GCIHS Board of Trustees
- Phil Whitney, President
- Jim Singerling, Vice President
- Richard Beal, Treasurer
- Jennifer Walls, Secretary
- Nancy Wood, Corresponding Secretary
- Ingrid Gaither
- Miriam Hinnant
- Beverly Sanborn
Read about what we do in our Cranberry Chronicle newsletter
History of the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society
Incorporated June 22, 1993
The Great Cranberry Island Historical Society is dedicated to the collection, preservation, presentation, and study of the history of Great Cranberry Island, and its relationship to the surrounding islands. In the first few years after its founding, the society collected old photographs, interviewed local personalities, and published occasional papers such as interview transcripts and cemetery inscription lists. When Wini Smart was elected President in 1999, she realized the importance of having a fixed place to house and display the society’s collection – and its likely positive effect in bringing forth further artifact donations.
Plans were laid, and in the year 2000 the society opened an Historical Museum in leased space in the Longfellow School on GCI. Funds to open the museum came from the New Century Community Program, the Island Institute, and local donors. In 2002, thanks to the MBNA Foundation, the Island Institute, the Cincinnati Stock Exchange, and local donors, the society opened a Community Multimedia Center in the museum. Aware that the Longfellow School would eventually be reopened, in 2004 the GCIHS launched the Cranberry House project to construct a permanent home for the Preble-Marr Historical Museum and new Cultural Center in a building owned by the society. After a four-year fundraising effort, with almost $600,000 raised, Cranberry House opened to the public in June of 2008. In 2018, the Cranberry House includes a cafe and lively arts center, archives and museum exhibition spaces, and the grounds include a public trail to the shore, three gardens, and Sammy Sanford’s Cabin.
The purpose of the Great Cranberry Historical Society (AKA Great Cranberry Island Historical Society) (AKA GCIHS) is the collection, preservation, presentation and study of the history of Great Cranberry Island, Maine, and of the other islands that make up the body of Cranberry Isles. These include Little Cranberry Island (Islesford), Sutton Island, Bear Island, and Baker Island. GCIHS will promote this purpose by oral interviews, collection and care of materials, provision of facilities for the display and preservation of such materials, support for studies and publications, and other appropriate cultural enrichment activities. (From GCIHS By-laws Adopted 9 October 2011)
As a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization founded in 1993, the Museum’s collection serves to educate the public about the history of the Cranberry Isles through exhibits, websites, public programs, and events. GCIHS also serves as a resource for scholars, school children, and other interested parties. As part of its commitment to education, artifacts are loaned for exhibits and display to other museums and organizations that have facilities for the safe and accessible viewing of the loaned artifacts. The core collection focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries, but GCIHS also actively collects 21st-century artifacts pertaining to the Cranberry Isles.
(Read our Collection Policy and Procedures and Archives Emergency Recovery Plan for details.)