A bizarre cage-chair on wheels, built in 1896 as a deterrent to Maine’s hobos, will be on display as part of Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2015 exhibit Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light. The chair, which is on loan to the Penobscot Marine Museum from the Bangor Historical Society, was designed and apparently used by Oakland, Maine deputy sheriff Sanford J. Baker, but he failed to get the Maine Legislature to adopt it state-wide. The chair was then exhibited during parades as a side-show. Around 1920 a photograph was taken of the chair with a bystander posing inside. This photograph and the chair will both be on exhibit at Penobscot Marine Museum this summer.
“We are grateful to the Bangor Historical Society for the loan of this unusual object, said Kevin Johnson, Penobscot Marine Museum’s photo archivist. “It is exciting to have the real object to exhibit next to the photograph.” The chair currently resides at the Bangor Police Department. It weighs 800 pounds and is being transported by special arrangement with American Concrete Industries in Veazie.
“Sharing pieces of history is an important part of our mission,” Bangor Historical Society Executive Director Melissa Gerety said. “Partnerships like this allow more people a chance to learn about the history of our region.”
The Hobo Chair and photograph are one of many unusual exhibits in Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light. 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”. 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. Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light is at Penobscot Marine Museum May 23 through October 18.
The Bangor Historical Society has been preserving, protecting and sharing the rich history of the Bangor Region since 1864. The BHS is based in the historic Thomas A. Hill House at on the corner of Union and High Streets in Bangor. It houses one of the nation’s largest Civil War collections, a number of items from Bangor businesses and families as well as an extensive photo collection. During the summer season the BHS offers a number of walking tours telling the tales of Bangor and its people. The Bangor Historical Society and Thomas A. Hill House Museum is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning June 2nd. Call 942-1900 or visit http://www.bangorhistoricalsociety.org for more information.