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LEWISTON, ME - Museum L-A will present a new and final installment to its “Portraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations” exhibit with a display featuring L.L.Bean. A reception celebrating the display is scheduled on Thursday, April 12, from 5-8 p.m., is open to the public and free. At 6:30 p.m. following light refreshments, L.L.Bean Senior Manager Manufacturing Jack Samson will make a presentation entitled “Guaranteed to Last: 100 Years with L.L.Bean.”

L.L.Bean operates its boot-bottom molding operation in Lewiston, and produces all of the rubber bottoms for its legendary Maine Hunting Shoe and Bean Boot at the facility. Nearby, at its Brunswick, Maine factory, the company still manufacturers its most iconic products - the Maine Hunting Shoe, Bean Boot and Boat and Tote Bag.

“This is a great finale to our shoe exhibit,” notes Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Museum L-A’s executive director. “It fits in so well with what we are doing – now and in the future.”

“We are excited to be included in the Shoemaking Skills of Generations exhibit. L.L.Bean’s Maine Hunting Shoe has evolved over the years, but L.L.’s original design remains the same. Our employees’ skilled craftsmanship and commitment to quality remain key to the boots’ popularity,” says L.L.Bean’s Jack Samson.

Current and former workers in the shoe industry are invited to have their photographs taken during the reception. These images will be incorporated into “The Many Faces of Shoemaking” wall collage greeting visitors to the “Portraits & Voices” exhibit.

In 1911, Leon Leonwood (“L.L.”) Bean returned from a hunting trip tired of cold, damp feet with a revolutionary idea. He enlisted a local cobbler to stitch leather uppers to workmen’s rubber boots, and created the Maine Hunting Shoe® – changing outdoor footwear forever. His innovative product started the mail-order company that is known world-wide, and transformed the quiet village of Freeport into the premier shopping destination it is today.

A lesser-known piece of the merchant’s beginning was his early business as a young family man in Auburn, Maine. Selling trousers on Main Street in 1902, through W.H. Moody’s shoe store, L.L. and his brothers began a working relationship with the business community and craftspeople of the Lewiston-Auburn community that continues today with local residents comprising a large part of L.L.Bean ‘s workforce.

The exhibit offers a glimpse at a local aspect of L.L.Bean’s history during the company’s 100th Anniversary year celebration, and complements the rich tradition of shoe manufacturing in the Twin Cities community. The “Portraits & Voices: Shoemaking Skills of Generations” exhibit is scheduled to run through the end of June.

The L.L.Bean display includes:

  • Display cube featuring trousers and artifacts from early 1900, like those sold when L.L. had his early business interests in Auburn. The sides of the cube feature pictures from the period: the Auburn storefront, L.L. Bean and his brothers, the horse drawn buggy from which he sold trousers and an excerpt from his book describing his life at that time.
  • The second display cube includes present-day items - L.L.Bean 100th Anniversary Bean Boots and Boat and Tote Bags currently sold. Photos capture the company’s Lewiston Boot Molding operations along with descriptions and photos of area employees who work at the L.L.Bean Manufacturing in Brunswick.

About Museum L-A

Museum L-A, the Story of Work and Community in Lewiston-Auburn, connects history and generations – past, present and future with national award-winning exhibits, programs for all ages, and special events. The Museum’s mission is to strengthen community and connections by documenting and celebrating the economic, social and technological legacy of L-A and its people. Located in the historic Bates Mill at 35 Canal Street, Museum L-A is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visit or follow Museum L-A online on Facebook, Twitter or at www.museumla.org. Connect by phone at 207-333-3881 or email at info@museumla.org .

About L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. While its business has grown over the past 100 years, L.L.Bean still upholds the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. To celebrate the company’s centennial, L.L.Bean is reigniting America’s passion for the outdoors, with donations of nearly $3 million to organizations that engage young people and their families in outdoor recreation. Over the past 10 years, L.L.Bean has given nearly $26 million to local, state, regional and national conservation, human service, education and arts organizations. L.L.Bean products are rigorously tested, guaranteed to last and always shipped free. The 200,000 sq. ft. L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. L.L.Bean can be found worldwide at www.llbean.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.