Richard Anderson standing in front of his exhibit
Richard "Dick" Anderson

Please note that the exhibit is now closed for the winter! It will reopen in the spring. We will update this message when it reopens!

In the midst of the pandemic, in the summer of 2021, Dick Anderson and Don Hudson delivered more than two dozen file boxes of International Appalachian Trail documents, images, slides, maps, newspaper stories and more to the Maine Historical Society. Dick had kept track of everything in his home office for the first ten years of the trail project, and he handed it all off to Carol Gay when she became IAT Coordinator in 2004. When she was preparing to pass the baton in early 2018, Carol urged us to find a good home for this substantial record of the Maine Chapter’s work––with partners in Canada and around the North Atlantic––to establish the IAT. The whole lot traveled to Presque Isle with our second Coordinator Amanda Baker, and then to Don’s house a year later.

The IAT collection now has a home in the library of Maine Historical Society, behind the Longfellow House on Congress Street in Portland. Dick and Don worked out a plan with Jamie Rice and Tiffany Link of MHS’s curatorial staff to review all of the materials and prepare them for archival storage in the library. Jordis Rosberg was given the job, and as she carefully reviewed every document, image, and story, hatched the plan to create an exhibit about building the IAT. Jordis worked with Tilly Laskey, the chief exhibit curator at MHS, to create the exhibit.

Group of people at the exhibit at the MHS
Back (L-R) Steve Bromage(MHS Executive Director), Dick Anderson, Walter Anderson, Will Richard, Thomas Urquhart, Herb Adams; Front (L-R) Ed Friedman, Don Hudson, Cliff Young, Bill Duffy, Bob Marvinney, Cotton Joe Norman.

On Friday, December 8th, Dick and Don were joined by fellow board members past and present, including Walter Anderson, Bill Duffy, Cliff Young, Thomas Urquhart, Ed Friedman, Bob Marvinney, Will Richard, and William ‘Cotton Joe’ Norman in the exhibit hall on Congress Street. Cotton Joe was the first person to walk more than 2,000 miles on the IAT in Maine, Canada, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Scotland, Spain, and Morocco. Suffice it to say, the exhibit tells the story of building the IAT, and also provides a glimpse at the geologic heritage upon which the trail is built. The third component of the exhibit is of the trail through the eyes of some of the first people who walked it.

One of Maine’s foremost historians, former legislator Herb Adams just happened to walk through the exhibit hall when we were gathered there, and took the time to tell us of his boyhood friendship with Percival Baxter––a boy of 9 and a man of 90––and the role he played in crafting the legislation that provided for the acquisition of the Katahdin Lake unit for Baxter State Park in 2007. Herb was aware that the acquisition allowed for a connection to the park of the IAT.

Dick Anderson and Walter Anderson
Dick Anderson and Walter Anderson

The IAT exhibit will be closed later this month and then be open again in the springtime. If you live close enough to visit it, drop in soon. Or, if you are traveling through Portland sometime between the spring and early summer of 2024, take an hour and visit the Maine Historical Society

Cliff Young looking at the exhibit

Recommended Posts