Frances Perkins Center
The Frances Perkins Center honors the legacy of Frances Perkins by sharing her commitment to the principle that government should provide all its people with the best possible life, and by preserving the place that shaped her character. The Center convenes leaders and future leaders in public policy, labor and related fields to generate creative solutions to today’s social and economic problems and teaches students of all ages about a remarkable woman whose work continues to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.
The Frances Perkins Center was founded in 2008 to make the exemplary work and career of Frances Perkins both better known to the American people and to preserve her policy legacy.
The Center inspires people to address current economic and social problems as Perkins would through work in the areas of education, outreach and advocacy. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center is currently headquartered in downtown Damariscotta, Maine where it offers a free interpretive exhibit on the life and achievements of Frances Perkins — the first woman to serve in a U.S. Cabinet, a key advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and a lifelong advocate for social justice and economic security. Responsible for initiating groundbreaking New Deal programs that are a bulwark of American society today — Social Security, the 40-hour work week, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, and the minimum wage — Perkins had deep roots in Maine. In ten short years, the Center has produced publications, sponsored conferences and research, and recognized leaders who exemplify Perkins’ values. Information on current programs, events, and activities are posted on this web site and shared in our monthly online newsletters and social media.
The Center seeks to acquire and preserve the place Perkins called home — her family homestead on the Damariscotta River in Newcastle. This 57-acre property was announced as a National Historic Landmark on August 25, 2014 by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
The Center is currently studying alternative future uses for the Perkins Homestead that will preserve the site’s integrity while providing a home for the Center’s educational programs.