News and Press Releases

Searsport High School Students Launch Their Boats

Last year’s Searsport District High School students launching their boats in May 2015

Last year’s Searsport District High School students launching their boats in May 2015

Ten students from Searsport District High School with nine community volunteers, and master boat-builder Greg Rossel have been working together since mid-January building two Shellback Dinghies for the class The Geometry of Boat Building. The dinghies, which the students will launch at Searsport Town Dock on Thursday, May 26 at noon, are small sail boats designed by E.B. White’s son Joel White. This is the sixth year for The Geometry of Boat Building, a collaboration between Searsport District High School and Penobscot Marine Museum held at the museum’s Hamilton Learning Center in Searsport.

As they build the boats, the students explore marine physics and engineering concepts, Newton’s laws of motion, traditional and modern wood working, chemical reactions, and navigation. The class is taught by Greg Rossel who has been teaching boat building at WoodenBoat School for over twenty years, but it would not be possible without the additional help of community volunteers at every class: Susan Orsato, Lora Mills and Rick Fitzsimmons of Belfast, Gerry Saunders of Unity, Bruce Brown of Brewer, Rob Giffin of East Orland, Fred Kircheis of Carmel, Dan Merrill of Stockton Springs, and Pete Jenkins from Prospect.

Wayne Hamilton, owner of Hamilton Marine, teaches a navigation class, and the students travel to Camden to work with sailmaker Grant Gambell to make sails for the dinghies. The class would not be possible without local businesses who donate time and materials: Gambell and Hunter Sailmakers, Hamilton Marine, Epifanes, Maine Coast Lumber, WoodenBoat Store, Chesapeake Light Craft, George Kirby Jr Paint Company.

Edith & Bennett To Sing At Penobscot Marine Museum Members Opening

Edith Gawler and Bennett Konesni

Edith Gawler and Bennett Konesni

Edith Gawler and Bennett Konesni, who play banjo and fiddle and sing old-time music from Maine and beyond, will be playing at Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine for a Members Reception in Main Street Gallery on Friday, May 20, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Edith grew up in Belgrade, Maine as a member of the legendary Gawler Family Band. Together Edith & Bennett have played Maine music across the U.S. and around the world. This event is free to Penobscot Marine Museum members. Museum membership is available online or by calling 207-548-0334 or 2529.

“It was one of the best nights of music the Parrish [Art Museum] has ever experienced, and the dynamism, charm, and talent of Edith and Bennett have made an everlasting imprint,” says Amy Kirwin of the Parrish Art Museum. In addition to their music, Edith and Bennett own and operate Duckback Farm in Belfast, Maine, which focuses on growing garlic and culinary herbs for table and seed.

Penobscot Marine Museum opens for the season on Saturday, May 28th. New this year, residents of Waldo County will receive free admission, each town during a specific week. Each town’s free week is listed here. Residents of Lincolnville and Islesboro will kick off the program with free admission to Penobscot Marine Museum from Sunday, May 29 through Saturday, June 4.

Museum To Host Open House For Local Businesses

Aerial view of Penobscot Marine Museum’s 3 acres and 12 buildings.

Aerial view of Penobscot Marine Museum’s 3 acres and 12 buildings.

Owners and staff of area businesses are invited to a party and special preview of Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2016 exhibits on Wednesday, May 18th, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The museum’s theme Wish You Were here: Communicating Maine includes several exhibits; Historic Maine: A Postcard View, Acadia National Park: A Postcard View, and Maine: A Continuum of Place. Carl Little, author of Paintings of Maine, Art of the Maine Islands and Guest Curator of the museum’s exhibit Maine: A Continuum of Place will be attending, along with many of the artists represented in the exhibit. Photography Archivist Kevin Johnson will also be on hand to discuss the museum’s extensive historic photography and postcard collection featured in these exhibits.

Each business attending will receive a gift of five free passes to Penobscot Marine Museum. “We wanted to say thank you to all of our local businesses,” says Liz Lodge, the museum’s Executive Director. “These local businesses do so much for the community and for us, they help make this area vibrant.” Four of the twelve museum buildings will be open in this special preview: the ship captain’s house, Main Street Gallery, Visitors Center, and Merithew. The museum opens to the public on Saturday, May 28.

Five Thousand U.S. Fishing Industry Photographs Now Online


In 2012, the international media company Diversified Communications donated over 15,000 photographs to Penobscot Marine Museum from its National Fisherman magazine archives. This collection, the largest of its kind, documents the U. S. fishing industry from the 1950’s to the 1990’s, providing a unique detailed visual survey of commercial fishing in this country during a time when the increasing industrialization of fishing had enormous and often devastating consequences for individual fishermen and for fishing stock. John K. Bullard, the Regional Administrator for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), calls the National Fisherman collection of “…great national historical significance because it documents a critical period in the history of U.S. fishing.” In 2014 the museum received grant funding to digitize the collection. The first 5000 photographs are now available to the public online at All 15,000 images will be online by 2017.

Native Fisherman Operating Motorized Boat, PMM National Fisherman Collection

Native Fisherman Operating Motorized Boat, PMM National Fisherman Collection

The National Fisherman collection includes photographs of all aspects of the fishing industry. There are photographs of Greenpeace activists protesting foreign whaling, of fishing strikes in the Alaskan salmon fisheries, of tired East Coast draggers, foreign and domestic factory ships, and Alaskan halibut trawlers. There are photographs of the people of the industry; fishermen hauling their catch, fish processors in factories, and angry fishermen in meetings with industry regulators. National Fisherman photographed fishing vessels being built at sea, people working at fish piers, fish markets, and fishing industry trade shows. Now for the first time an international audience of scholars, historians, film makers, educators, curators, ecologists, policy makers and the general public will all have access to this wealth of visual documentation.

National Fisherman is the only national commercial fishing publication in the U.S. Over the course of their history, which can be traced back to a 1921 fish report in Belfast, Maine’s newspaper Republican Journal, they amassed what became the largest collection of 20th century photographs documenting the fishing industry. The decision to donate their vast photography archive to Penobscot Marine Museum was made by parent company Diversified Communications when National Fisherman’s photo submissions switched to digital.

Penobscot Marine Museum is extremely grateful to the following for their support: this project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and by The Windhover Foundation. This project has also been financed (in part) with Federal funds from the National Maritime Heritage program, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the contents and opinions contained herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior.

Transporting an Elephant, PMM National Fisherman Collection

Transporting an Elephant, PMM National Fisherman Collection

Vintage Photos And Contemporary Art Come Together In Unusual Penobscot Marine Museum Exhibit

On view at PMM from May 28 through October 16, 2016

Mary Bourke, Bathers, acrylic on birch panel, 2015, 18 by 18 inches

Mary Bourke, Bathers, acrylic on birch panel, 2015, 18 by 18 inches

As part of its Wish You Were Here: Communicating Maine summer programming, the Penobscot Marine Museum will present Maine: A Continuum of Place in the Main Street Gallery, May 28 to October 16. An opening reception for the show, with Guest Curator Carl Little, is planned for Friday, May 27, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Carl Little, author of Paintings of Maine, Art of the Maine Islands and other books, chose vintage photographs and postcards of coastal Maine from the Penobscot Marine Museum’s collection and paired them with images of those places by contemporary Maine artists. The photographs, which will have been enlarged, and the artworks will be displayed side by side.

Pairing PMM’s Three Bathers photo with Bourke Bathers

Pairing PMM’s Three Bathers photo with Bourke Bathers

“Pairing vintage photographs with modern-day paintings of similar subjects by artists active today was not only great fun, but also a way to highlight what I call the ‘continuum of place,’ ” says Little. “Maine’s landscape has inspired a remarkable sense of place over the past 150 years,” he notes, “and that vibrant tradition continues today.” The exhibition features the work of 17 artists from across Maine: Joel Babb, Susan Lewis Baines, Nancy Morgan Barnes, Mary Bourke, Sam Cady, Alison Goodwin, Philip Frey, Liddy Hubbell, Tina Ingraham, Ben Lincoln, Jeff Loxterkamp, Caren-Marie Michel, Linda Norton, Winslow Myers, Karen Spitfire, Jude Valentine, and David Vickery.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of “Maine Postcard Day”, Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2016 series of exhibits Wish You Were Here: Communicating Maine presents a hundred years of images which have been used to communicate the unique qualities of Maine to the outside world. Using postcards, photography, and contemporary art, these exhibits explore the changes which have taken place in the images which have we have used to communicate “Maine”.

Alamo Theatre Presents Talk On Historic Photographs And Film Of Bucksport

Main Street Bucksport, Penobscot Marine Museum Photo Archive

Main Street Bucksport, Penobscot Marine Museum Photo Archive

Historic photographs and vintage film footage of Bucksport from the late 19th and early 20th centuries will be presented by Penobscot Marine Museum’s Kevin Johnson and Brook Minner of Northeast Historic Film Archive on Thursday, May 12, 6:00 pm at Alamo Theatre, 85 Main Street, Bucksport.

The photographs presented in the talk by Kevin Johnson will be of people and places which were important to the residents of Bucksport between 1909 and 1947. They were taken by a Belfast, Maine postcard company, Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company, which sent their photographers driving across Maine in Model T’s with their box cameras to ask what the local citizens loved about their area. The photographs presented in the talk are part of Hancock County Through Eastern’s Eye, one of several travelling exhibits from the Penobscot Marine Museum photography archive. It is on display through the end of May at Bucksport Heart and Soul in the Rosen Building, 72 Main Street, Bucksport. Brook Minner, Executive Director of Northeast Historic Film Archive, will show historic film footage of Bucksport from their collection.

For more information on the talk call Kevin Johnson at 207-548-2529 ext. 210. For more information on the exhibit call Rich Rotella at 207- 949-1889.

Wine Tasting Event to Benefit Penobscot Marine Museum

Taste delicious locally crafted wine Thursday, April 21st from 5-7 pm at The Good Kettle in Stockton Springs. The wine tasting event will introduce you to Maine vineyards from across the state, with 10 % of the proceeds benefiting the Penobscot Marine Museum.


The Good Kettle offers a wide selection of wine for a range of budgets and tastes, and a variety of choices from local wines to some of the best wines from all over the world. The Good Kettle hosts a wine tasting benefit for area non-profits once a month from April to December featuring local wineries.

Located on 247 US Route 1 in Stockton Springs, The Good Kettle is a Home Style Eat-In or Carry Out restaurant offering a wines and beer, Maine-made local products, and breakfast and lunch.

For more information contact The Good Kettle at 207.567.2035 or or visit

Experience Maritime Maine To Hold Stakeholder Meeting In April


Experience Maritime Maine, a partnership of maritime-related organizations, businesses, and coastal communities working together to promote and preserve Maine’s unique maritime culture through heritage tourism efforts, is having its third bi-annual Stakeholder Meeting Thursday, April 7, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the Sail, Power & Steam Museum, 75 Mechanic Street, Rockland, Maine. Guest speakers are Kerry Altiero, Chef/Owner of Cafe Miranda, and Olga Oros and Chip Holmes of Damariscotta River Cruises. For more information or to RSVP email The meeting is open to anyone with a stake or an interest in Maine maritime cultural heritage tourism

Experience Maritime Maine promotes Maine’s maritime experiences on the website at and through social media. They are designing a rack card for spring 2016, are promoting Maine’s maritime experiences nationally at Maine Office of Tourism’s Maine Media Marketplace in NYC this spring, are producing audio podcasts of maritime stories in six coastal Maine communities, and are planning maritime trip itineraries.

Experience Maritime Maine is a loose partnership in which all stakeholders are encouraged to participate. The Coordinating Committee currently includes Abbe Museum, Downeast Acadia Regional Tourism, Downeast Fisheries Trail, Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau, Island Institute, Maine Archives and Museums, Maine Maritime Museum, Maine Sea Grant, Maine Office of Tourism, Maine Tourism Association, Maine Windjammer Association, Penobscot Marine Museum, Tides Institute , Washington County Council of Governments, and WoodenBoat School, and meets monthly.

Experience Maritime Maine’s major funders are Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, Maine Office of Tourism, and Maine Community Foundation. Partner funders are Downeast Acadia Region, Maine Maritime Museum, Mid-Coast Chamber Council, Maine Windjammer Association, Penobscot Marine Museum, Tides Institute, and WoodenBoat School.

Seabird Guano Bottle From Penobscot Marine Museum At Smithsonian

Penobscot Marine Museum’s Guano Bottle c. 1880.

Penobscot Marine Museum’s Guano Bottle c. 1880.

A bottle filled with colored seabird guano (droppings) from Penobscot Marine Museum’s collection is currently on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The bottle is part of the exhibit The Norie Marine Atlas & Guano Trade which runs now through January 2017.

“This is a very rare object, I know of only one other like it,” reports PMM’s Collections Manager Cipperly Good. “When I heard that the Smithsonian was looking for guano objects for their exhibit, we were pleased to be able to loan them our bottle.” The bottle may have been made by Chinese guano miners to commemorate a voyage by the Searsport-owned ship HENRIETTA to Peru around 1880. Many Maine ships sailed to Peru for the guano trade which began in the early 19th century. Guano was thought to be the best fertilizer in the world, and Americans, British, and Germans flocked to the Chincha Islands off the coast of Peru to mine it. Dropping deposits from the seabirds on these islands reached up to 200 feet, however by the end of the 19th century, the guano was effectively depleted. Several Penobscot Marine Museum staff are travelling to Washington, D.C. for a special tour of the exhibit with National Museum of American History’s curator Paul Johnston.

2016 Governor’s Conference On Tourism To Feature Postcards From Penobscot Marine Museum


In cooperation with the Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2016 Postcard Project, The Maine Office of Tourism will showcase 8 postcards from 1916, selected from the museum’s archives, at the 2016 Governor’s Conference on Tourism on March 21 and 22 at Sunday River Resort.

The Maine Office of Tourism chose one postcard from the museum’s collection for each of Maine’s eight tourism regions: The Maine Beaches, Greater Portland and Casco Bay, the Mid-Coast region, Maine’s Lakes and Mountains, the Maine Highlands region, the Kennebec Valley region, the DownEast and Acadia region, and Aroostook County. Each of the hundreds of attendees will receive a pack of postcards at the conference, and posting stations will be set up where the attendees will be encouraged to write and post the cards.

One PMM Postcard image for 2016 Governor’s Conference on Tourism

One PMM Postcard image for 2016 Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Wish You Were Here: Communicating Maine, Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2016 series of exhibitions and community projects explores a hundred years of images which have been used to communicate the unique qualities of Maine to the outside world. With photographic postcards, photography, and contemporary art, this exhibit explores the changes which have taken place in the images which have been used to communicate “Maine”.

Community Project: Penobscot Marine Museum is collaborating with the Maine State Library system to distribute postcards with historic images of Maine from the museum’s photography collection to libraries across the state for patrons to mail during Library Week, April 10th through 16th.

Exhibit: Historic Maine, a Postcard View
This exhibit presents a history of the postcard, and takes a closer look at postcards produced by three Maine photographic postcard companies. Postcards produced by Evie Barbour, who photographed the Blue Hill area with a box camera, and the Cunningham Brothers who photographed the area around Washington, Maine combine with images from the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company to create a highly personal and intimate portrait of Maine. The exhibit includes oral histories of Mainers talking about the treasured places seen in these postcards, a trailer for a documentary on Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company by Maine filmmaker Sumner McKane, a Model T outfitted with contemporaneous photography equipment, and the museums’ gigantic walk-in camera obscura which demonstrates the inside workings of a nineteenth-century camera.

Exhibit: Acadia National Park, a Postcard View
Penobscot Marine Museum joins the Acadia Centennial celebration with an exhibit of fifty years of Acadia National Park in postcards.

Exhibit: Maine’s Changing Sense of Place
Maine’s unique sense of place has been portrayed over the years by artists such as Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth, and today Maine is known for its vibrant art scene. To understand how images of sense of place can change over the years, guest curator Carl Little, author of Paintings of Maine and Art of the Maine Islands, chose photographs of special places from the Penobscot Marine Museum’s collection, and chose artwork by Maine artists which was inspired by these special places. The historic photograph and the contemporary art work will be displayed side by side.

Community Project: Photoplay! Postcards by M.J. Bronstein
Artist M.J. Bronstein has created postcards using historic images from Penobscot Marine Museum’s photography collection. These postcards are designed for the museum visitor to be able to draw on them, adding to the historic photo. Each postcard becomes a unique creation for museum visitors to send to their friends.