September News
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New Acquisitions:

Boatbuilding and Navigation Tools

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

Like many of his Boston neighbors growing up, Samuel Eliot Guild Jr. came to rusticate in Maine. His parents bought Little Babson Island in the Eggemoggin Reach in 1940. Growing up sailing along the East Coast, Guild made it a career. He went to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and trained on the barque EAGLE, and in the 1950s, he joined the U.S. Navy. In 1959, having married Californian Ann Armstrong, they moved to Marin, California where he worked as a boatbuilder from 1962-1967. The couple moved to Cushing, Maine in 1967 and Sam began running a boatyard in Thomaston. In addition to building full-size boats, Sam was a model maker and a poet.

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Photo Archives News

In late 2020 an amazing collection of photos by a world renown Life magazine photographer was donated to PMM. No we are not talking about Kosti Ruohomaa, but rather one of his contemporaries, Eliot Elisofon. Elisofon acquired a farmhouse on Crocket Cove on Vinalhaven in 1942, which became a summer retreat for him and his family. He cherished his time on the island and was very involved with island life. He made photographs when he was there, not for assignments but for himself and his passion for the medium. 

A group of nearly 2,000 slides and negatives shot between 1940-1970 were donated to PMM by Elisofon's daughter Elin. While the bulk of his work is in major museums, it was important to Elin that this collection remained close to where the images were made and could be shared with the people that would appreciate them most. We have begun a campaign to raise $14,000 needed to digitize and catalog the collection to make it available online. Recent articles in Maine Boats Homes and Harbors and The Working Waterfront have introduced the collection and launched our fundraising campaign. To meet our goal, we are asking for your support. Each $10 donation will "adopt" a negative or slide. As the negatives are adopted we will process them and get them online. A credit line in each database record will acknowledge who adopted it. We are off to a good start with $1,800 in donations already!


Maynard Bray Collection September 2023

By Matt Wheeler, Digital Collections Curator

Sailboat design is endlessly inventive. It’s a best attempt to produce a highly dynamic machine that will be efficient and reliable, sometimes in a narrow range of conditions. They are purpose-built: a sailboat that’s perfectly suited to gunkholing would be a sketchy vessel for a transatlantic crossing.

A few rigs and hull types have become the dominant choices for the demands of offshore cruising, remote from land and subject to powerful weather. Preferences and opinions vary, perhaps strongly. This month, through the 40-year catalog of Maynard’s photography, we take a hard look at the cutter, a common and solid choice for blue water sailing.

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

Kosti Ruohomaa Collection September 2023

By Matt Wheeler, Digital Collections Curator

Ruohomaa’s work was rarely “newsworthy”; he was a human interest photo essayist. His talent and the recognition he received gave him the fortunate status of someone paid to do what they love (and for artistic output, to boot).

His curious observations of how kids spend their time in rural settings were likely inspired by nostalgia for his own childhood and adventures he concocted on the farms his family owned (first in Vermont, later in Maine). In a series we’re publishing this month, he drops in on a boy washing and grooming his dog. Miscellaneous outtakes include a girl (maybe a younger sister) combing a cat lounging on her lap, and a crowd of rowdy students ogling a parrot in a cage. Like most of his portraits, the images are candid, warm, and comical.

Also this month, we find ourselves in 1952 up in the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine, hanging around with a gang of Maine guides at the Kennebago Lake Club. These were local, yet world class, hunters and fishermen whose knowledge of the woods and waters nearby made them experts. It also meant that, true to the occupation, they told stories that stretched the truth. Kosti’s pal, the journalist Ernest LaFrance, travelled with him to document some of their yarns, which were published in a Parade magazine piece later that year.

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

PMM Reflections of a Temporary Mainer

at a Maritime Museum

By Gavin Schrantz, 2023 Summer Intern

In the 1800s merchant ship captains (and their families) spent much of their life at sea, stopping only briefly at the bustling ports along their course. I feel a bit like them, as I’ve recently moved from one hub of maritime culture to another in seeking the next steps on my professional path. This summer I had the opportunity to work as an education intern for the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine. This was a big change of scenery for me as I am currently a graduate student in Museum Studies at the University of Florida. I am eager to develop my professional skills in this field and have a particular interest in maritime museums, so even though I knew it’d be a big change I also knew that this would be the perfect internship for me! 

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PMM in the News

The Working Waterfront published an article written by PMM Photo Archivist Kevin Johnson about historic Searsport tourism. Troy Bennett of the Bangor Daily News wrote an article featuring some once lost, and recently found, glass plate negatives that have been donated to PMM.

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