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Franco-American Collection hosts History Fair

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The Franco-Americans of Lewiston celebrated St Jean-Baptiste Day with a parade on June 24, 1897; the Franco-American Collection of L-A College will celebrate the French-Canadian holiday with a Franco-American History Fair on Saturday, June 21.

USM’s Franco-American Collection will host a Franco-American History Fair on Saturday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to noon at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College. The event will feature exhibits from Maine historical societies, libraries, museums and genealogical groups with a Franco-American connection.

Those attending will have an opportunity to explore the diversity of the Franco-American experience in Maine by visiting the exhibitors’ booths and asking questions of the experts. The event will also be an opportunity to explore USM’s Franco-American Collection, which will be open to the public for tours. Throughout the course of the morning, short presentations will be offered on historic topics. Visitors are encouraged to bring their family treasures to be identified or valued and to learn about how best to preserve them for the future. The Collection and other participants will have items for sale.

“St Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24 is the French-Canadian national holiday, so we wanted to celebrate Franco-American history with an event around that date,” says Collection Coordinator James Myall. “A first for Maine, this event will be a great opportunity for novices and old hands alike to discover more about Franco-American history in our state.”

Confirmed exhibitors include Lewiston Public Library, McArthur Public Library of Biddeford, the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society, the Franco-American Women’s Institute, the Biddeford Mills Museum, the Castine Historical Society, and the Pejepscot Historical Society of Brunswick. Several other exhibitors are expected.

The event is free and open to the public; no registration is necessary. Refreshments will be provided. The fair will take place in Room 170 of USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College at 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston.

For more information, contact the Collection at 753-6545 or franco@usm.maine.edu, or see www.usm.maine.edu/franco.

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