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Laconia State School Film Documentary Project

CSNI has embarked on a project to create an hour long film documentary about Laconia State School. Gordon DuBois, CSNI Training Consultant, is working with Bil Rogers of 1L Media ( in the production of the film. Bil previously worked on Nova, History Channel and National Geographic specials. The film is scheduled for release in May 2010. It will be premiered at the New Hampshire Family Support Conference on May 1, 2010, Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH.

The documentary will trace the history of the New Hampshire School for the Feebleminded, or The Laconia State School, from its initial beginnings in the early 1900’s until its closure in 1991. Interviews with former residents of the institution, parents, and people who worked at the institution, along with previous film footage, an extensive collection of photos, newspaper articles, letters and state documents, we will be used to bring to life the story of New Hampshire’s only state operated institution for persons with developmental disabilities.

Trailer updated 2/4/2010 to include additional footage (29 minutes)

The purpose of this project is to provide a thought-provoking and inspirational documentary that examines the social values and cultural ideals of the twentieth century relative to individuals who were labeled feebleminded, deficient, and idiots and to their families who sought to care for them in the way society dictated. In the first half of the twentieth century, these social values and cultural ideals mandated that thousands of children and adults be institutionalized in large, state-operated institutions throughout the country and, in the case of New Hampshire, at Laconia State School.

When completed this documentary will be shown at select locations throughout New Hampshire and used by human service agencies, schools, colleges, parents and self advocates to learn that, “NH’s citizens with disabilities and their families won New Hampshire’s most important civil rights battle when they gained their rights to full citizenship, education and participation in community life.” (Don Shumway).

Funding for the project has been provided by the NH Area Agencies for Developmental Services, The Developmental Disabilities Council, and the CSNI Training Collaborative. Additional funds are still needed to complete the project.

If you or your organization would like to support this project through a donation, you can contact Dennis Powers at Community Support Network, Inc., The Concord Center, 10 Ferry Street, Suite 401, Concord, NH 03301. 603-229-1982 or

In sincere appreciation of their generous donations we would like to thank our most recent donors:

Rep. Thomas Donovan

Roberta Gallant

Robin Carlson on behalf of Frank Caswell and Raymond Chagnon

Jane Dichard

Freda Smith

Kiwanis Club of Salem NH

VFW Auxiliary of Salem NH

Knights of Columbus Salem NH

American Legion Post 63 Salem NH

Bernard and Marilyn Campbell

Laconia Savings Bank

Russell Ingram

NH Council on Developmental Disabilities

CSNI Training Collaborative
Bureau of Developmental Services

The Garafalo Family in honor of Brie Dillon’s 25th birthday

Charles Kamitian

Gateways Community Services

Region 10 Community Support Services Fund Raising Committee

Department of Education

The Salem Arc

Douglas & Johnson Funeral Home Salem NH

Independent Services Network

Knights of Columbus Bishop Peterson Council No 4442

Ann Walls