In Honor of Maine's Bicentennial, Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead And The Harlow Gallery Present:

A State Seal Contest:

Honoring Tradition - Celebrating Change

Indigenous Land Acknowledgment

The land that today comprises Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead sits within the traditional territory of the Abenaki Peoples, past and present, who have inhabited Maine and the Kennebec River Valley for thousands of years. The Cussenocke, a band of the Kennebec Tribe from the Augusta area, endured over a century of conflict and warring with European settlers beginning in the early 1600s, fell prey to nefarious property deals with wealthy Boston land barons, and were ultimately, by the mid-1700s, driven upriver to join with their brethren in what is today Norridgewock.

We are grateful for our ability to work on, gather at, and share the land and buildings of today’s Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead. The difficult history of colonialism acknowledged here serves to strengthen our commitment to the stewardship of this spectacular natural landscape and its continued use by the people of Maine for generations to come. In order that we may better understand and acknowledge how this past impacts our world today, we are dedicated to the continued exploration and sharing of this history.


When Maine separated from Massachusetts one of the first actions of the newly established Legislature was to decide upon the Great Seal of Maine. Benjamin Vaughan, although not a legislative committee member, proposed the emblems, still in use today. While so much of the Maine identity he portrayed in 1820 still rings true, even those of us charged with honoring Vaughan’s legacy recognize that a seal to represent today’s Mainers could be more inclusive. At VWHH we welcome the growing racial and cultural diversity of our state, we value Maine’s rich Native American history, and we take pride in Maine having one of the largest percentages of female farmers in the country.

The Contest

In partnership with the Harlow Gallery and in honor of Maine's Bicentennial in 2020, Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead invited Maine artists to submit proposals for a modern interpretation of the Maine State Seal that would both honor the original emblems proposed by Benjamin Vaughan and show how Maine has grown and changed in 200 years. The contest winner was commissioned to create their piece to be hung in the 1794 Vaughan Homestead, a non-profit historic house museum.

The Winner

Lauren Olson grew up in Vermont. but fell in love with Maine and its farming community and opportunities. She developed a love of printmaking while taking a class during her undergraduate studies at St. Lawrence University in New York. Today she resides in Maine where she is continuously looking for ways to merge her passion for art with her passion for agriculture. Her love for the food system, environment and outdoor opportunities are shown through her work and involvement with Maine food producers and farmers. You can find her playing in the snow, digging in the dirt or backpacking when she's not in the studio. Her Maine State Seal piece is a linoleum block print. To see more of Lauren's work visit


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Canoe Paddle

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Katahdin is a sacred site for Maine's Wabanaki people . . .
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Original Emblems

The orginal emblems of the Maine State Seal are. . .
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