Why A New Museum?
Museum L-A has embraced the people who made Lewiston-Auburn, honoring their skills, paying tribute to their lives and showing their role in the nation’s heritage. As our institution grew—adding paid staff, mounting exhibits and developing programs—our mission grew. During this time the museum has been generously housed in the Bates Mill Complex. Our future home in the historic Camden Yarns Mill building—located on the Androscoggin River bonding Lewiston and Auburn together, at 1 Beech Street—sits at the juncture of the region’s proud industrial past and forward-thinking future: the nexus of Museum L-A’s work.
Moving to Camden Yarns creates imperatives for us that reflect Museum L-A’s growing significance in the community as an interpretive institution. They include our:
- Sustainability as an institution;
- Capacity to contribute to Lewiston-Auburn’s distinctiveness, pride and sense of place, and competitiveness as a place to live, work and visit;
- Endurance as a touchstone for contemporary audiences, even as demographic and cultural shifts makes them a moving target.
The opportunity goes beyond the additional square feet; Camden Yarns enables Museum L-A to expand activities while remaining consistent with our ongoing work. Museum L-A’s calling reflects commitment to:
- Authenticity – telling real stories that celebrate real places and people, using real objects;
- Sharing – understanding audiences for programs, exhibits and other museum initiatives—as well as understanding the people yet to discover the institution— because inspiring and educating people lies at the core of Museum L-A’s work;
- Ongoing Relevance – ensuring that Museum L-A experiences give people tools to make better sense of the world and themselves, not merely transmit information;
- Service as Community Change Agent – helping boost Lewiston-Auburn and encourage people to build on its past, celebrate the present and invest in its future.
We are excellent at using local stories to illuminate Lewiston-Auburn. Camden Yarns offers the space and the platform to use those local stories to illuminate matters of national significance and universal human character. That, in turn, suggests that we, Museum L-A, can serve broader audiences, moving beyond our current patronage—those with a personal connection, be it the abiding interest of those with deep community roots or the fleeting consideration of a tourist—to engage anyone interested in the nature of work and its relationship to people and place. This expanded mantle enables us to increase our role as a destination and economic development driver. Moreover, it gives Museum L-A a launch pad to participate in community development affairs: to help shape the experience of Lewiston-Auburn today and tomorrow.