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 a Historical Museum in leased space in the Longfellow School. The museum has been open every summer since then, usually emloying two part-time hosts each season to act as museum guides. Funds to open the museum came from the New Century Community Program, the Island Institute, and local donors.
In 2002 the society opened a Community Multimedia Center in the museum. The center is managed by the society, but available for use by all Cranberry Isles groups and individuals. This is a valuable island resource, able to produce bound publications, video DVDs, and audio CDs - all without going off the island, to help conserve energy and sanity. Funds came from the MBNA Foundation, the Island Institute, the Cincinnati Stock Exchange, and local donors.
Though the society has enjoyed use of the schoolhouse since 2000, the lease does call for abrupt departure upon request of the School Board. Since the reopening of the school is an island priority, that possibility is always looming over the museum's future.
So in 2004 the society launched the Cranberry House project - a permanent home for the Historical Museum and Multimedia Center, plus a new Cultural Center, in a building owned by the socirty.
After a four-year fundraising effort, with almost $600,000 raised, Cranberry House opened to the public in June of 2008.