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Museum Hand Bill - Beckett's Hall, Calais, Maine | [No Artist Defined]
A hand bill for perhaps the earliest “museum” in this region located in Beckett’s Hall on Main Street in downtown Calais, Maine. It likely dates to the 1860s. This early short lived museum and exhibition space, a version of a cabinet of curiosities, featured all sorts of exotic artifacts and displays that were popular at the time: rare coins, books and pamphlets; rare minerals, fossils, geological specimens and shells; and preserved birds along with collections of swords and paintings. Admission to the museum and exhibition space was 25 cents with children charged half price. The museum was the brainchild of John Gregg Beckett, better known as J.G. Beckett, a businessman and entrepreneur, who was born in Scotland in 1828, the son of a confectioner. In the mid-1840s, J.G. Beckett moved to Boston and then a few years later in 1850 to Eastport, Maine where he started a bakery. A year later, he relocated again, this time to nearby Calais, Maine where he resumed a bakery and added a confectionary in downtown Calais. There he remained for several years until late 1858, when he abruptly shut down his business and returned to Scotland to recruit emigrants to Canada. Three years later, in 1861, he was back in Calais and resumed his bakery and confectionary business. It during this time following his return that J.G Beckett opened his short lived museum and exhibition space. In 1870, a great fire in Calais burned down the wooden building he had named “Beckett’s Hall” in his museum and exhibition hand bill. He died in 1889. Photo caption: A hand bill for perhaps the earliest “museum” in this region located in Beckett’s Hall on Main Street in downtown Calais, Maine. It likely dates to the 1860s. Classification: Prints Circa: 1880 Old Accession Number: 1604