Heritage Museum

Visitors to the Franco Center are greeted inside our main entrance by a photo mural encapsulating in many ways the experience of these Franco newcomers

Visitors to the Franco Center are greeted inside our main entrance by a photo mural, encapsulating in many ways, the experience of these Franco newcomers Pierre Nadeau immigrated here from St. Georges, in the region of la Beauce, Quebec, Canada, circa 1930. He is seen in this mural with his wife Marie (Olivier) and their 10 children, Alice, Pierre, Louis, Roland, Carmen, Georgette, Gracia, Jeanette, Irene, Antonio, and Rose

Pierre Nadeau immigrated here from St. Georges, in the region of la Beauce, Quebec, Canada, circa 1930. He is seen in this mural with his wife Marie (Olivier) and their 11 children, Alice, Louis, Roland, Carmen, Georgette, Gracia, Jeanette, Irene, Onesime, Antonio, and Rose. Flanking the family portrait are photos of the Oxford Street houses opposite the entrance of the Franco Center as they looked during the same time period.

Heritage Museum

The Franco Center’s Working Museum

The Franco Center, filled not only with historical artifacts but with the activities of education, art, and participation, is a living museum. Our current work as an organization is a testament to all who worked to build this structure, and build its name and renown across the region.

With their emigration here, the French newcomers from the north and from across the Atlantic brought a wealth of customs and ideas that were indelibly transferred to this new location. We are honored to be the keepers and curators of these remembrances of people, events, passages, and progression from strangers to residents.

Our facility houses an archive of objects that help older residents remember and younger residents understand the ways of life that dominated this area of Lewiston known as “Little Canada.” The museum was started in 2005 after the major construction and renovation had finished in our Performance Hall. Our collection includes roughly 1000 artifacts, and the Musee displays are changed once or twice annually. All of the items on display have been generously donated by the community, and many of the photos adorning our walls are on loan from the Franco-American Collection, housed at the University of Southern Maine / Lewiston-Auburn College. Many of the artifacts have come from the younger generations of legacy Franco-families, established in the Lewiston-Auburn area for over 100 years.

Items range from household items to vintage clothing to handmade crafts to furniture and much more.  Religious items and uniforms from years gone by of many snowshoe clubs and other organizations popular in the early 1900’s to 1950’s are also represented in our displays. Photo albums, individual photos, newspaper clippings, old editions of “Le Messager”, trophies, plaques, and numerous miscellaneous items can be found in our collection. The theme that emerges from the collection is the life of a typical Franco-American family after they settled in the United States.  Through these artifacts, photos, clothing, etc. one can envision what a typical family in those days might have been like.

The museum is open during the operating hours of the Center, from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday thruogh Friday, and by appointment . Everyone is invited to come and tour the display during those hours. Concert attendees can also enjoy touring the displays, especially during intermission, at all of our events. Our staff is always on hand to offer a tour of our phenomenal facility, talk about the history, and walk our guests through the museum displays.

If a school is interested in viewing the displays, hearing a talk about the history of the Franco-American community and the thousands of French-Canadian immigrants that settled in Maine, Franco Center Executive Director Mitch Thomas can schedule a tour for you or your group anytime.


As it did for other immigrant communities, music played a huge role in helping newly arrived French-Canadians to hold on to aspects of their native country’s heritage and traditions. This case at the Heritage Museum displays old 78 rpm records, an album from a Quebec artist, percussive wooden spoons, booklets of sheet music, a recorder and photos of famous classical conductors (not all French).

Upcoming Performances

  • Mar

    Mainely Improv

    Heritage Hall

    Mar 3 - Mar 3

    7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

    On the Spot Comedy PhotoWhat do you get when you combine the improvisation style of the television show, “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” with a Maine-based comedy troupe that loves the art of improvisation?

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  • Mar

    6th Annual Maine's Got Talent 2017

    Performance Hall

    Mar 4 - Mar 4

    7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

    MGTlogo_2013Maine’s Got Talent  features 10 performing artists competing for cash prizes. Fifty percent of the vote comes from the audience and the other fifty percent from our celebrity judges. The celebrity Judges this year are Tom Doucette, 2014-16 performer of Maine’s Got Talent, Joe Philippon, Lewiston Police Department and Celeste from WBLM’s Morning Show.

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  • Mar

    Blowin' in the Wind – Pettingill Fundraiser

    Heritage Hall

    Mar 5 - Mar 5

    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Graphic - Denny Breau 3-5-17The music of Bob Dylan, Mamas & Papas, Simon & Garfunkle, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and other popular musicians of yesteryear is coming to the Franco Center in Lewiston.  On Sunday, March 5, Denny Breau presents the “Blowin’ in the Wind” concert

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  • Mar

    Piano Concert with Michael Lewin

    Performance Hall

    Mar 10 - Mar 10

    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    Michael Lewin at PianoThis Steinway Artist launched his concert career following victories in the William Kapell and the Franz Liszt International Piano Competitions.   Also highly respected as a teacher

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  • Mar

    MSO – Midcoast Symphony Orchestra – Pops at the Opera

    Performance Hall

    Mar 18 - Mar 18

    7:30 pm - 10:30 pm

    MSO Returns to the Gendron Franco Center with
    With Guest Conductor: Eric Hewitt
    Pops at the OperaMSO for 2007 Sponsor Sheet
    Strauss, Jr. – Overture to Die Flede maus
    Wagner – “Liebestod” from Triston & Isolde
    Bizet – Carmen Suite No. 2
    Ponchielli – “Dance of the Hours” from La gioconda
    Puccini – “Intermezzo” from Manon Lescaut, Act III
    Tchaikovsky – “Polonaise” from Eugene Onegin, Op. 24
    Verdi – “Prelude” from La Traviata, Act I
    Strauss – “Waltz Sequence” from Der Rosenkavalier

    For Tickets


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