Mission & Vision
The mission of the Camden-Rockport Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and display historical artifacts, photographs, and documents pertaining to the Camden-Rockport area.
The six-building campus of the Camden-Rockport Historical Society provides an opportunity for visitors to walk through the 18th and 19th century buildings and to become familiar with everyday life of a Maine farm family. The homestead is a 1780s dwelling built by Simeon Tyler, a Revolutionary War veteran and one of the earliest settlers in the Rockport area. It was subsequently modified by the Thorndike and Conway families, and the home has been maintained as an example of early 18th and 19th century life in midcoast Maine. Local history is interpreted and presented through tours of the fully restored and authentically historic complex.
Throughout the year, a number of events exploring and discovering the historical heritage of the area are presented for people of all ages. These programs, lectures, and activities are open to the public. Collaborative efforts with other historical groups, schools, neighboring communities, retirement homes, and other agencies are components of the Society’s outreach program.
The Historical Society provides the professional expertise of a trained archivist and librarian, along with dedicated volunteers, to properly house original documents, photographs, and artifacts in archival storage to care for the history of our shared community. These intangible benefits contribute to the sustainability and long-term accessibility to the town’s historical collections.
Organized in 1938, the Historical Society acquired the Thorndike homestead in 1961. The 1770s-era home was repaired, furnished with authentic household items and opened to the public.
Antique furniture and farm equipment on display reflect the time period. Also on the property are a blacksmith shop, 19th-century barn, and a working maple sugar house.
The museum contains historical photos, ship models such as the massive “Minnie Gurney,” vintage clothing 1800s-1960s, antique quilts, and other artifacts related to the history of our Camden and Rockport communities.
“It Began With A Bugle”
Camden-Rockport Historical Society
Newsletter Summer 2013
One day in January, 1938, a letter turned up at the Camden Post Office addressed to the Camden Historical Society. There being no such organization, Mr. John L. Tewksbury was called in. It seemed that Mr A.P. .Ripley, a musical instrument dealer in Melrose, Mass. had a sterling silver bugle which the ladies of Camden, Maine had presented to Mr. Paul Stevens in 1858 when he was leader of the Camden Band. Mr. Ripley would only sell it to an Historical society and for $60. So, Mr and Mrs. John Tewksbury, Mr. Leon Crockett and Mr. Horatio Stevens (Paul Stevens’ son) formed the Camden Historical Society.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ripley had moved to New Brunswick, Canada and the C.H.S. was told there would be a 100% duty if the bugle were to be sent to the US. So Mr. Stevens, Mr and Mrs. Crockett and their young daughter Margaret drove up to Canada and purchased the bugle for $60 and gave it to the C.H.S., a very novel beginning for any historical society. ( from the 1st newsletter of the Camden Historical Society in 1963