The Stanley's and the Exhibition
The museum has set itself the task of telling the story of the Stanley family in the most interesting manner, in particular highlighting the family's achievements and creative genius. The exhibition features, apart from steam-powered vehicles, photo equipment from the early days of photography as well as paintings, photographs and violins.
The Stanley Steamer
The twins Francis Edgar and Freelan O. Stanley are the most known sons of the family, famous for having invented the so-called “Stanley Steamer”, their first steam-powered vehicle in 1897. Principally speaking, steam was produced while petroleum was heated in a bowl that was placed under the back seats. In the course of time, the procedure was refined and the steam generator relocated to the front part of the vehicle. In 1902 the Stanley Motor Carriage Company was founded and the Stanley brothers henceforth started producing Stanley Steamer vehicles. The racer Fred Mariot set a record with a Stanley Steamer reaching a velocity of 127,69 mi/h (205,5 km/h) in 1906. It took 103 years to break this record for steam-powered vehicles.
As business competitors increasingly started using combustion engines, which then ended up becoming the standard for the automobile industry, the Stanley brothers saw themselves forced to sell their shares of the company in 1917. A decade later, the entire production ceased.
In the first exhibition room of the museum, steam-powered vehicles are shown from the years 1905, 1909, 1910 and 1916.
Photographs and Paintings
Chansonetta Stanley, the sister of the Stanley twin brothers, made a name for herself through her insightful photography. Her images portray life of the rural population around the fin de siècle of the 20th century. Adding her work to the museum, including hand-painted plates of glass and negatives, clearly emphasises, opposed to the technically talented brothers, the creative side of the family. In addition, the museum contains old photo equipment, paintings by the equally talented sister Dorothy and airbrush paintings by Francis Edgar.
Violins and Scripts
As though this was not exceptional enough already, another section of the exhibition shows violins made by the Stanley twins and their nephew Carlton as well as scripts by the Stanley brothers dealing with topics such as the labor movement or the disadvantages of smoking.
The Stanley Museum was opened in 1981 and situated in Kingsfield, the birthplace of the Stanley brothers. It is accommodated in the former Stanley school building which was built in Georgian style in 1903.
How to get there
Coming from Farmington, you get to the ME-27 leading to Kingsfield. At the entrance to the town, take a right into School Street and follow the road until you turn left into Sumner Street at the second intersection. You'll find the museum in the former Stanley school building.