July News
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New Acquisitions

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

It is always interesting to see what is being donated to the Museum. Our newest acquisition of a Japanese carved table from 1856 leaves us with as many questions as answers. We know it belonged to Ernest Marks Carr (1905-1961), who was a Searsport merchant mariner, and nephew of Searsport Sea Captain Charles Wesley Carr. Ernest went to sea at the age of 17 and served in the merchant marine over the next 38 years until his death in Ceuta, Morocco while serving on the former Liberty Ship SS CAROLYN (ex-RICHARD BASSETT). He was a member of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association. 

The questions we will be researching are: is there a specific battle depicted in the carvings? Did both Carr and Greenlaw visit the same ports and find the tables in the same shop? Stay tuned as we dig deeper.

We Hosted Around 1,000 Students this Spring!

By Jeana Ganskop, Education Director

HEAVE! 1 - 2 - 3- HEAVE! Those are the words I often heard while walking by Set Sail. Don would call out the numbers and all the kids would join in on “heave” as they pulled the halyard, raising the yard to the top of the mast in the middle of the lawn. Later, I would hear the CLINK CLINK CLINK of the capstan as children pushed the bars turning the barrel. It was wonderful to see the campus full of children. It was also exciting to sit with a small group of 5th graders in the Merithew House as they read excerpts from primary sources and played the board game that had them sailing from New York City to Marseilles, France. I asked one little boy what would be a good day at sea. He looked down at the game board and at the dice and said, “the trade winds!” (If you roll “trade winds,” you get to move two spaces.) The boy then took it a step further explaining they’re called the trade winds because they were used by the ships sailing for trade. 

Starting May 18th with fourteen 4th graders from Mount Desert Island and ending on June 15th with 58 students from Lincolnville Central School who arrived in the rain, around 1,000 students visited Penobscot Marine Museum. From kindergarteners to 10th graders, from a short walk to an hour or more on the bus, students came to look at art, hear maritime stories, furl the sail, explore the boats, make a craft, and play in the Savage Education Center.

Thank you to the friends of Penobscot Marine Museum whose support allowed all these children to visit for free plus funded busing scholarships to limit costs for the schools. You made this possible! Thank you also to the PMM interpretive staff and interns who worked with the students, ensuring they had positive learning experiences.

“Thank you. My favorite part was painting the ships. It was so fun. I also loved the sails.” - Jack, Leroy H. Smith School, Winterport

“It was cool because we were able to fold the sail. I also liked the different types of boats.” - Mason, Lincolnville Central School

Please consider a donation to help support future field trips. Your donation will support transportation costs, staff time, and supplies for bringing school groups to our historic museum campus from all across Maine.


Photo Archives News

Maynard Bray Collection July 2023

By Matt Wheeler, Digital Collections Curator

A rowboat is one of the simplest machines in the world: sit in an enclosure that can push water around itself without filling, pull on a couple of levers with flat ends in the water, and you’re mobile. The physical feat is gratifying, once you work the bugs out. The direction of motion is typically counterintuitive—you get used to looking over your shoulder—but there’s a reflective quality to gazing over the stern at what you’re leaving behind. Maynard grew up rowing in Rockland harbor, thrilled by the mobility it gave him around an expanse of water bustling with intriguing activity. Rowboats gave him a platform for photographing what he saw. It’s no surprise, then, that his archive is peppered with rowboat images from everywhere he’s been since.

Naturally, we see his focus in the photography range down to the minutiae of how these craft were built. The selection in our July post includes a few of these construction details (notably showing the late great Joel White at work); primarily, though, it’s a gallery of boats and rowers in motion.

Visit our Onsite with Maynard blog to read more and browse the images.

Kosti Ruohomaa Collection July 2023

By Matt Wheeler, Digital Collections Curator

Around 1950, Ruohomaa took a road trip to visit a handful of prominent restaurants (and dropped in on an old school clam bake) in Massachusetts. A common thread: they were located in historic homes, with décor that recalled earlier decades (or earlier centuries). It’s easy to guess at the appeal these settings had for him, given his love of tradition and nostalgia for lost or fading American culture. This is evocative photography. Some of the interiors he shot look like they could be museum installations, and the well-organized extravaganza of the clam bake is a visual feast.

The photographer grew up on a blueberry farm, and his exposure to the hard work of cultivating this fruit that thrives in northern climates created a point of reference for shooting another sort of harvest. Around the same time as his restaurant tour, he visited a thriving cranberry operation in South Carver, Massachusetts, formerly run by Ellis Atwood (who died that year). The berries were evidently marketed fresh, as they were harvested dry. The cultivated ground shown in the photo was a constructed bog from which the water could be drained before workers showed up with large wooden rakes—bulkier cousins to low bush blueberry rakes—to gather the crop. Ellis was a creative grower: he fleshed out farm proceeds with agritourism, building an amusement park, a museum, and a miniature holiday village.

Thanks to our talented team bringing this collection to light: our cataloging team, Sarah Cole and Alison Gilchrist; and Erin Tokarz, imaging technician.

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

New Photo Collections to Explore!

By Kevin Johnson, Photo Archivist

Several new photography collections have been added to our online database over the past few months and are now ready to be enjoyed. Last summer we were notified of an amazing collection of real photo postcards of Belfast going on the auction block at Downeast Auctions. We didn't have time to shake the trees to buy them but auctioneer, Mark Bradstreet, let us borrow the collection to digitize it before it was sold off. Enjoy these amazing rare views here.

We previously shared a collection of glass plate negatives received from the Machias Historical Society. They have since donated another group of lantern slides which are truly amazing! In August of 1913, a grand pageant was performed over three days celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Machias. It was extravagantly produced, and had hundreds of participants, including the local Passamaquoddy tribe. Fortunately for us, the event was documented by a photographer who turned his photos into lantern slides. Relive the event here.

The Peggy McKenna Collection arrived at PMM back in 2015 and the first few years were spent organizing it and creating finding aids. Now digitization has begun and the first two hundred images are now online. In this group you can see some of her Waldo County artist portraits, the beginning of the Waldo Independent and the characters that were featured in Fireside Chats. Most significantly for this audience is a series of photos she made of Maine's iconic wooden boat builder Ralph Stanley. See them all here.

You Should Give a Ship

By the Searsport V-ALT Class

Searsport’s V-Alt program had an amazing chance to do some hands-on history work with the Penobscot Marine Museum this school year! Ms. Jeana Ganskop, education director with the museum, reached out to V-Alt teachers Colette Jadis and Melora Norman with an opportunity to select some paintings of sailing vessels from the museum’s collection and create an exhibit to bring some of Searsport’s maritime history to life in a unique way. Some of the students who worked on it shared what it was like.

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PMM in the News

The Bangor Daily News featured an article about the Pim Van Hemmen photography exhibit, In Extremis: Historic Ships and America, on display at PMM through August 5th. You can read that article here.

New Business Members

A huge thank Nautical Scribe Books, Wesmac Custom Boats, and Hewes and Company for showing their support of PMM with their business members!

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