June 04, 2020
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Tools of the Spirit at Dennys River

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This year’s exhibit at the Academy Vestry Museum in Dennysville features “Tools of the Spirit”—physical objects that have been used in the Dennys River area to express a sense of connection with what is unseen, yet enduring. From the powdered hematite of the “Red Paint” people, a form of iron oxide, to liturgical furnishings, to musical instruments, the people of Eastern Maine have found creative ways to represent the world of the spirit.

Assembled under the direction of the Dennys River Historical Society’s Museum Committee, this year’s exhibit follows two summers of presentations devoted to the experience of the Civil War at Dennys River. “We felt it was time for a change,” says DRHS President Ronald Windhorst, who is curating this collection, which also includes a number of items used by the Dennysville Congregational Church, where he serves as pastor. He notes: “It is important to remember, that our associations with the world of the spirit go far beyond any particular encounters in church or other religious places.”

A centerpiece of the exhibit is a large, second issue of the original King James Bible, known as the Great “She” Bible, from the correction of a misprint in the Book of Ruth. It was preserved for the people of Eastern Maine by Sid Barht, a resident of Pembroke, as a memorial to his wife Hazel. “He found it in New York City,” recalls Windhorst, “ but wanted it to be available to the people down east, knowing how much this particular text has been used by the people here.” Barht also commissioned a handsome wooden Bible box, based on seventeenth century designs, which was made by the late Elliot Fishbine, a local artist and cabinet maker.

The exhibit “Tools of the Spirit” is open every Saturday afternoon at the Academy/Vestry Museum on Main Street in Dennysville from 1 to 4 p.m. through Columbus Day. Arrangements can be made to visit at other times by calling 726-3905, or writing to drhs@myfairpoint.net for more information. Admission is free to the public.