Exhibits

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Photography Exhibit Brings History to Life at Penobscot Marine Museum

(LB1990) CARRIE WINSLOW Crew Taking Up new Topsail, Ruth Montgomery, c. 1895-1916

(LB1990) CARRIE WINSLOW Crew Taking Up new Topsail, Ruth Montgomery, c. 1895-1916

Penobscot Marine Museum opens its 2015 season on May 23 with four major exhibitions of historic photography under the umbrella title Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light.  The campus will be filled with hands-on activities.  Museum visitors will be able to walk into a huge camera, step inside an historic darkroom, watch a tintype being made, make a cyanotype photograph, make a pin-hole camera, take a photograph with a pin-hole camera, take photographs of themselves standing beside images of people from the 1880’s, add their own photographs to an online museum exhibit, and add their selfies to the museum’s “Wall of Selfies”.  Audio clips of interviews, biographies, and commentaries by historians, curators and professional photographers will be available to visitors on their mobile devices through QR codes, and on tablets in the exhibits.

The four exhibits in Exploring the Magic of Photography are Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920; Twenty Best; Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015; and The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection.  On Friday, May 22nd from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm the public is invited to the opening reception for the 2015 season, which will be held in the newly renovated Visitors Center on the Crescent, 2 Church Street, Searsport.

Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920 explores the pioneering work of five women photographers who excelled in a field dominated by men.  Ruth Montgomery and Joanna Colcord grew up sailing around the world with their sea captain fathers.  While on board ship they taught themselves the craft of photography and documented life at sea and life in the countries to which they sailed.  Evie Barbour’s photographer husband had a business producing photographic postcards.  She helped him with the business, and when he died in 1907 she was able to take it over and support herself and her children.  Ida Crie photographed her native city of Rockland, creating a loving portrait and important historic document of the way Rockland was at the turn of the century.  Harriet Hitchborn grew up in Stockton Springs and developed her own successful postcard business.

 (R2014) Horse in Winter, Round Image, Anonymous

(R2014) Horse in Winter, Round Image, Anonymous

Twenty Best, an exhibit of the twenty most fascinating photographs in the Penobscot Marine Museum collection, includes a photograph of the Great Bangor Fire of 1911 which destroyed much of the city, the earliest known photograph of Searsport, and an unusual ambrotype circa 1870 of a Chinese steward.  Also included are photographs by the legendary Finnish-American photo-journalist Kosti Rhuohoma, who shot iconic portraits of working Americans which appeared in LIFE, National Geographic and other publications from 1940 to 1960.

Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015 explores the snapshot as a self-portrait of our culture.   In the 1800’s cameras were expensive and photography was the work of professionals, but when Eastman Kodak introduced the inexpensive Brownie camera in 1900 suddenly everyone had a camera in their hand.  What do we photograph and why, and what do the snapshots we take tell us about ourselves?  This exhibit is guest curated by retired Beloit College professor Michael Simon.

The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection is an intimate portrait of two families of boat builders, one who built traditional wooden lobster boats for local fishermen and the other an innovator in the custom yacht business. These photographs, taken during the 1960’s and 1970’s, celebrate the uniquely Maine way of life of the Luke family in East Boothbay and the Carter family in Waldoboro. Photographer Red Boutilier captured an era in Maine boat building which set the standards for today’s Maine boat builders’ international reputation for excellence.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is part of the Maine Photo Project, a year-long statewide celebration of photography in Maine in 2015.  This collaboration of twenty-six cultural organizations offers exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as inspiration for photographers.

Two additional exhibits round out the 2015 season.  Disorganized and Defeated: The Battle for Penobscot Bay 1779 displays for the first time the Museum’s newly acquired court-martial papers of Commodore Dudley Saltonstall.  The exhibit examines the effects of the Revolutionary War on the citizens of Penobscot Bay.  This exhibit complements the replica of the Revolutionary War period frigate L’HERMIONE’s arrival in Castine Harbor.  Memoirs of War: A Soldier’s Seabag tells the story through their mementos and souvenirs of ten Maine veterans’ wartime experiences from WW II to the present.  This exhibit was designed and curated by the Senior Class of Searsport District High School.

Penobscot Marine Museum is grateful to the following individuals and organizations, without whose support Exploring the Magic of Photography would not have been possible:  John Bielenberg for designing and building, with Richard Mann, the camera obscura; Maine Humanities Council for their grant funding Through Her Lens; Maine Humanities Council and Maine Arts Commission for funding The Maine Frontier and Make a Cyanotype;  Alice Knight and  Stockton Springs Historical Society for loans of photographs for Through Her Lens;  Libby Bischoff and Maizie Hough for consulting on Through Her Lens;  Liz Fitzsimmons for researching and interviewing The Carters and the Lukes; Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Britta Konau, Brenton Hamilton, and Maynard Bray for commentary on Twenty Best; Alice Knight, Silvia Wardwell, Betty Schopmeyer, Dan Harrison and Beverly Mann for commentary on Through Her Lens; and Betty Shopmeyer for scene painting. A special thank you to Dave Johnson for the gardens and for construction and painting to Paul Jean, Jeff Dorr, John Ward, Brian Marquis and to Tom Preble for making it happen.

 

About Penobscot Marine Museum

Penobscot Marine Museum is located on Route One in the historic seacoast village of Searsport, Maine.  The permanent exhibits include a ship captain’s house, an exquisite collection of Buttersworth marine paintings, scrimshaw, 19th century Chinese and Japanese pottery, paintings and textiles, traditional small water craft, a fisheries exhibit, and an heirloom vegetable garden.  The museum has over 140,000 historic photographs, and a maritime history research library.  Eight of its twelve exhibit buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Museum is open seven days a week, Memorial Day weekend through the third weekend in October.  Museum hours are Monday – Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday noon – 5:00 pm.  For more information go to www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org, call the Visitors Center 207-548-0334 or offices at 207-548-2529.

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Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light

First Major Exhibition of Penobscot Marine Museum’s Photography Collection Opening in 2015
May 23 through October 18, 2015

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In 2007 a group of 35,000 historic glass plate negatives and photographs were rescued from a flood by Kevin Johnson. Johnson then brought them to Penobscot Marine Museum for preservation, and become the museum’s Photography Archivist. Since then tens of thousands of negatives, prints, slides, postcards and daguerreotypes of images taken around the world have poured into the collection, making Penobscot Marine Museum’s historical photography collection one of the largest and most comprehensive in New England. Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is the museum’s first major exhibition utilizing this photography collection. The exhibit will open at Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine on May 23 and continue through October 18, 2015.

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Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is a campus-wide installation of multiple inter-active exhibits: a “selfie” wall on which visitors can post their “selfie” taken in the museum; a room-sized walk-in camera obscura in which visitors can experience firsthand how light traveling through a lens creates an image; a replica of an early 20th century darkroom complete with a glass plate negative enlarger; Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920: an exhibit exploring the work of five women photographers; Twenty Best, the twenty most fascinating photographs in the collection, with an audio tour; Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015, curated by retired photography professor Michael Simon; The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection is an intimate portrait of two families of boat builders, one who built traditional wooden lobster boats for local fishermen and the other an innovator in the custom yacht business. These photographs, taken during the 1960’s and 1970’s, celebrate the uniquely Maine way of life of the Luke family in East Boothbay and the Carter family in Waldoboro. Photographer Red Boutilier captured an era in Maine boat building which set the standards for today’s Maine boat builders’ international reputation for excellence.

Exhibition events include a film screening of The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson with a companion multimedia presentation by filmmaker Sumner McKane; cyanotype-making workshops; pin-hole camera making workshops; tin-type demonstrations; and backdrops enabling visitors to take photographs of themselves “inside” historic photographs.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is part of the Maine Photo Project (www.mainephotoproject.org), a year-long statewide celebration of photography in Maine, beginning in January 2015. This collaboration of twenty-six cultural organizations will offer exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as inspiration for photographers.

Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920 is supported by a grant from the Maine Humanities Foundation.

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Kids, Cameras, and Post-war Waterfronts

The Penobscot Marine Museum will exhibit photographs from their collection at the Camden Public Library during April’s “Maritime Month” celebration. “Kids, Cameras, and Post-war Waterfronts” is a a collection of photographs taken by Don Merchant and Maynard Bray in the late 1940s along the waterfront in Rockland and other midcoast towns. The photos will be an display all month; Matt Wheeler of the Penobscot Marine Museum, Maynard Bray, and Don Merchant will give a gallery talk and slide show with photos and commentary through time and the Midcoast on Tuesday evening, April 7, at 7:00 pm. All are welcome!

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Don Merchant and Maynard Bray, both born in Rockland two days apart, became fast friends when the sixth grade brought them together again. Boats became their shared passion, and each went on to make a career of things maritime—Don by shipping as an engineer (worldwide with Isthmian Lines, then locally with the Maine State Ferry Service) after his Maine Maritime Academy education, followed by establishing Merchant’s Landing on Spruce Head Island with his wife, Sally; Maynard, first in shipbuilding as a marine engineer, then with Mystic Seaport, and finally as an editor, writer, and boatbuilder in Brooklin.

kid on raft

Don’s interest in picture taking came from his stepfather, Sid Cullen, who was the Courier- Gazette’s staff photographer (and, ultimately, its owner). Maynard’s interest came from that same source as well as from his cousin Elmer Montgomery whose collection of photos, like Don’s and Maynard’s, is now at Penobscot Marine Museum.

Don’s camera was a Kodak Duoflex and Maynard’s was (mostly) his mother’s folding Jiffy Kodak. They processed their own films and printed their own pictures. Although they still take photos and always have, those shown here cover only the post-war years from 1946 to 1949 when Don and Maynard considered local waterfronts their playground.

Click here for more information

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Gigantic Walk-in Camera Planned for Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2015 Season

camera obscura mock-up

A huge walk-in camera, designed by John Bielenberg and built by John Bielenberg and Richard Mann, is one of the many inter-active exhibits planned By Penobscot Marine Museum for this summer’s Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light.  This is the first major exhibition to feature the museum’s extensive historic photography collection of over 140,000 negatives, prints, slides, postcards and daguerreotypes.

The camera obscura is the precursor of our modern camera.  Its principles were used by the ancient Greeks to observe solar eclipses.  Inside the museum’s camera obscura, light sensitive paper will be available for visitors to take their own “photographs” from the projected image, and paper and pencils will be available for sketching the image, a technique used Leonardo da Vinci in the Renaissance.

PMM’s camera obscura; Horse in Winter, Round Image

PMM’s camera obscura; Horse in Winter, Round Image

Other exhibits in Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light include Museum Selfies taken by museum visitors; Visit an Antique Darkroom complete with a glass plate negative enlarger; Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920; Twenty Best featuring the most fascinating photographs in the collection; Evolution of the Photographic Snapshot: 1888-2015, curated by retired photography professor Michael Simon; The Carters and the Lukes – Selections from the Red Boutilier Collection is an intimate portrait of two families of boat builders, one who built traditional wooden lobster boats for local fishermen and the other an innovator in the custom yacht business. These photographs, taken during the 1960’s and 1970’s, celebrate the uniquely Maine way of life of the Luke family in East Boothbay and the Carter family in Waldoboro. Photographer Red Boutilier captured an era in Maine boat building which set the standards for today’s Maine boat builders’ international reputation for excellence.

Included in the museum’s events will be a screening of the film The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson.  Isaac Walton Simpson was a blacksmith, barber, musician, woodsman, mechanic, and father of thirteen children.  This live multimedia presentation uses film, Simpson’s photographs, oral histories and live music to illustrate the pioneering frontier culture of northern Maine at the turn-of-the-century, a pivotal time in Maine’s history.

Anonymous; Boy with Oranges, Buenos Aires, c. 1895-1916

Anonymous; Boy with Oranges, Buenos Aires, c. 1895-1916

Visitors to Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light will be able to take cyanotype-making workshops; pin-hole camera-making workshops; to see tin-type demonstrations and to have their own tin-type made.  Life-sized photographic backdrops in several exhibits will encourage visitors to take photographs of themselves “inside” historic photographs.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is part of the Maine Photo Project (www.mainephotoproject.org), a year-long statewide celebration of photography in Maine.  This collaboration of twenty-six cultural organizations will offer exhibitions, a major publication, and a variety of programs exploring the state’s role as inspiration for photographers.

The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson is made possible by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission.  Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine, 1890-1920 is made possible by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council.

Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light opens at Penobscot Marine Museum on May 23, 2015 and continues through October 18, 2015.   The Maine Frontier: Through The Lens Of Isaac Walton Simpson will be shown on Thursday, August 13, 7 p.m.

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Memoirs of War: A Soldier’s Seabag

The story of ten Maine veterans’ wartime experiences from WW II to the present, as told through their mementos and souvenirs.  This exhibit was designed and curated by the Senior Class of Searsport District High School.

Memoirs of War: A Soldier’s Seabag in PMM’s Douglas and Margaret Carver Memorial Art Gallery, 11 Church Street

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Disorganized and Defeated: The Battle for Penobscot Bay 1779

In PMM’s Main Street Gallery, 40 East Main Street.

The newly acquired court-martial papers of Commodore Dudley Saltonstall will be displayed for the first time in this exhibit examining the effects of the Revolutionary War on the citizens of Penobscot Bay.  This exhibit coincides with  replica of the Revolutionary War period frigate L’HERMIONE’s arrival in Castine harbor.

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Penobscot Marine Museum member special offer!

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Bring your valid PMM membership card and receive free admission from Monday, March 30 through Sunday, April 5, 2015 to the Portland Museum of Art’s exhibit The Coast & the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America. Not a member? Join online or call us at 207-548-2529 ext.221.

Individual members will receive one free adult admission and Dual/Family or higher levels will be entitled to free admission for two adults, along with accompanying children under the age of 18. Benefits will not include member discounts in the PMA Store, PMA Café, or on any ticketed education programs or events that maybe taking place that week.

About the exhibit:

The Coast & the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America is on view at the Portland Museum of Art January 30, 2015 through April 26, 2015. Organized by the New-York Historical Society, The Coast & the Sea features 52 marine paintings and 10 maritime artifacts from New-York Historical Society’s large and impressive collection.

The Coast & the Sea explores the rich visual traditions of marine and maritime art through a diverse selection of paintings and objects that range in date from 1750 to 1904. For example, early 19th-century seascapes by Thomas Birch, who was considered the country’s first specialist in marine paintings, trace the adaptation of Anglo-Dutch painting conventions to an American context. Other highlights include spirited paintings of famous sea battles that celebrate the heroic feats of the U.S. Navy, and romanticized portrayals of ships in storms that symbolize life’s trials and the vicissitudes of nature.

 Image: Junius Brutus Stearns (United States, 1810-1885), Fishing in a Catboat in Great South Bay, 1871, oil on canvas, 29 x 39 1/4 inches. New-York Historical Society, Gift of C. Otto von Kienbusch, 1964.21

Image: Junius Brutus Stearns (United States, 1810-1885), Fishing in a Catboat in Great South Bay, 1871, oil on canvas, 29 x 39 1/4 inches. New-York Historical Society, Gift of C. Otto von Kienbusch, 1964.21

There are portraits of esteemed merchants, mariners, and naval heroes, as well as of notable crafts, including the legendary naval frigate the USS Constitution (known as “Old Ironsides”). Views of bustling harbors and scenic sites along the water by leading landscape artists of the day—such as Samuel Colman, Sanford Gifford, John Frederick Kensett, and Francis Augustus Silva—showcase American waterways as a source of aesthetic inspiration, economic growth, and leisure activities. The global reach of American maritime activities is exemplified in a rare 19th-century painting by an unidentified Chinese artist, portraying the harbor of Canton.

Maritime artifacts such as an elaborately engraved whale’s tooth scrimshaw from the mid-19th century, a mariner’s octant from 1840, and a handsome silver presentation tureen commemorating acts of bravery during the War of 1812 provide additional historical context for understanding the visual and material culture of seafaring life in the United States.

For more information, click here.

Penobscot Marine Museum’s Historic Photography Exhibit Now in Deer Isle

Penobscot Marine Museum’s historic photography exhibit Hancock County Through Eastern’s Eye is now at the Island Heritage Trust barn, in Deer Isle, Maine.  The photographs in Hancock County Through Eastern’s Eye are of places people loved a century ago, when the owner of Eastern Illustrating sent his crews with their box cameras into tiny towns telling them to ask local citizens what they should photograph, what was important to them about their town.   This exhibit is hosted by the Deer-Isle-Stonington Historical Society, and will be at the Island Heritage Trust barn, 420 Sunset Rd., Deer Isle, through August 31st.

Stonington, Maine courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

Stonington, Maine courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

An online exhibit on Penobscot Marine Museum’s website www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org includes many additional Hancock County images.   The Eastern collection is the largest single photographic collection in Maine, consisting of nearly 50,000 images of Maine and the rest of New England and upstate New York. Most of the photos are on glass-plate negatives.   The Penobscot Marine Museum is raising funds to acquire more of Eastern’s negatives, and has recently added a searchable database online to their website which includes nearly 30,000 Eastern Illustrating photographs. Photo prints are available from the museum, with proceeds from their sale going to expand the collection.  The exhibit was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts and is part of four county exhibits the Penobscot Marine Museum will produce.

Exhibit hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  The exhibit is free.  For more information go to www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org or www.dis-historicalsociety.org.

Penobscot Marine Museum is in Searsport, Maine and has seven new exhibits and over fifty programs and events during the 2014 season.  Its three acre, ten building campus is  open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday noon to 5:00 pm, through Sunday, October 19.

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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