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Author Kate Webber Discusses Life on Swans Island

Penobscot Marine Museum will host author Kate Webber discussing her new book Swans Island Chronicles: Borrowed, Exaggerated and Half-Forgotten Tales of Island Life on Saturday, June 7, at 2:00 pm. Books will be available for signing, and the event will take place in the Penobscot Marine Museum Store, 40 East Main Street, Searsport. Admission is free.

Kate Webber worked through the Island Institute for the Swan’s Island Historical Society for two years and experienced the delights of living on a small isolated Maine island first hand. She tells her stories about the people and island culture with humor and affection. Local legends and spooky tales are included for the reader’s delight. Ms. Webber is now with the Maine Humanities Council.

Left: Swans Island Chronicles: Borrowed, Exaggerated and Half-Forgotten Tales of Island Life by Kate Webber. Right: Author Kate Webber

Left: Swans Island Chronicles: Borrowed, Exaggerated and Half-Forgotten Tales of Island Life by Kate Webber. Right: Author Kate Webber

For more information go online www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org or call 207-548-2529. Penobscot Marine Museum is hosting seven exhibits and over fifty events this season.

Penobscot Marine Museum, 40 East Main Street, Searsport, is open for the 2014 season from Saturday, May 24 through Sunday, October 19, Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday noon to 5:00 pm.

Searsport High School Boatbuilding Class Launch!

Two Shellback dinghies built by Searsport High School students in the new Hamilton Learning Center at Penobscot Marine Museum will be launched on Wednesday, May 28, at noon at the Searsport Town Dock. The eight students began building the boats on January 28, working with master boat builder Greg Rossel and a crew of volunteers from the community. Wayne Hamilton, owner of Hamilton Marine, gave the students their last class on navigation, and now they are ready to launch the boats they have been building for the past four months.

Searsport District High School student learning boatbuilding at Hamilton Learning Center at Penobscot Marine Museum

Searsport District High School student learning boatbuilding at Hamilton Learning Center at Penobscot Marine Museum

This boatbuilding class would not have been possible without the devoted help of community volunteers, who either brought their expertise to the classroom to help the students or donated materials, or both. The Penobscot Marine Museum gratefully thanks Jerry Marancik, Dave Lawrence, Bruce Brown, Rob Griffin, Rich Fitzsimmons, Fred Kircheis, Fred Schmidt, Mary Ann McCrea, Pam Steele, Grant Gambell sailmaker, and Wayne and Loraine Hamilton who generously donated the Hamilton Learning Center to Penobscot Marine Museum.

In building this particular boat, which was deigned by E.B. White’s son Joel, the students learn traditional woodworking skills but also work with modern composites, learning plywood lamination methods. The eight high school students use mathematical equations to make stability tests, ratios for proper mixing of epoxy, applied statistics in making patterns for planks, physics and geometry in their navigation training. They study chemical reactions, galvanic action, exothermic reaction, and air foils when they make the sails. The students also learn the importance of team work and deadlines. Their teacher, master boatbuilder Greg Rossel, is an author and has been teaching boat building at WoodenBoat School for over twenty years.

Penobscot Marine Museum’s Forum “Boat Builders of Mount Desert Island”

Penobscot Marine Museum’s Boat Building Forums “Boat Builders of Mount Desert Island” with Richard Helmke, Richard Stanley, and Ralph Stanley. Mount Desert Island is home to high-end yacht builders, lobster boat builders, and traditional sloop builders. Join us for a discussion of how a 108 mile square island’s boat designers can cater to the summer residents, the lobstermen and commercial fisherman still plying the waters just offshore, and everyone in between.

Video by George Kerper

Merchant Marine Oral History Interview Day to be Held at Penobscot Marine Museum

usmerchant-marine-sealThe Penobscot Marine Museum is partnering with the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) to host a day of oral history interviews with merchant mariners on June 24, 2014, from 10-4. During this event, mariners will be invited to come to the museum to record their stories with SCI researchers and volunteers as part of the American Merchant Marine Veterans Oral History Project. Photo archivists at the museum will also be gathering feedback from mariners on their photo collections. The Penobscot Marine Museum will be offering reduced admission for mariners on the day of the interviews ($6). The interviews will be archived and made available as a robust online repository of stories of the sea.

Merchant mariners have contributed significantly to the security and prosperity of the nation–the online archive created by this project brings the compelling stories of local seafarers to light. Johnathan Thayer, SCI Archivist and leader of the project, has interviewed veteran mariners in the Port of New York and New Jersey. “Their remarkable tales represent largely overlooked perspectives within American history,” he says. Johnathan recounts the story of John Ludwick, also known as “Kansas,” who, although he survived the crossing of dangerous WWII North Atlantic waters in a convoy that lost 17 of 33 ships, found himself mistakenly imprisoned in a camp at Leningrad. He tells the story of his escape, stealing a Russian snowmobile and riding it hundreds of miles through arctic tundra back to his ship.

Toiling on board ships often months at a time, merchant mariners work out of the public eye, but SCI—since its very beginnings—has endeavored to bring their labors to light. Through its American Merchant Marine Veterans Oral History Project, SCI helps mariners gain recognition and dignity in the historic record through their own words and Mariners interested in participating should RSVP to Maine-based SCI researcher Michele Christle at michele.christle@gmail.com or at 603-781-9848 to schedule a time for an interview. If transportation or health is an issue, mariners are encouraged to contact Michele Christle for alternative participation methods.

For more information about this event, please contact: Michele Christle, 603-781-9848 michele.christle@gmail.com

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Summer 2014: Sailing Tours, Daily Events and Seven Exhibitions

On Saturday, May 24, Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport opens with Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resources, one of seven exhibits which begins a season overflowing with events including sailing tours of Searsport Harbor, craft demonstrations, the Maine Boatbuilding Forum, twice weekly children’s activities, and the Historic Photography and the Thursday Night Lecture Series.

Photograph courtesy Dean Kotula

Photograph courtesy Dean Kotula

Using interactive displays and historic photographs, Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resources explores the past and the future of these resources in Maine.  The exhibit examines the modern technology of fishing and of wind and tidal power, and looks at how this impacts Maine’s working waterfront, culture, environment and tourism.   The opening reception for Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resource is Friday, May 23, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Penobscot Marine Museum’s Main Street Gallery, 40 East Main Street, Searsport.

History Chests: Exhibit Designed by the Sophmore Class of Searsport District High School has a special Opening Reception and tour on Thursday, May 22, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  The students will take visitors to see the sea chests they placed in PMM’s Merithew and Fowler True Ross Houses.  Nine sea captain chests, which contain specific artifacts showing the different aspects of the impact the Penobscot Bay has on the Midcoast region, were assembled and documented by students from the sophomore class of SDHS. The topics include marine art, the granite industry, lumbering, fisheries, the Penobscot Nation, life at sea, navigation, ship building, and Far East trade.

History Chest designed by SDHS students

History Chest designed by SDHS students

A major retrospective of a beloved Maine artist, Eric Hopkins: Shells – Fish – Shellfish, opens Monday, June 16.  Eric Hopkins will be on hand for the Artist’s Reception on  Friday, July 25, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  One of a handful of artists born in Maine to receive national recognition, Hopkins has exhibited in galleries and museums across the country.  This exhibit includes paintings, monotypes and glass and wood sculpture, much of which has not been seen before.  It also includes, for the first time, Hopkins’ personal collection of the skeletons, shells and remnants of creatures picked up on beaches over his lifetime and which have inspired the artwork in this exhibition.  This exhibit is in Penobscot Marine Museum’s Douglas and Margaret Carver Memorial Art Gallery, 11 Church Street, Searsport through Sunday, October 19.

Three photography shows in the Main Street Gallery will explore the art of fish, wind and tide throughout Penobscot Marine Museum’s season.  The first exhibit is Maritime Muse – Inspired By the Sea, Saturday, May 24, through Thursday, June 26.  These exciting photographs by Dean Kotula are from his years of working on foreign factory ships.   Photographs by Lisa Tyson Ennis, What Once Was – Our Changing Fisheries,

document a traditional way of life which is fast disappearing, and include photographs of remote fishing villages in Newfoundland accessible only by boat.  Tuesday, September 9 through Sunday, October 19, The Photography of Antonia Small bears witness to some remarkable souls living along the coast and doing whatever they can to keep the ancient link to fishing and to the sea alive in coastal villages.

“Do It Your Way”: Gee’s Bend Quilts & Quilters in Maine brings quilts hailed by the New York Times as “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced” to Penobscot Marine Museum’s Main Street Gallery, Saturday, August 2 through Sunday, September 7. September 3rd through September 8th four of the Gee’s Bend quilters will be teaching courses at Fiber College of Maine in Searsport.  Maine Fiberarts in Topsham, Maine will also have quilts from Gee’s Bend from Friday, July 4 through Saturday, August 30.  This will be the first time the quilts and the quilters have been north of Boston.

In addition to the five exhibits, the Schooner GUILDIVE will be offering sailing tours of Searsport Harbor on Mondays and Saturdays, every Tuesday the Searsport Farmers’ Market will be on the crescent 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm, children’s activities are scheduled for every Wednesday and Friday, crafters will demonstrations on Thursdays for Artisan Days, and lectures and book signings are scheduled nearly every week.  Please call 207-548-2529 for more information.

Penobscot Marine Museum, 40 East Main Street, Searsport, is open for the 2014 season from Saturday, May 24 through Sunday, October 19.

The Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday noon to 5:00 pm.

Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resources

Saturday, May 24 through Sunday, October 19
Opening reception Friday, May 23, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Penobscot Marine Museum’s Main Street Gallery, 40 East Main Street

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Photo by Maynard Bray

Using interactive displays and photographs, Fish, Wind and Tide: Art and Technology of Maine’s Resources explores the history of Maine’s fisheries, historic coastal tide mills, and wind powered ships. The exhibit also looks at Maine scientists’ pioneering work in the exciting and sometimes controversial future of these resources. How is modern technology affecting our fisheries? Do wind and tidal power have a place in our future? How do modern technologies impact Maine’s working waterfront, culture, environment, and the state’s largest industry of tourism?

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History Chests: Exhibit Designed by the Sophomore Class of Searsport District High School

Saturday, May 24 through Sunday, October 19
Opening Reception Thursday, May 22, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
This exhibit is in Merithew and Fowler True Ross Houses.

Nine sea captain chests, which contain specific artifacts showing the different aspects of the impact the Penobscot Bay has on the Midcoast region, were assembled and documented by students from the sophomore class of SDHS. The topics include marine art, the granite industry, lumbering, fisheries, the Penobscot Nation, life at sea, navigation, ship building, and Far East trade.

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Eric Hopkins: Shells – Fish – Shellfish

Eric-Hopkins-name

Monday, June 16 through Sunday, October 19
Opening reception Friday, July 25, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Blue Fish, 1988, painted wood, 48"x56"x30"

Blue Fish, 1988, painted wood, 48″x56″x30″

This exhibit is in Penobscot Marine Museum’s Douglas and Margaret Carver Memorial Art Gallery, 11 Church Street
Capturing Eric Hopkins’ life-long fascination with life from the sea, this major retrospective includes paintings, monotypes, and glass and wood sculpture, much of which has not been seen before. It also includes Hopkins’ personal collection, which has inspired the work in this exhibition, of the skeletons, shells and other remnants of creatures picked up on beaches over the course of his life. The sea was an integral part of Eric Hopkins’ childhood on the island of North Haven and around Penobscot Bay. “I look back and think how connected everything in my life was,” Hopkins says. “The rocks and shells and bones and branches were my play things. I’d see the patterns of clouds repeated on the waves on the water and later in the flesh of the filleted flounder.”

Broken Shell Form #1, 1986, ink and oil o/c, 4' x 3'

Broken Shell Form #1, 1986, ink and oil o/c, 4′ x 3′

“Do It Your Way”: Gee’s Bend Quilts & Quilters in Maine

Saturday, August 2 through Sunday, September 7
Opening reception Saturday, August 2, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Generously sponsored by Fiber College of Maine and the Emily and William Muir Community Fund of the Maine Community Foundation.

Quilt Collage 1

Gee’s Bend quilts have been hailed by the New York Times as “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced”. Gee’s Bend is a tiny remote town in rural Alabama. For decades the women of Gee’s Bend made quilts to keep their families warm, creating their own designs in isolation. In 1998 art collector Will Arnett recognized these quilts as important works of art and organized The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, an exhibition which began at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and travelled to nine major museums across the country including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Whitney Museum in New York City. This will be the first time the quilts and the quilters have been north of Boston. This exhibit is a collaboration between Penobscot Marine Museum, Maine Fiberarts, and Fiber College of Maine, whose director Astrig Tanguay is responsible for bringing the quilts and quiltmakers to Maine. Gee’s Bend quilters China Pettway, Stella Mae Pettaway, Revil Mosley and Lucy Mingo will be teaching classes at Fiber College of Maine September 3rd through September 8th.

On the evening of September 3rd the First Congregational Church of Searsport will host a public New England boiled dinner, and a discussion forum and gospel singing with China Pettway, Stella Mae Pettaway, Revil Mosley and Lucy Mingo. The forum, during which two quilts will be raffled, will be moderated by Maine Center for Contemporary Art Director Suzette McAvoy. “Do It Your Way”: Gee’s Bend Quilts & Quilters in Maine, but with a different selection of quilts, will be at Maine Fiberarts from Friday, July 4 through Saturday, August 30.

Photography exhibits in the Main Street Gallery

Maritime Muse – Inspired By the Sea
Saturday, May 24, through Thursday, June 26
Opening reception Friday, May 23, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Dean Kotula

Dean Kotula

This historically significant group of silver gelatin photographs by Dean Kotula offers an exciting and rare glimpse of foreign factory ships fishing in U.S. waters. After 1975, every foreign vessel fishing in U.S. waters had to have an American on board during fishing operations to document catches and collect biological data. From 1985 to 1990 Kotula worked aboard these factory ships as an observer, taking full advantage of this extraordinary experience by putting his camera to use.


What Once Was – Our Changing Fisheries
Saturday, June 28 through Tuesday, July 29
Opening reception Saturday, June 28, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Lisa Tyson Ennis

Lisa Tyson Ennis

Hauntingly beautiful photographs by Lisa Tyson Ennis document an ancient coastal way of life which is fast becoming extinct. Included are photographs of remote fishing villages in Newfoundland accessible only by boat. Lisa Tyson Ennis works solely with historical processes: large and medium format cameras, black and white film, handmade toners, and oil paints. Each image is hand printed and painted with light in a traditional wet darkroom. Ennis’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Tides Institute, the Delaware Art Museum, and the Portland Museum of Art.


The Photography of Antonia Small
Tuesday, September 9 through Sunday, October 19
Opening reception Saturday, September 13, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Antonia Small, Fishinghouse detail

Antonia Small, Fishinghouse detail

Antonia Small’s lovely photographs bear witness to remarkable people in coastal villages doing whatever they can to keep the ancient link to fishing and to the sea alive. Her photographic work is devoted to the study of relationships between people, place and time, particularly sea-infused places and the people who love those places. Living in Port Clyde, Antonia Small is happy to be within earshot of the sea and walking distance to a wharf or a beach. Her photographs have been shown in group and solo shows in New England, New York and France.