Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight

As we redesigned our museum over the past winter and spring, we came face-to-face with the reality that our wood-and-glass display cases are historic and lovely to look at, but awkward, heavy, and nearly impossible to move. Enter volunteer George Deans, who offered to build platforms with casters under three of our large display cases. The display cases now glide easily, greatly facilitating cleaning, (future) painting in the room, and setting up exhibits. George also turned a bookcase into portable shelving, improved the base of the North Sullivan Post Office, and made a new undercarriage on wheels for the headstone of town father, Daniel Sullivan. Captain Sullivan is on the roll again!

We also want to recognize volunteer, Eben Lenfest, who assisted George with some of the heavy lifting and generously donated several more hours to help Raina, Island Institute Fellow, whenever she desperately needed another pair of hands in the museum.

Our heartfelt thanks to George and Eben for their time, talent, humor, and strong backs that helped us get to opening day!  

Summer Hours – Starting June 14, 2022

Summer Hours – Starting June 14, 2022

We’re opening for the summer on June 14, 2022!

Our summer hours will be Tuesdays, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Visit the Archives & Museum at the Sullivan- Sorrento Historical Society this summer and learn about local history. The Society maintains a collection of historical records, photographs, and artifacts. Volunteers will be available to help with your family research.

It’s a big year for the Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society! We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary with a special exhibit featuring our organization’s history.

New volunteers are always welcome.

We’re Hiring! Internship Opportunities

We’re Hiring! Internship Opportunities

Archives Intern, Summer 2022

The Sullivan-Sorrento Historical Society is seeking an undergraduate or graduate level intern for Summer 2022 to assist with digitization of the historical society’s archives.

Position Description & Responsibilities
The intern will digitize a variety of archival records, photographs, and objects. The intern will work closely with volunteers and the Island Institute Fellow at the historical society. This position is an opportunity to learn about and gain practical experience digitizing historical collections.

  • Catalog and digitize collections using scanners and Past Perfect museum software; we will train as needed.
  • Work directly with historical society staff and volunteers to connect patrons with information.
  • Assist with special projects and programs, events, and exhibits, and contribute material for historical society’s website and social media.

– Current student of a degree-granting institute.
– Interest in public history.
– Able to work independently, take initiatives, and solve problems.
– Basic competency with Windows OS and Microsoft Office Suite.
– High attention to detail.

– Experience working with historical artifacts and records.
– Experience working with digital collections.
– Knowledge of Past Perfect 5 museum software.
– Knowledge of Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
– Knowledge of Sullivan and Sorrento local history. 

Work Schedule
This a part-time position. The contract is for 10-12 weeks. There is some flexibility in work schedule and hours, and we will work out a schedule with a successful candidate.

The intern will receive a $3,000 stipend.

How to Apply
Please send a cover letter, resume, and two professional references to Raina Sciocchetti at rsciocchetti@islandinstitute.org by April 30, 2022. If you will earn credit from your school for this internship, please also include the name and contact information of your faculty coordinator and any requirements your school has for internships.


You can download this job description here.


The Singing Bridge: “Built to Break the Worms’ Teeth”

The Singing Bridge: “Built to Break the Worms’ Teeth”

Why was the Singing Bridge built to ‘break the worms’ teeth?'”

It makes sense if you know the story of the first bridge that spanned the Taunton River between Hancock and Sullivan. Built in the 1820s, the Sargent Bridge fell victim to teredos, also known as “shipworms.” Microscopic teeth worked away at the wooden structure until an ice flow took the bridge out completely just a few years after its construction. About 25 years after the Sargent Bridge collapsed, a second bridge was started but never completed. The next bridge that spanned the Taunton River was dedicated on May 1, 1926. According to legend, an oldster familiar with the history of the first wooden bridge took one look at the steel and concrete structure and famously announced, “This one will break the worms’ teeth.”
Read the full newspaper article by Jonas Crane of Winter Harbor. Published in the 1950s or 1960s.



Building Sorrento: 1911 – 1971

Building Sorrento: 1911 – 1971

It’s impossible to think of buildings in Sorrento without thinking about Ed and Clif Hale. Between 1911 and 1971, two generations of Hales built the majority of the summer homes seen in Sorrento today.

Charles Edgar “Ed” Hale was born and raised in Brooksville and came to Sorrento in 1911. He began working for the Chafee family. Over the following 38 years, Ed Hale built over 25 houses, including the new Sorrento Grammar School (now the Community Building), and the Sumner Memorial High School gymnasium with Eddy Bragdon.

In 1949, Ed retired and turned the business over to his nephew Clifton K. Hale. Clif built at least 25 more houses, in addition to finishing the house on Doane’s Point for Mrs. Hughson that his uncle had started. Clif’s last house was an A-frame on Treasure Island for Carl and Terry Patten in 1971. Clif’s wife, Martha, supported the business as secretary and bookkeeper.

“They were an important part of that core of Sorrento, the people and the houses,” wrote Clif’s daughter, Thelma Hale White, in 2001. “As people, they took pride in their membership and involvement in the community; and their houses stand as reminders of their pride in workmanship.”

The compiled lists of houses built by Ed and Clif Hale are the work of Sturgis Haskins. Additional resources include “Torna a Sorrento, 1835 – 1973” by Lawrence Lewis and “Sorrento: A Well-Kept Secret” by Catherine O’Clair Herson.

Ed Hale built this Colonial Revival for Gifford Ewing in 1929. 

The Sorrento Grammar School, now the Community Center, was built by Ed Hale after the old High Head school burned in 1941.

This house was built for Mildred Hughson by Ed Hale, Clif Hale, Harold Kelly, L.A. Spratt, Donald G. Perry, and M.A. McKenzie. They broke ground in August 1946.