Each year the Sloop Society has donated a sum of money to the Friendship Museum. The museum houses artifacts of the Town of Friendship and Friendship Sloops. This article appeared in the book "It's a Friendship".
A long felt need was finally met with the opening of the Friendship Museum in 1964. Al Roberts, a local lobster dealer had collected numerous articles having to do with Friendship's two most important industries: lobstering and boat building, but he had no place available to display them properly. His idea was to set up a Museum filled with the memories of the town, its ways, and its people. This idea smoldered for a couple of years, and burst into being with the new interest brought about by the birth of the Friendship Sloop Society in 1961. By 1963, permission was given by the Foster family to use the one-room, brick schoolhouse as a Museum. The Friendship Museum was incorporated in February, 1964 and its doors were opened in June of that year with an open house party attended by 400 people. Before the first season was over, 2500 visitors had signed the guest book.
Mrs. Wardell McFarland was available for the job of curator and a more knowing one would have been hard to come by. "Carrie" as she is generally known, was a stepdaughter of Jonah Morse, (Wilbur's partner and yard foreman for years). The answer to any question pertaining to Friendship is generally on the tip of her tongue. She has intrigued visitors from far and near with her local knowledge, and is in love with her job.
The building itself is a museum piece. It was built in 1851 as a one room schoolhouse. To discourage the practice of moving the schoolhouse each year when a new school board was elected, it was decided it should be built of brick. Thus it has stood at its present location for 114 years, which might be a record for Maine Schoolhouses.
In 1923 it was abandoned, and remained unused until the Condon family bought it and remodeled it in 1927. A cement floor was poured, and a fireplace added. It served as a community meeting place until the Museum was opened in 1964. At that time it was cleaned up, painted, and pointed up and now serves as a charming resting place for an intriguing history of a wonderful town. The building itself is responsible for much of the charm of the Museum.
The thought that every time a home was broken up, sold, or burned, a part of the history of the town was lost, was disturbing. Now much of the memorabilia of Friendship is housed and proudly displayed in a reasonably fireproof building where anyone who is interested may spend hours looking at pictures and records of the town. While this is not strictly a marine museum, a great part of it necessarily has to do with the sea because of the location of Friendship. The sloops for which the town is famous play an important part in our history and in our Museum, but we show every aspect of our friendly little town. What the future will bring is a difficult question to answer. Already we have more articles than we can display. Will the Museum grow and prosper? Will it remain as it is? Will it die because of lack of interest and funds? So far we are optimistic. Time will tell.
Betty Roberts sent along an update to this story: We are open July and August and by appointment other times. We published a book "Friendship Long Island" as related by Iran Morse on island living in older days. We also have two beautiful model Friendship sloops on display, built with the hold."
Friendship Museum Website