2014-01-24 / Community

Warm up with museum’s ‘Love Stories’

First Families Kennebunkport Museum to host Valentine’s exhibition
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — For those without solidified Valentine’s Day plans, the First Families Kennebunkport Museum will host “Love Stories”— a depiction of past and present love stories in Kennebunkport, including the near 70-year marriage of President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush.

Located at 8 Main St. at White Columns, First Families Kennebunkport Museum opened its doors in July. Operated by the Kennebunkport Historical Society, the museum tells the stories of some of the first families to settle in Kennebunkport.

“As part of our new addition with the museum, we’re trying to develop a year-round program of activities and events, and thought Valentine’s Day was a chance to do something warm in the cold of winter,” said Kennebunkport Historical Society Vice President Tim Stentiford.

There will be two portions to “Love Stories,” Stentiford said. On Friday, Feb. 14, there will be an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m., complete with local sweet and savory treats, live music and cocktails.

“It’s being designed as a place to come and meet new friends or join old friends as part of your Valentine’s Day celebrations with your sweetheart and still have room to go out to a fine restaurant in the area after,” Stentiford said.

The “Love Stories” exhibition will display artifacts from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, as well as the George W. Bush Library and Museum in Dallas.

Artifacts such as photos and personal mementos will be featured.

“The idea of ‘Love Stories’ is to recognize the enduring love and marriage of George H.W. and Barbara,” Stentiford said. “They started dating in 1941, over 70 years ago. I think they’re the longest married president and first lady in our nation’s history.”

2. Hitting a more personal note, the exhibition will also include archival photos and artifacts of love stories, new and old, from Kennebunkport.

“Sarah Beard of Cape Porpoise has been working with some of our archivists in the vault of our historical society and has come up with some wonderful love stories over the ages of Kennebunkporters,” Stentiford said.

Stentiford referenced one love story that was recorded in 1895.

A reporter for the Boston Daily Globe, J.N. Taylor, traveled to Kennebunkport to report on the 75th wedding anniversary of Sarah and Joseph Manuel. Sarah was 93 at the time and Joseph was 97.

“The affection they have for one another is obvious,” wrote Taylor, who then asked the couple, “’Have you always lived happily?’”

“’Yes, indeed,” Sarah said. “I loved him when I first saw him and have loved him ever since. When he dies, I want to die, too, and be laid right alongside of him.’”

Funding for the exhibition came from a private donation of $1,000 from Katrina Swift, Stentiford said.

Admission to Friday’s reception is $35 per person, in advance or at the door. On Saturday and Sunday, the museum will be open for tours. Admission is $10. All proceeds will benefit the historical society’s community outreach and preservation programs.

For more information, call 967-2951.

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