New historical director named in Freeport

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FREEPORT — Jim Cram has been hired as the new executive director of the Freeport Historical Society.

Cram has lived in Freeport for the past three years, and was also a local resident for more than a decade in the ’70s and ’80s. He took over Dec. 7, replacing James Myall, who resigned Nov. 20.

According to a press release from the historical society, Myall stepped down because of “health concerns and family commitments.”

“I have had an exciting and varied period of time at the helm of an organization with a lot of potential, but I’ve come to realize that Freeport Historical Society needs somebody who can offer the organization their complete energy and attention, and I’m not able to do that right now, particularly with a young family,” Myall said.

Cram, whose background is in construction and project management, most recently worked for Porter Building Systems for six years. He also has decades of experience at various other construction companies. Cram has done a lot of international work, and was responsible for the construction of more than 300 homes in 11 countries.

Cram, 66, also has extensive experience serving on boards and committees, and was president of the Freeport Historical Society from 1982-1984. He’s been a member of the society for 35-40 years, he said.

He is also a member of Greater Portland Landmarks and was president of the organization in 1979. Cram also has experience in communications and fundraising.

He has served on 10 different regional committees that deal with architectural and historic preservation, either as president, chairman, or director.

Cram said he’s very interested in the work the historical society does, which includes researching, preserving and teaching people about the history of the town.

“I’ve always cared a great deal about the history of Maine, and particularly Freeport,” Cram said. “My grandmother grew up here and I’ve always related to that.”

Cram said he’s very excited about the position and is gathering information about the society and its projects.

“The first thing I’m getting my arms around is what the society is working on now,” he said.

The society has a few projects in the works, including its current exhibit, “Cobblers to Capitalists: Two Centuries of Freeport Shoemaking.”

The society has also been focusing its attention on ridding Pettengill Farmhouse of beetles. This fall, it was discovered that the building, which was built in the late 1700s to early 1800s, was infested with powderpost beetles. The historical society owns and has been preserving the house, located on Pettengill Road, for the past 40 years and, according to a press release, the beetles “threaten the integrity of the structure.”

The insects can heavily damage a building by ingesting materials made of wood, but exterminators caught the pests in time by spraying a non-toxic solution of boric acid. Cram said the beetles did not cause any damage because the historical society “caught it in time.”

The historical society needed to raise $6,000 to exterminate the beetles, but has only raised $1,200. Cram said the rest of the money came from an emergency contingency fund the society has.

Cram said now the society will try to raise the remainder of the funds and build up the contingency fund again.

“We felt this was so important to get it taken care of,” he said. “The timing was just critical.”

Cram said the work needed to be done before spring, when the beetles would be killed by the solution as they hatched.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Freeport Historical Society, located on Main Street, has hired Jim Cram as its new executive director.

Jim Cram has been hired as the new executive director of the Freeport Historical Society after James Myall resigned last month.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.