A unique museum visit for a unique year.
Starting June 30, the Penobscot Marine Museum will welcome visitors to our campus! While our campus won’t be open in the same way it has traditionally been, we are excited to offer new guided walking tours on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. These tours will commemorate Maine’s bicentennial by focusing on Penobscot Bay’s rich maritime history.
Tours last around 45 minutes. Participants have the option of choosing either the standard tour that explores the history of Maine through specific stories relating to Searsport and Penobscot Bay or the weekly themed tour. Staff-led tours make 7 stops outside buildings throughout the museum campus plus allow time for participants to explore our boat barns and the “Gone Fishing” exhibit. All ages are welcome and child-friendly tours are available. Pre-registration is required.
Book a Tour
Weekly Themed Tours
Stories of Searsport Sailing Families – 6/30, 7/4 & 7/28, 8/1 & 8/25, 8/29
Mainers on the Water – 7/7, 7/11 & 8/4, 8/8, 9/1, 9/5
Artists & Authors – 7/14, 7/18 & 8/11, 8/15
Architecture & the Growth of a Town – 7/21, 7/25 & 8/18, 8/22
Tours are scheduled every half hour 4pm to 6pm on Tuesday evenings and 9am to 11am on Saturday mornings. To meet state guidelines, tours are limited to up to 10 people from a single household. For the safety of our staff and all participants, participants should maintain 6 feet away from people not in their household and face coverings are required.
Tours are $20/household. Pre-registration is required by 5:00 p.m. the day before the scheduled tour; no walk-ins will be accepted and space is limited. For more information or to register email Jeana at email@example.com, or call 207-548-2529, Monday through Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to noon.
If you are unable to attend a tour on Tuesday evenings or Saturday mornings, additional tours are available daily. These tours are $40/household, $30 for members. For availability and to register, contact Jeana at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 207-548-2529, Monday through Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to noon.
Visitor Center: Admissions, Museum Store
40 E. Main Street
2 Church Street
Museum Offices, Research Library and Photo Archives
Open year round; call 207-548-2529 to make an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the mission of Penobscot Marine Museum?
The mission of Penobscot Marine Museum is to preserve, interpret and celebrate the maritime culture of the Penobscot Bay Region and beyond through collections, education, and community engagement.
- What is the museum like?
Penobscot Marine Museum brings Maine’s maritime history to life on a campus of beautiful historic buildings in the charming seacoast village of Searsport, Maine. Exhibits include hands-on activities for children and adults, as well as a ship captain’s house, marine paintings, 19th century Chinese and Japanese pottery, boat models, historic Maine boats, a fisheries exhibit, and much more. See the campus map for details on each building.
- What are the highlights of your collection?
Small Craft. Working and recreational boats from the early 20th century include a Beals Island lobster boat; a North Haven dinghy; a Lincolnville wherry; a Herreshoff 12 ½; peapods; dories; canoes; marine engines and lots more.
Marine Art. We have a world-class collection of 19th century marine art featuring Thomas and James Buttersworth, Robert Salmon, and Antonio Jacobsen; ship portraits and port paintings from around the world; ships’ figureheads; dioramas and shadowboxes.
Furniture, crafts and domestic furnishings. In addition to domestic manufactures of the 19th century, many Searsport homes were furnished with a wealth of fascinating objects collected by sea captains during their trade in and around China.
Tools. Artifacts of economic labor abound in the Working the Bay exhibit, including tools used by Penobscot Bay’s loggers, farmers, ice harvesters, ship builders and mariners.
Ship Models. Our collection includes builders’ half-hull models; large-scale fully-rigged plank-on frame models; exquisite miniatures; a French prisoner’s model made of bone; presentation models; a working steam-powered tug model and more.
Photography. Over 200,000 items, including collections from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company, National Fisherman, and Atlantic Fisherman; as well as work by photographers Carroll Thayer Berry, Charles R. Coombs, and Joanna Colcord.
Special Exhibits. Every season there are special and temporary exhibits that feature rarely-seen gems from our collections.
Permanent Exhibits. A full list of our permanent exhibits can be found here.
- Are there special activities for children?
Yard in the Yard. A real ship’s wheel, capstan, and a scale model mast from a square-rigged ship. Children burn energy while learning how ships were steered, sails and rigging handled, and anchors raised.
Savage Education Center. This children’s space is for imaginative play. Accessories, toys, clothing and tools allow visitors to recreate and imagine lives from the 19th century.
In addition. Alongside an attentive adult, children find our “grown-up” exhibits fascinating — especially the boats and the sea captain’s house.
- Are you handicapped-accessible?
Most of our exhibits are somewhat wheelchair-accessible, but because of the nature of 19th-century buildings, a few are not accessible at all, or the second floor is not accessible.
- Does the museum have a gift shop?
Located in the Visitors Center as well as online, the Museum Store carries a fine selection of gifts, books, photography, cards, and clothing. To shop online, visit our online shop.
- Does the museum have a restaurant?
No, but there are several good places to eat right in the neighborhood. There are lobster pounds nearby where the lobster is always fresh. And Belfast, 10 minutes away, has a wide variety of restaurants.
- How about lodging?
Several finely-restored sea captains’ houses operate as Bed and Breakfast inns in Searsport, and there are several motels nearby.
- What is the history of Penobscot Marine Museum?
We are Maine’s oldest maritime museum and were founded in 1936 by descendants of Searsport sea captains. The whole museum was originally housed in Old Town Hall, which was built in 1845 and given to the Museum by the Town of Searsport. Within the decade, Penobscot Marine Museum had outgrown its building as it expanded its collection. The Museum has since grown to encompass more than a dozen buildings and serves a broader role in preserving and sharing our region’s history and culture.