During the summer of 2007 Lynn Meyer was out walking her dogs and she met Alexandra Jansen and in their conversation restoration of the schoolhouse came up. Both of them were interested in restoring the school, but they needed a third member to qualify to apply for a 501 (C3) organization. Lynn came to me to ask me to be the treasurer and be the third member to which I agreed.
Alexandra contacted a man in Wiscasset who was familiar with filing for this kind of organization and we met with him and he gave us tips for the filing, but he warned us that you are usually turned down a few times before being granted the 501 (C3). Alexandra applied and it was accepted the very first time.
From there we asked Master’s Machine Company to deed the schoolhouse back to us which they agreed to and in time they did. They had made the two floors into two large rooms and had removed the central staircase and all of the boys and girls entries except for one which they kept for an office on the second floor. The schoolhouse had been vandalized and there were many broken windows, graffiti, and the second floor had been used to store discarded unwanted things including about 45 or 50 big truck tires. Alexandra took out a window and rolled them out onto the ground below and we worked a deal to exchange them for some material that made it worth while to the man who helped us out.
The first floor had leftovers from the machine shop including an enormous furnace. The first task was to clear out the two rooms. Fifteen trailer loads were moved to the transfer station and we had a sale to help clean the place out. The first floor had been shored up with two by sixes laid diagonally across the original floor. They were soaked with machine oil and one of our board members removed all of them. Little by little we added board members until we had nine in total. We raised money through donations, memberships and sales and eventually rebuilt the entries and the central staircase.
At this point we needed a mission statement for the organization. I modeled ours after one from another organization by taking some statements from other suggestions by board members and I came up with the following: “RPSA is a nonprofit 501(3) organization dedicated to maintaining the Washington Schoolhouse as a museum for displaying local historical articles and a place to provide educational, cultural, and community events for the Round Pond Village.”
At this point we had decided to use the first floor for meetings as provided in the statement and the second floor to be dedicated to a museum for articles from the Round Pond village from the era that the school was in session, namely, 1885 to 1954.
The first item donated to the museum is a large chest which belonged to Captain William Wright. Since then we have had some portable school desks similar to what replaced the stationary desks in 1942 donated as well as some original stationary desks, and miscellaneous portable desks. We have had several period tables of oak which have been used to hold display cases. Avalon Antiques donated our first case which was missing one piece of glass which Mobil Glass replaced for us, the Herndons donated a case which came from King Row Market, and we have several more that were given to us. Boy Scout troop 205 used to meet in the schoolhouse in the winter months and we have been fortunate to have their original troop flag given to us. We now have a mannequin displaying a boy scout uniform, a nice dining room table refinished by Round Pond Restoration which we use as a conference table and a twelve foot double runner belonging to two original students which has been hung on the back wall. A generous member donated museum curtains to preserve photographs of teachers hung on the south walls who were at the school in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
We also have text books used by teachers and superintendents of the school as well as many local photographs of Round Pond including the original schoolhouse which was replaced by the current one.