Rusticators on the Water     

Permanent Exhibit Launching May 25, 2023

The museum’s Lincolnville wherry CUNNER heading out for a day trip. 1995.23.

When Rusticators flocked to Maine in the late 19th to mid-20th centuries, they sought a rustic vacation to retreat from their busy city lives. To get on the water, they commissioned locally-built small wooden boats: rowboats for exploration, daysailers for picnics, and racing boats for yacht club competitions. This exhibit showcases the Maine-built boats at the heart of the rusticating culture and explores their enduring impact.

Working the Sea

May 25 – October 15

A dipnet full of scup, or porgies, rests on the trap boat gunwale as Tony Coccoro repeats the endless task of repairing tears in the weir net. Photograph by Milson Moore, National Fisherman Collection. LB2012.15.33

Fishing is a fundamental and dynamic industry with large-scale drama and ever-changing technologies. It involves grueling work and exposure to the elements, the gaming of natural systems, fierce competition, navigating the tension between prosperity and limitation, and the race to get the product to consumers. The photographs of National Fisherman and its predecessor Atlantic Fisherman have captured these elements of the industry for decades. An upcoming photo book by long-time National Fisherman contributor, Michael Crowley, will share these photographs and their stories. This exhibit is inspired by his work.

Sponsored by:

In Extremis: Historic Ships in America

May 25 – August 5

NS SAVANNAH, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship built as a showcase for President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative, Baltimore, Maryland. Photograph by Pim Van Hemmen.

In Extremis is photographer Pim Van Hemmen’s ongoing project to document America’s historic ships. Upon moving to the United States from the Netherlands, Van Hemmen noted that relatively little attention is paid to our country’s maritime past and its historic vessels. In response, he set out to create a visual record of this maritime past. The exhibit takes its name from the In Extremis doctrine, which allows ship operators to take extreme measures to avoid imminent danger.

Sam Murfitt and Maine’s Working Waterfronts

August 6 – October 15

Lobstermen pose with their winning lobster boat racing trophies. Photograph by Sam Murfitt.

Photographer Sam Murfitt has spent most of his life connected with the water—while making photographs, building boats, and working for fishing publications. For decades, he has photographed fishermen, their work, and their boats, and in that work, has come to see their way of life as finite and fleeting. His images document that lifestyle and offer a window into Maine’s working waterfronts and boatbuilding traditions.

Sponsored by:

Searsport’s V-ALT Students Present…

May 25 – October 15, 2023

Barque ELBERTA of Prospect. Capt. Wm. Hichborn. leaving Marseilles, July 1855″ by Joseph Honore Pellegrin, PMM #441

Wooden sailing vessels built in Searsport and Maine sailed to ports around the world in the 19th century and were documented in detailed ship’s portraits. In this student exhibit, participants in the Searsport V-ALT program will feature select paintings from the PMM collections that illustrate a variety of sailing vessels and ports. Their research and writing will put these paintings in context as they explore life at sea, foreign ports, and Searsport’s connection to all of it.

The Gulf of Maine Resources

May 27-October 16, 2022

The Gulf of Maine exhibit, created by the Searsport District High School Fall 2021 Marine Science Students, complements the artifacts and stories of the Gone Fishing exhibit in Old Town Hall. It identifies six current issues in the Gulf of Maine, including bycatch, sharks, green crabs, and the impact of warming waters.

Photography Collection Overview

May 27-October 16, 2022

The foyer of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Library offers an overview of the major photography collections and photographers with biographies, examples of work, and related ephemera. A large digital display features a rotating slideshow showing highlights from the archive. On weekdays, visitors are welcomed into the photo archives where there are additional displays, and they can observe and interact with staff and volunteers.

Picturing Penobscot Bay

May 27-October 16, 2022

Blue Bottom, oil on canvas by Colin Page

Picturing Penobscot Bay, guest curated by Carl Little, will feature around 40 works of art that share a strong connection to — and/or vision of — Penobscot Bay. Featured artists are Nancy Morgan Barnes, M. J. Bronstein, Molly Brown, David Dewey, Gregory Dunham, Sarah Faragher, Anina Porter Fuller, Brita Holmquist, Eric Hopkins, Jill Hoy, Scott Moore, Colin Page, Stefan Pastuhov, and Robert Pollien. Along with contemporary works, Picturing Penobscot Bay will also include a selection of historical paintings related to Penobscot Bay from the Museum’s collection. Historical artists include Waldo Peirce, Percy Sanborn, Dolly Smith, William Pierce Stubbs, Paul Stubing, and George Wasson.

Up River: Selections from the Captain Bill Abbott Collection

May 27-October 16, 2022

Crews of Ross tugboats BISMARCK and WALTER ROSS on Lobster Claw Wharf at Fort Point, Stockton Springs. Captain William Abbott Collection, LB2014.7.33

Capt. Abbott was an avid collector of photographs; PMM’s new exhibit, Up River: Selections from the Captain Bill Abbott Collection picks out some highlights from this archive. When Capt. Abbott passed away in 2014, he left Penobscot Marine Museum his treasured collection, where it is being digitized and preserved.

This exhibit was generously funded by lead donor Wayne Hamilton, as well as Mr. and Mrs. E. Vance Bunker, Captain Almer and Linda Dinsmore, Captain David Gelinas, Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association, Penobscot Bay Tractor Tug Company, Captain Prentice Strong, and Captain Duke Tomlin.

In Scaling Up: The Canoa da Picada Plan Goes Full-Size

In Scaling Up: The Canoa da Picada Plan Goes Full-Size,  João Bentes has recreated a workspace to traditionally loft, or scale up from a paper plan to a full size work plan, the “Canoa da Picada,” a Portuguese Sailing Sardine Carrier, in sections. Break the Anchor, a Portuguese nonprofit, is building the “Canoa da Picada” in collaboration with The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine. After construction, launch, and sea trials, the vessel will cross the Atlantic through the Azores, landing on Portuguese shores to establish a seamanship and boatbuilding apprentice-based school in Portugal using the vessel as an itinerant workshop. On display May 25 through October 20, 2019.