Off Season October 18th 2020 – May 28th 2021
Penobscot Marine Museum is closed for the season. In-person events and tours will be extremely limited due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Check out our exhibit in the windows at 40 E. Main Street and find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube! Visit our calendar of events for information on upcoming programs.
The best way to reach us is by email, visit our contact page for addresses.
May 29th, 2021 – October 17th, 2021
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, we are happy to welcome visitors to our campus! The Museum Store will be open Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday noon to 5pm. For those wishing to visit the rest of the museum, we will offer guided walking tours and family field trips. Tours will be available 7 days a week, pre-registration is encouraged. We will accept same-day reservations and walk-ins, subject to availability. Tours are $25 per household, up to 10 people. Book your tour today.
Standard Walking Tours
- Tours last around 45 minutes.
- 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.
- Tours explore the history of Maine through specific stories relating to Searsport and Penobscot Bay
Family Field Trips
- Tours last up to 60 minutes
- Each child receives a kit with everything they will need for their visit
- A fun way to learn about life at sea, Maine boats, and Maine fisheries, activity topics include signal flags, boat bingo, compasses, and more!
- PMM staff will guide your family through your visit including activity instruction and time to explore the boat barns and the “Gone Fishing” exhibit
- Ideal for ages 6-12, all ages are welcome.
- Family field trips are available through the end of June and are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Self-guided Museum Visits
Starting July 1st, we will begin offering self-guided museum visits including the new exhibit in our Main Street Gallery, the Animal Tales photography exhibit in Old Vestry, 4 boat barns featuring small craft, the Yard in the Yard interactive outdoor exhibit, and the Gone Fishing exhibit in Old Town Hall. Visitors can look for special children’s activities on Wednesdays and meet our person-sized lobster on Fridays. While the Fowler-True-Ross House, Merithew House, and Savage Education Center are closed this season, we’re hard at work behind the scenes and look forward to opening exciting new exhibits in the next few years! Look for more information coming soon on these projects and the variety of fun summer programming we are offering this year.
Admission: $30/family, up to 10 people
Free for members and residents of Searsport & Stockton Springs
Interested in visiting with your group? Contact Jeana at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.