#FarmingtonNH Historical Society’s 70 Year Anniversary Dinner-Curator Kyle Leach #Video

I’m looking forward to people turning out tonight to help us celebrate 70 years of preserving Farmington’s history! 

The Farmington Historical Society 70th Anniversary will have a Celebration Dinner this evening, November 22, at 6:00 PM at the Farmington Country Club. The event is now sold out! The dinner will be catered by Darlene and Kim Cardinal,
and feature apple stuffed maple BBQ chicken breast. A vegetarian option
or apple stuffed squash.

I’ve put together a very brief presentation of the history of the Farmington Historical Society, which I know will be interesting and engaging for everyone. You can view it further down in this post.

Proceeds from the event will help continue our mission and aid work in the Museum of Farmington History. Having local support is instrumental in building a sense of community and belonging in Farmington, as well as to showcase the great work the Farmington Historical Society is doing for the Town of Farmington. 

Digital Record, Museum of Farmington History, Donated by Richard Marsh

The annual dinner this year is a fundraiser for the organization. Fundraising helps to make our annual scholarship possible and pays for online Museum of Farmington History hosting. Donations help to pay for professional restoration of artifacts. In the recent past they have also paid for digitization projects. Each donation also helps us get closer to our goal of being able to find a space of our own. 

Please email questions about the event to farmingtonnhhistory@gmail.com and leave a message for the society President, Stan Freeda. 

If you would like to make a donation of any amount to the society, please send a check, made out the the Farmington Historical Society, to: 

Farmington Historical Society
Care of the Goodwin Library
422 Main Street 
Farmington, NH 03835
Attention: Society Secretary

At this time I would also like to thank the sponsors of our 70th Anniversary Celebration!

We are grateful for their generosity and dedication to the Society and Museum of Farmington History.

I also would like to thank Darlene and Kim Cardinal for catering our event at the Farmington Country Club!

Kyle Leach, Curator
Farmington NH Historical Society
Museum of Farmington History

Read the full transcript:

Good evening everyone. Thank you for coming to the 70th Anniversary dinner for the Farmington Historical Society.

It is traditional for the curator of the Society to give report of what has been happening in the Museum of Farmington history for our annual meeting. Instead of giving a full report, I’m going to tell you a little about the founder of the Society, Mary Cloutman.

I’m sure most of you already know in November of 1949 the Farmington Historical Society was created. Well, it actually started as a combined effort of two towns, Farmington and New Durham, and thus the organization was called the Farmington-New Durham Historical Society.

The goal was of the nascent organization was to explore and document the history of the two towns.  To “seek out the oldest homes and burying grounds and whatever else pertained to the history of the area,” to borrow a phrase from the November 1999 Puddledock Press, covering the

 Farmington had already lost most of the early recorded history of the town and early donated effects, when the Opera House, containing the library, burned to the ground in 1928. Large collections of records also perished in floods in the early twentieth century. There was a real need to find, collect, organize, restore, and prepare for long-term care of Farmington history and artifacts relating to life in Farmington.

  The joint society chaired many events together and hosted more speakers than anyone cares to count. They invited historical writers, restoration artists, and amateur historians to add to the knowledge of the organization. Eventually, after several decades of working together, they separated into two successful town societies, to focus exclusively on their own towns.

 Though this was a collaborative effort, make no mistake the person behind gathering support for and organizing the society, was Mary Cloutman.

 Mary Cloutman was the embodiment of a community organizer. She was well educated, a hard worker, generous with her time, and creatively inclined.

 It’s hard to gather much about Mary’s youth from the historical record, but what is lost to the sands of time from that period was most certainly dwarfed by who she became later in life.

 People were fond of asking Mary to play the piano, often as accompaniment to a singer with a beguiling voice. Drama was one of her passions and she worked on everything from costumes, to sets, to staring in local productions. Mary’s statuesque figure meant she was frequently asked to model clothing and often helped to pull together local fashion events.

 I do not want you to think that all there was to Mary Cloutman. She worked until she married. She was directly praised during WWII for her efforts in teaching and building med kits for the war aiding in producing so many, they talked about her work in the paper. She was politically active for most of her life and there is hardly an organization in town that did not benefit from her efforts during her life. She sat on many committees, chaired many efforts, and was an officer on many local boards.

 The historical Society wasn’t the only organization she cared about tremendously, she also committed herself to the Farmington Woman’s Club.

 Please remember that when Mary Cloutman made the push for forming the Farmington Historical Society the first set of  women had only had the right to vote for thirty years and the remaining women wouldn’t get the right to vote for another fifteen years. Life was challenging, especially for women and Mary stepped up to that challenge.

 Later in life Mary turned her attentions to helping the national Women’s Club organization, often going to DC for months. I think Mary saw there was still a long road ahead for helping women organize and find their strength, calling, and passions.

 She was a truly remarkable person. I’m sure now you can see why I felt it was necessary to applaud Mary during this occasion.

 Before I let you go I do want to sing a few more accolades.

 My efforts in the Museum of Farmington history would not be nearly as successful or nearly as enjoyable if I did not have the help of Sharon Turner, who labors to sort, identify and research items in the museum. She is an invaluable collaborator. Please give her a round of applause. If I were there I would give her a standing ovation.

 I would also be remiss if I did not ask you to applaud Society members Joann Doke, Joyce White, and Paula Gail Boyer for supporting me in my efforts to keep the museum open for Hay Day and other special occasions for townsfolk to have an opportunity to see our work.

 Thank you so much for your time and for supporting the museum and the society by attending. I hope you are enjoying the evening.

 Goodnight everyone.


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Author: Kyle

Kyle Leach is an Artist, Poet, Blogger, Gardener, Museum Curator, & Community Activist.

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