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Historic Photos Taken by Steamboat Captain Now Available to Public

Media Contact: Kathy Goldner,, 207.548.2529 x216

KENNEBEC, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

KENNEBEC, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

SEARSPORT, ME, November 8, 2013 – In the 1890’s, Kennebec River steamboat captain James E. Perkins taught himself to take photographs with a 4”x 5” view camera using glass plate negatives. He often set up his tripod and large wooden camera with its squeeze-bulb activated shutter on the deck of his steamboat. These photographs, many of which were taken from the deck of a steamboat of views that a shore-bound photographer could never have made, make this collection unique.

Two Little Girls in Parlor, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine

Two Little Girls in Parlor, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine

“Capt. Perkins loved Popham Village where he grew up. He wanted to capture the feeling of the place and the era of steamboats, which took people to Bath, Boothbay, Boston and Augusta. He could see this way of life disappearing during his lifetime,” says Penobscot Marine Museum Photography Curator Kevin Johnson. “He sailed up and down the Kennebec River and photographed crowds waiting at the dock for a steamboat, harbors full of boats, houses filled with Victorian furniture, the shoreline, musicians, people swimming, cats sleeping, dogs barking, men plowing with horses and his friends and family. He wanted to create a record of the way life was. And he did.”

Popham Bathers, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Popham Bathers, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

At age fifteen, Captain Perkins was hired as first mate on the steam tug ADELIA. The next summer he became the first mate on the PERCY V, and in 1889 he became its captain, making Perkins at age 22 the youngest captain on the Kennebec River. He later became captain of the DAMARIN, EL DORADO, ISLAND BELLE, WINTER HARBOR, ISLESFORD, and, finally, SABINO, before retiring. The SABINO is still in operation at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, where it is preserved as an example of a large steam-powered watercraft.

Man in Rigging, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Man in Rigging, Photo Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Captain Perkins died in 1935, and his widow Sybil stored his negatives in their attic for the next ten years. Sybil’s niece Jane was interested in photography and when she was entrusted with the glass plate negatives she enlisted the help of Dr. Allen Milbury, Director of Educational Media from the University of Maine who taught her to print them. Most importantly, after printing the negatives Jane researched the images, identifying the people and places, and their historical significance. In doing this she preserved knowledge of the area and its people that would have otherwise been lost. In 1974 she published the photographs in the book One Man’s World: Popham Beach, Maine.

In 2012 Penobscot Marine Museum received this collection of over five hundred, mostly glass plate negatives, and now this visual historic record of the people and places of Popham Beach and the Kennebec River is available online to historians, researchers, students and the public at The photographs are also available for purchase.

For more information contact Penobscot Marine Museum at 207-548-2529 or go online

Knox County Through the Eastern Eye

Knox-County-ExhibitA selection of photographs from the Eastern Illustrating Collection featuring every town in Knox County with descriptive captions based on information received from the local historical societies and historians.
May & June
Friendship Town Office
6 Harbor Rd., Friendship, ME
Open to Public Mon-Fri 9:00am – 3:00pm and Tuesdays until 7:00pm
July & August
North Haven Historical Society Archive Building
P.O. Box 322 77 Pulpit Harbor Road, North Haven, ME 04853
September & October
Maine Lighthouse Museum
One Park St., Rockland, ME 04841
(207) 594-3301

Preview Online

For Those In Peril: Shipwrecks, Memorials, and Rescues

Saturday, May 25 through Sunday, October 20, 2013

Explore with us the shipwrecks and near misses; the perfect storms and sudden squalls; those lost at sea and the families left behind; and the brave lifesavers and brilliant marine equipment innovators. Through the Museum’s collection of marine art, portraits, photographs, lifesaving equipment, original manuscripts and logbooks, small watercraft, models, and navigational instruments, the stories of “those in peril” will come alive in the summer of 2013.

This exhibit is funded in part by the Davis Family Foundation and the Maine Humanities Council.

Are Maine Scientists Changing America’s Energy Future?

Media Contact: Kathy Goldner,, 207.548.2529 x216

VolturnUS, the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine

VolturnUS, the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine

SEARSPORT, ME, October 18, 2013 – Maine scientists are leading the way nationally in wind and tide energy development, and important strides are being made in fisheries research. This year Penobscot Marine Museum’s history conference Fish, Wind and Tide: Maine’s Future Resources? on November 2 at Belfast’s Hutchinson Center brings together experts from Maine Maritime Academy, the Universities of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and from Maine Department of Conservation, Tide Mill Institute, Island Institute, Conservation Law Foundation and Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative, to look at the past and to explore exciting new developments for the future of these resources.

Larry Parent, Assistant Director, Advanced Structures and Composites Center, University of Maine, Orono

Larry Parent, Assistant Director, Advanced Structures and Composites Center, University of Maine, Orono

Among the Conference speakers will be Larry Parent, Assistant Director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The Center is a world leader in composites research and made history last summer by deploying the first U.S. grid-connected wind turbine off the coast of Castine. The first U.S. grid-connected tidal energy project was also launched in Maine last summer, and Richard Armstrong, Executive Director of Tidal Energy Demonstration & Evaluation Center at Maine Maritime Academy will speak about developments in tidal power which will shape our future.

What economic impact will wind and tidal power have in Maine? Over $900 million in direct investment has been brought to Maine since 2006, according to Maine Ocean & Wind Industry Initiative. Paul Williamson, Director and Industry Coordinator of the Initiative joins the Conference to discuss this potentially huge economic impact in Maine.

The Conference will also address our fisheries resource. University of New Hampshire Historic Fisheries Scientist Karen Alexander will speak about the history of the Gulf of Maine fisheries, and William Leavenworth, of the University of Massachusetts’ Environmental Conservation Department will help us see where the fisheries are headed.

How all of these new developments will affect our coastal resources will be discussed by Maine Dept. of Conservation’s Matthew Nixon, Maine Coastal Program, lobsterman Richard Nelson, Caitlin Cleaver, from the Island Institute and Robin Just of the Conservation Law Foundation.

Penobscot Marine Museum will sponsor tickets for high school students at half price. For more information call 207-548-2529 or visit the 2013 History Conference page. Click here to register online. The History Conference is on Saturday, November 2, 8:15 am to 5:00 pm at University of Maine Hutchinson Center, 80 Belmont Avenue, Belfast, Maine. Tickets are $50 for Museum members, $60 for non-members, $50 for teachers and $30 for students. Conference price includes lunch if registration is received by Monday, October 28.

Fall 2013 Activities and Events

Thursday, October 3, 7:00 pm
Thursday Night Lecture Series
“How To Keep Warm and Stay Green”, a talk (rescheduled from the winter) by Matthew O’Malia, architect and partner of GO Logic. G O Logic designed the Belfast Area Co-housing Community and TerraHaus, a dormitory at Unity College. Their many awards include the Citation for Excellence in Architecture from AIA New England. They provide a comprehensive problem-solving approach to the design and construction of quality, sustainable, zero-energy buildings. Matthew will discuss the concepts and details of the highly-insulated passive solar house building. At PMM’s Stephen Phillips Memorial Library, 11 Church Street, Searsport. Tickets in advance $8 members, $10 non-members, or at the door $12 members, $15 non-members. To buy tickets call 207-548-2529.

Fling Into Fall

Searsport, Maine
Friday, October 11 and Saturday, October 12, 2013

Photo: Kari J Cross

Photo: Kari J Cross


10am-5pm Set up for Scarecrow & Jack O’ Lantern contest at Crescent, Penobscot Marine Museum
4:30-6:00pm Public Turkey Supper, Methodist Church
5:00pm Lighting of Luminaries, Downtown
5:30pm Food Concessions, Public Safety Building
5:30pm Face Painting, Public Safety Building
6:00pm Children’s Activities, Public Safety Building
7:00pm Bonfire, Public Safety Building
7:15-9:00pm Concert: “Black Ledge” band, Public Safety Building (thank you Dunkin’ Donuts!)


7am-9am Public Breakfast, Masonic Hall
9am-3pm 9am sign-up for “Art Du Jour” artists, Penobscot Marine Museum tent, 10-2 artists painting throughout the town
9am-3pm Craft Show, Public Safety Building
9am-3pm Coin Show, 12 dealers, DownEast Auctions
9am-3pm Scarecrow Contest Viewing and “People’s Choice Voting”, Crescent, Penobscot Marine Museum
11am Parade, Downtown
11am-2pm Needle felting workshop for children and adults, Works, 21 E. Main St.
11am-2:30pm Antique Car Show and Tonka Truck Contest, Mosman Park
2:30pm Antique Car Show prizes, trophies and awards, and drawing for week at a Florida Beach Cottage for car show participants (thank you Cruise Maine Magazine!), Mosman Park
12pm & 2pm Historic Cemetery Tour, Bowditch Cemetery, Rt 1, across from Searsport Motors, (thank you Historic Preservation Committee!)
12pm-3pm Hayrides, Bangor Savings Bank (thank you Bangor Savings Bank!)
1pm-2pm Concert: Lincolnville Town Band, Union Hall
2pm Auction: coins, stamps and sports, DownEast Auctions, 328 E. Main St.
3pm-5pm Silent Auction, paintings and photographs, Penobscot Marine Museum tent
3pm Display of Tonka Truck Restoration Winners, Crescent, Penobscot Marine Museum
4pm Prizes awarded for winners of Scarecrow and Jack O’ Lantern contests, Crescent, Penobscot Marine Museum (thank you Hamilton Marine!)
4:30pm Grand Prize Drawing for week at a Florida Beach Cottage, Crescent, Penobscot Marine Museum
5pm-6pm Public Italian Supper, Congregational Church
7pm Comedy Show,

Angler’s Restaurant, Grasshopper Shop, Penobscot Marine Museum Store and Searsport Shores Campground are offering Fling Into Fall weekend discounts.

Check the Facebook Page: “Fling Into Fall” for more information.

Summer 2013 Activities and Events (September)

For more information call 207-548-2529. PLEASE NOTE: Not all activities are on campus. Please check location in each listing.

Series tickets

Complete Garden History Lecture Series: Four lectures, $24 members, $30 non-members.
Complete Thursday Night Lecture Series: Eight lectures, $48 members, $60 non-members.
Call 207-548-2529 ext. 216


Thursday, September 5, 7:00 pm
Thursday Night Lecture Series
Filmmaker David Conover will show and discuss his hour-long film documentary Wreck of the Portland. Known as the “Titanic of New England,” the loss of the SS Portland is one of the greatest maritime disasters to occur off the Northeast coast of the United States. On Nov. 26, 1898, the passenger ship, SS Portland, on route from Boston to Portland, was caught in a fierce blizzard. Struggling through the night with raging seas and 90-mile-per hour winds, the Portland finally sank with all 190 passengers and crew on board. Little of the shipwreck and few victims were ever recovered, and the exact location of the tragedy was a mystery. During the summer of 2002, using a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), the wreck of the Portland was found, 104 years after her disappearance. This film was produced for the Science Channel series “Science of the Deep.” David Conover’s company is Compass Light Productions in Camden, Maine. At PMM’s Stephen Phillips Memorial Library, 11 Church Street, Searsport. Tickets in advance $8 members, $10 non-members, or at the door $12 members, $15 non-members. Buy tickets over the phone at 207-548-2529.

Monday, September 9, 7:00 pm
Garden History Lecture Series
Seed Saving Primer, and Genetic Engineering and Food Security
People have saved and propagated seed from plants in their gardens and from wild plants for over ten thousand years. Since the beginning of agriculture people traded or bartered seed. Selling seed commercially began at the beginning of the 19th Century and by the 1850s many commercial horticulture operations sold seeds. Today, much of the world still saves seed as a necessity. Especially in developing countries, saving seed is an essential part of farming. Diana will offer practical seed saving tips for the home gardener, including information on which plants from which seed may be saved, as well as harvesting and storage advice. Learn how the progressive technology of GMO threatens the ages-old practice of saving seed, how to protect yourself from the hidden health dangers of genetically modified food and how to protect your right to grow life-giving, nutritious food in your own garden. At PMM’s Stephen Phillips Memorial Library, 11 Church Street, Searsport. Tickets in advance $8 members, $10 non-members, or at the door $12 members, $15 non-members. Buy tickets online or call 207-548-2529.

Thursday, September 12, 7:00 pm
Thursday Night Lecture Series
Buzz Scott, founder of OceansWide, will talk about “Historic Antarctic Exploration – Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen”. Raised on Matinicus Island, Maine, Buzz fished commercially for 17 years in the Gulf of Maine. He spent four years as a Navy Seabee and another seven years with the United States Antarctic Program as a marine projects coordinator, sailing on scientific research ships around Antarctica. At PMM’s Stephen Phillips Memorial Library, 11 Church Street, Searsport. Tickets in advance $8 members, $10 non-members, or at the door $12 members, $15 non-members. Buy tickets online or call 207-548-2529.

Penobscot Marine Museum Thursday Night Lecture Series “Boon Island”

Penobscot Marine Museum Thursday Night Lecture Series “Boon Island” from George Kerper on Vimeo.

The wreck of the NOTTINGHAM GALLEY on Boon Island and the resultant rumors of insurance fraud, mutiny, treason, and cannibalism was one of the most sensational stories of the early eighteenth century. Captain Deane offered one version of the events that led them to be shipwrecked on notorious Boon Island, however his crew proposed another.