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.
Our facility houses an impressive 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 2-3 times annually. All of the items on display have been generously donated by the community. In fact, 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. The overall theme emerging from the collection is about 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 was possibly like through their belongings that are on display.
The museum is open during the operating hours of the Center, from 8:30am – 4:30pm M-F. 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, or learn more about their ancestors and the thousands of Canadian immigrants that settled in Maine, Franco Center Executive Director Rita Dube can either go to your school or schedule a visit for you or your group anytime.