The Boothbay Area Maritime Foundation hosted its Maritime Photo Exhibit and Exhibit on August 19 at the Boothbay Harbor Opera House. The silent auction of 38 photos began on August 6 and is sponsored by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation initially issued last summer before the show was canceled due to COVID-19.
BRMF President Deanne Tibbetts said the auction represents a demonstration of community support beyond ensuring maritime access to the waterfront via Carter’s Wharf. The Foundation is also setting up a database of historical photos to keep alive the memory of the history and maritime heritage of the region. Without a building, the digital collection is available for anyone to browse and use in school projects and programs, local history activities, research and genealogy.
âThe BRMF board of directors was looking for a way to preserve and share maritime heritage with others (it is) accessible to all and free of charge (and) to improve and extend the wonderful local resource of the Boothbay Region Historical Society, âTibbetts said. âWe also really wanted to focus not only on fishing, but also on boat building, various boat trips and all of the business aspects of the history of the waterfront.â
The project began in 2019 when Tibbetts called the Penobscot Maritime Museum to ask if there was any interest in the concept and archivists Kevin Johnson and Matt Wheeler were immediately wowed. The partnership took off on the first âDigitization Dayâ held in November; the efforts brought Elaine Jones of the Department of Marine Resources to the table with 165 photos as well as participation from the Boothbay Area Historical Society, 100 photos of Boothbay Register editor Kevin Burnham, 89 by Joanna Breen of the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library and 116 donations from the Stickney family and many others.
Johnson from PMM attended the reception and said the vast partnership the project has created has so far uploaded more than 400 photos and another 400 ready to be scanned, mostly from DMR and the Historical Society. âWe already have the largest collection of photos in the state with a lot of this stuff in the databaseâ¦ We were able to work not only with Deanne but with the Boothbay Region Historical Society and help digitize some of their. photosâ¦ Then the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library and Boothbay Register got involved. So it grows. “
Tibbetts said the show wouldn’t have been possible without Cathy Sherrill and Kevin Kiley of the Opera for organizing the show and helping put together the collection. The show will run until September 30 and is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on performance evenings. The auction winners will be announced at the end of the last screening. Tibbetts and Johnson said the more than 400 photos in the digital gallery may also be reproduced by PMM, although use is determined by donor preferences and may be limited to personal use only.