April News
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Tatting and Midcoast Maine

Thank you to everyone who attended one of the tatting workshops or the talk on Wealthy P. Nichols. You can watch the talk on YouTube by clicking here! We had an excellent turnout, which inspired us to team up with Carver Memorial Library for an in-person Tatting Crafternoon. Join us on April 6th from 3:30-5 at Carver Memorial Library to meet with other tatters, show and tell tatting pieces and shuttles, and find out more about the craft. Find out more here. Also, if you missed the tatting workshop but want to make your own tatted bookmark, you can now purchase the workshop kit through PMM’s store. Find the Tatting Bookmark as well as other workshop kits here.


Do you enjoy watching our programming on YouTube? Be sure to subscribe to make sure you see all our content.

The 2024 PMM Calendar is Available Now!


Exhibit at Camden Public Library

PMM's first new exhibit of 2023 will open on April 1, in the Picker Room at the Camden Public Library as part of the library's Maritime Month celebration. Working the Sea draws from the National Fisherman Collection to share photographs and stories from its rich archives. The brief essays accompanying each photo were authored by National Fisherman contributor Michael Crowley, and are part of a forthcoming book of the same title. The exhibit will spend the month of April in Camden before returning to the museum's campus for the summer season where it will be part of a larger exhibit.

Michael Crowley will give a talk at the library on his experience writing for National Fisherman on April 27th at 6:00. Details about the exhibit and talk are available on the library's website.

Welcome Visitors, Share Stories on Tours, Lead Demonstrations

Sound like something you would like to do? We are hiring museum interpreters for the 2023 Season. Find out more here. Send your resume today to Jeana at [email protected]!

Collections Management System

Penobscot Marine Museum’s online database has long been a window into our collections and an invitation to journey through Maine’s seafaring history and culture. We are excited to share that we will soon be adopting a new software that will enhance that portal, provide greater access, and invite more opportunities for exploration and discovery. So far we have over $14,000 committed towards our $65,000 goal. Please consider a gift to help us reach our goal.


One-Design Racers in PMM Collection

By Cipperly Good, Richard Saltonstall Jr. Curator of Maritime History

A one-design denotes a race boat built to specific dimensions with regulations pertaining to the sail area, gear used, and racing rules. With the theory that everything is “identical,” the first boat to cross the finish line wins! Our new exhibit Rusticators on the Water features some one-designs.

As members of the Eastern Yacht Club and Boston Yacht Club discovered Maine’s cruising grounds on their annual cruises, many decided to set up a summer home base. Cruising was not enough excitement for some, and yacht clubs started popping up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The clubs assembled fleets of one-designs, and some of the retired racing boats have made their way into the Penobscot Marine Museum collection. Stop by to see them this summer. Until then, here is a bit of background.

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Photo Archives News

Maynard Bray Collection April 2023

By Matt Wheeler, Digital Collections Curator

Maynard’s original donation of work to PMM consisted of over 700 pages of negatives. These have all been digitized now, but we’ve been publishing them to our image database in groups, corresponding to On Site with Maynard blog posts. However, this has left a lot of gaps in the content. Rather than a featured story this month, we’re taking the opportunity to fill in those gaps. We’ve uploaded 1000 new images.

We invite you to browse the online collection.

Kosti Ruohomaa Collection April 2023

By Matt Wheeler, Digital Collections Curator

If you live near sea level where the humidity gets high, fog is a feature of place, as much as hills, fields, or water. Ruohomaa was spellbound by fog, relishing the hush and mysterious blurring it applied to landscapes, particularly those of coastal Maine. As he put it: “...fog is beautiful; it is a mood that cannot be duplicated by any other variation of the elements. It is somber, gray, and mournful. It is quiet and peaceful.” This was a visual theme he circled back to repeatedly as a photographer, mostly in his personal work.

On a more peculiar note, during the early years of his contract with Black Star Publishing, Kosti’s supervisors sent him to meet an unusual celebrity: Sharkey the Sea Lion, who trained to be a performer at a dedicated facility in Kingston, NY. Sharkey’s owner, Mark Huling, had been a former Ringling Brothers employee; he and his daughter spent years with the animal, who appeared on Broadway, in films, and on television. The short series suggests the animal’s keen intelligence and social nature, and also raises more recent questions about animal welfare.

To view the new content, visit the museum’s Kosti Ruohomaa site.

Goodbye to a Good Friend

By Kevin Johnson, Photo Archivist

I still remember the day in 2016 when Mary Jane "MJ" Phillips Smith first came to visit. The photo archives was still on the 3rd floor and I could hear her slow steps coming up the stairs. When she finally appeared, sporting her spiky blond hair and Elton John style glasses, she held a shoe box in her hands. Once she caught her breath she said, "I saw your article in the paper, dearie, and I'm hoping you can help me with my father's postcards." This was the beginning of our friendship. I soon learned that her father, Gus, and uncle, Luther, had a postcard card and map business that they ran in the 1950s-1970s, She was looking for a home for these historic Maine treasures. She donated the postcards and the slides used to make them to PMM, as well as the inventory of maps and the rights to reproduce them. She passed away last month at the age of 89. MJ was witty, curious and positive, always ending her email notes to me with "smile." She will be greatly missed, but her family's legacy in Maine's history will live on. 

Research and Wrecks

By Camden Breckenridge, 2022 Summer Intern

Prior to my work as an intern, I had been volunteering with PMM and was asked to conduct the research for Ripped from the Headlines, a fan favorite summer event. I searched through books and databases looking for stories of the sea involving Searsport captains or their ships, and I found dozens of these stories of shipwrecks and rescues. One of the most impressive tales I found, and a personal favorite of mine, was that of the CHARLES DENNIS.

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