As you may know, Bar Harbor Historical Society ⇗ purchased the La Rochelle property on West Street in Bar Harbor in 2019. And, the Society recently became a member of the History Trust by a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors. And lastly, Executive Director Carolyn Rapkievian brings to La Rochelle extensive expertise in museum collections from her time with the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

Imagine, then, my amazement in watching a recent Chebacco Chat episode in which she and Raney Bench, Executive Director of the MDI Historical Society, discuss and visually tour the exhibition displayed at La Rochelle. I spent a pleasant and informative hour going through the exhibits last week. People, it is amazing! It is a MUST SEE.

Posted by Mount Desert Island Historical Society on Thursday, August 20, 2020

Chebacco Chat, August 20: Carolyn Rapkievian, Director for the Bar Harbor Historical Society with items from their collection

One thing stands out to me as I think about the History Trust mission—two institutions that formerly had little interaction are now talking to each other, sharing what they have, and celebrating the accomplishment. Institutions evolve!

So, as we of the Trust work through the necessary organizational steps of formalizing governance and membership and nonprofit status and financial support, please keep this outcome in mind.

Meanwhile, let’s get to know one another even better by visiting our members’ historical sites. There is still time left this summer. Get out and see for yourself what we are all doing to tell the histories of our beautiful islands!

~ Photo: Dinning room exhibit, La Rochelle Mansion & Museum, Bar Harbor Historical Society (photo by Sue Anne Hodges).

A native Mount Desert Islander, born in 1941 Bar Harbor, with family roots extending back several generations, Bill attended local public schools, Dartmouth College, Jefferson Medical College, and went on to specialize in General and Trauma Surgery where, “I learned the value of systems organization and collaboration.” Retirement in 2007 allowed Bill to research family and island history, and to write. He concluded that a collaborative approach to collections research, preservation, and sharing was a critical element in organizing and stewarding our islands' stories and histories. First came Friends of Island History, then presidency of the MDI Historical Society, and finally, the History Trust.