The Private Library project is coming along. Of all the work done on the Stewart Library Building this has been the most complex, requiring many decisions along the way. We hope to see the construction and display portion complete and open to the public in a few months.
This photo above is a panorama of the museum side of the Private Library room. You can see the three new display cases, the glass divider, and part of the book collection. Some books and artifacts will be on display to the public in the cases.
The two, tall bookcases on the other side of the room originally had doors, but they were removed many years ago. We found two of them in the basement, still usable. Although the rest of the doors were found, most of them had deteriorated and could not be salvaged for use. Nickerson & O’Day had Holden Cabinet and Millwork build four new doors to match the originals that could be used.
In this photo you can see the workers from AD&W installing new tempered glass in the original doors. The newly constructed doors are behind them on the other bookcase, with glass already installed.
It turned out that before the doors could be installed some work was needed on that bookcase itself. Over the years it had tilted to one side and was no longer square. The books were in the way and had to me removed from the shelves. Workers straightened the bookcase and put in shelf supports and installed the doors. The books will be replaced soon.
The doors will protect the books but the large glass openings will allow visitors to see the collection.
Volunteers are working with Candace Kanes, an independent historian, and Brewster Buttfield, a museum exhibit designer from Prospect Design in Portland to develop and set up the displays in the cases. Here you can see Jim Louder and Donna Lambert working with Ms. Kanes to test the fit of a book in a display drawer.
The displays will use selected books, photographs, and artifacts to tell the story of Levi Stewart, his family, the building, and the collection. The displays will also include graphic panels with text and pictures.
This project is funded through grants from The National Trust for Historic Preservation – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors, The Maine Humanities Council, The National Historical Publications and Records Commission – Historical Collections Grant Program, and by contributions from Carl and Linda Smith, Eric and Laura Smith, and other donors committed to the preservation of the Levi M. Stewart legacy.