We are happy to report that we received a wonderful response to the call for artists, makers, and collectors in our last newsletter submission, hearing from quite a few of our members and residents with offers of items and expertise for our summer theme, “Arts, Crafts, & Collections.” We are planning to start re-contacting those who responded soon to talk about how they can participate in our exhibits and programs this summer. In the meantime, here are some save-the-dates:
Starting June 14th we will be open again this summer on Thursday afternoons from 1-4 PM. We will also be open on Saturday, July 21st from 10 – 2, for Founders Day and on Saturday, August 11th from 10 -2, on the weekend of the Paris Hill Music Festival. Stay tuned for an announcement possibly adding another Saturday open date for June.
Thursday, June 28th at 7 PM will be our annual membership meeting at the PHHS building on Tremont Street. We are just starting to prepare our display cases with artistic creations from both our distant past and present which will be ready to view by our opening day, so be sure to come and get one of the first looks at the new exhibits. We will also serve refreshments. Not yet a member? You can become one by following the directions at the end of this article!
Tuesday, July 17th at 7 PM, at the First Baptist Church we will welcome Dr. Martha McNamara, Director of the New England Arts & Architecture Program at Wellesley College, to speak about the life and art of Pedro Tovookan Parris. Dr. McNamara will be giving a 45 minute presentation with a 15 minute Q&A session, after which we will have refreshments in the church hall.
Pedro Tovookan Parris was an ex-slave, captured in East Africa in the 1840s, taken to the slave trading hub in Zanzibar, then to another hub, Rio de Janeiro, where the ship he was on, the Porpoise, was reported to the authorities. Virgil D. Parris, then the United States Marshall for Maine, became involved in the case and eventually adopted Tovookan and brought him to live here on Paris Hill at the Parris House (now 546 Paris Hill Road). He became an artist, speaker, and member of the community. Tovookan was buried in the Knoll Cemetery, behind the Parris House, in 1860 at age 29 after succumbing to pneumonia. In our collection are the diaries of Arabella Rawson Carter, sister in law and sister, respectively, to Virgil and Columbia Parris, in which she chronicles Tovookan’s illness and death.
This is only a fraction of his story which is a remarkable piece of African American history in Maine and has been written about extensively. Dr. McNamara is working on an exhaustive contextual biography of Tovookan. Her research on his life has taken her all over New England and even to the UK and we are very excited to have her share her knowledge with us.
TBD, August: We are still determining the exact dates for our August event, which will be an art and craft exhibit featuring both antique and vintage items from our collection and private collections on the Hill, and contemporary works from some of the living artists and makers among us. We will announce all the details on this program on our website at www.parishillhistoricalsociety.org and on our Facebook page.
In keeping with our theme, we are also working on having beautiful Peg Doore reproduction note cards made that will be available for sale this summer and beyond. Sale of these cards will benefit the society and help support our programs while offering purchasers something truly unique and lovely as gifts or for personal use.
To keep up to the minute with everything that’s happening with the Paris Hill Historical Society, both during our summer season and the rest of the year, please “like” us to join our Facebook community at https://www.facebook.com/parishillhistoricalsociety/. This is a great way to interact with us and with others who follow our page because they love the village and its history.
If you would like to become a member, support our mission of preserving and promoting Paris Hill history, and possibly become more involved, please click here.