MHS to Process CMP Collection

July 19, 2010

Maine Historical Society Awarded Grant to Process Central Maine Power Collection

The Maine Historical Society (MHS) has been awarded a Museums for America by the Institute of Museum & Library Services to process and provide access to the Central Maine Power (CMP) collection, one of the museum’s largest and most important recent acquisitions.

The CMP collection—donated to MHS by the company in 2002 and physically transferred in 2004—provides a case study of rural electrification in Maine from 1890 to 1998, one of the great technological transformations in American life. The collection is vast, consisting of approximately 1,878 objects and 1500 linear feet of archival material. It includes early electrical equipment and appliances; advertising, marketing and public education materials; and extensive documentation of the politics, economics, and business practices of the utility industry in the 20th century.

According to MHS Executive Director Richard D’Abate, the CMP Collection will be a resource of major significance to researchers in Maine and beyond and provide critical insights into key aspects of economic development and domestic life in the state. “This project will establish physical and intellectual control over the collection, provide comprehensive information about it online, support key goals of our strategic plan, and lay the groundwork for substantial scholarship, exhibition, and programming at MHS. Significantly, the CMP Collection provides valuable context for contemporary efforts to develop alternative energy sources in Maine.”



“Appliance and electrical store, Central Maine
Power,” c. 1920

Description of image; As early as 1916, CMP set up appliance stores
to sell products using electricity. The company operated stores in Augusta,
Brunswick, Dexter, Greenville, Rockland, Union as well as other towns.

For more information:

Maine Historical Society

489 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101


The Maine Historical Society promotes the understanding and enjoyment of Maine history.

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About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

Categories: collectibles, headlines, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine Historical Society, museum news, preservation, restoration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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