeologist Bruce Bourque about the Red Paint People, a civilization that lived more than 3,000 years ago in New England and Canada's Maritime Provinces.

Hereafter, the museum will be open on the first Sunday of each month into the fall, though Case said hours could be extended.

"We're going to really wait and see what kind of response we get from the community at Richmond Days before we make a commitment," she said.

Victoria Boundy, community and business development director for Richmond, said the town has a very interesting history, and she thinks the Southard Museum's reopening will be welcomed by many people.

This year's Richmond Days will continue several popular activities, such as pontoon boat rides, lobster crate races, a fireman's muster and tours of Swan Island.

One new event this year is a juried arts and crafts show from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Front Street. Boundy said there will be 11 tables of work for sale or on display.

"If you're looking for sort of old-fashioned family fun in a real small town, right on the water, we have a beautiful waterfront, and the weather's supposed to be great," Boundy said.

The children's parade is at 6:30 p.m. Friday, while the main parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. Several musicians will play at the gazebo during the day, and comedian Tim Sample will perform on Saturday at Richmond High School, prior to the alumni banquet.

The fireworks are scheduled for 9:15 p.m. Saturday.

Susan McMillan -- 621-5645


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