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LEWISTON - It's time to get a first or final look at Museum L-A's two current special exhibits, Portraits & Voices: Brickyard Roads and Rivers of Immigration: Peoples of the Androscoggin. Admission will be free on August 31 - the final day for both exhibits. The rooms will then be prepared for Portraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations, slated to open Sept. 25. The Museum's permanent exhibit on the second floor will be open during the transition period.

"It's your last chance to see these exhibits as they are now," noted Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Museum L-A's executive director. "We plan to move some elements of both exhibits upstairs to our permanent exhibit rooms and the artifacts and photographs on-loan for these exhibits will be returned," Desgrosseilliers continued.

Brickyard Roads is the second in the Portraits & Voices series based on oral histories of workers in Lewiston-Auburn's textile, brick and shoe-making industries. This exhibit tells the story of the local brickmaking industry with first-person oral histories, documentary photographs, films showing the process - past and present, specially-commissioned artwork celebrating the art of brickmaking and more. Desgrosseillers noted that the exhibit has been a great success connecting generations as the younger folk learn about the back-breaking, manual work done by elder generations and how technological innovations have enabled modern-day plants like Morin Brick in Auburn to mass produce quality bricks in a fraction of the time it did in the past.

Rivers of Immigration presents an overview of Lewiston-Auburn's cultural diversity ranging from the mid-1800's through present day. This exhibit not only showcases the cultural diversity of the Twin Cities, but also reminds us that history repeats itself in the immigrant experience. Stories are told through photographs, personal histories and an interactive writing wall where visitors have added their own family's experience as immigrants. "It's been wonderful to see how this exhibit and programs have served as a bridge to understanding between people of different cultures," Desgrosseilliers said. "They've been a 'safe, neutral' place for people to ask questions and learn about each other and get to know each other," she continued. "We had hoped this exhibit would have this type of impact on the community and so pleased to see that it did."

Collaborating with the Museum for this exhibit were Catherine Besteman, Professor of Anthropology at Colby College, Anne Kemper, Counselor/Coordinator of the Lewiston Adult Education Adult Learning Center, as well as members and leaders of the local Somali Bantu community. Several photographs illustrating the timeline were donated by local families to help tell the stories of their Irish, Italian, Greek, French-Canadian and Lithuanian ancestors who settled in Lewiston-Auburn.