Past Exhibitions

In Scaling Up: The Canoa da Picada Plan Goes Full-Size

In Scaling Up: The Canoa da Picada Plan Goes Full-Size,  João Bentes has recreated a workspace to traditionally loft, or scale up from a paper plan to a full size work plan, the “Canoa da Picada,” a Portuguese Sailing Sardine Carrier, in sections. Break the Anchor, a Portuguese nonprofit, is building the “Canoa da Picada” in collaboration with The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine. After construction, launch, and sea trials, the vessel will cross the Atlantic through the Azores, landing on Portuguese shores to establish a seamanship and boatbuilding apprentice-based school in Portugal using the vessel as an itinerant workshop. On display May 25 through October 20, 2019.

Weather or Knot?

Weather or Knot? gives visitors a chance to imagine life at sea in calm and stormy seas. They can watch storm clouds slowly gather and waves and wind increase through a collection of paintings chosen to depict the thirteen wind forces of the Beaufort Scale. Visitors will learn the importance of knot tying, the difference between vessels, as well as sail shapes, configurations, and rigging. Weather or Knot? is sponsored by Diversified Communications with grant support from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust. On display May 25 through October 20, 2019.

Where in the World?

Where in the World? features paintings of Maine cargo ships in foreign ports and the navigational charts that guided the way. Captains and owners commissioned paintings of their vessels as a point of pride to ensure a successful voyage. Today, these port paintings provide viewers with a tour of the ports as they looked in the early- to mid-1800s. Navigational charts with hand-written course notations from the Museum’s collections accompany the port paintings, putting the voyages of Maine sea captains into geographical context. Where in the World? is sponsored by Diversified Communications with grant support from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust. On display May 25 through October 20, 2019.

Animal Tales

Animal Tales uses photographs from the Museum’s extensive photography archives and the intriguing stories behind the images to explore the fascination people have with animals. Since the beginning of photography, people have enjoyed using their lens to forever capture beloved pets, livestock, wildlife, and fishing and hunting successes. The exhibit features a range of photographs from casual snapshots taken by amateur photographers, to carefully conceived photos taken by professional photographers like Kosti Ruohomaa. Animal Tales is sponsored by Sally Savage. On display May 25 through October 20, 2019.

Sponsored by Sally Savage

From the Cradle to the Grave: Mining the Ed Coffin Collection

From the Cradle to the Grave: Mining the Ed Coffin Collection showcases 28 of the more than 2,500 photographs Ed Coffin collected throughout his lifetime. There are many themes to explore in the Coffin collection, but two that stand out as crowd pleasers are ship launches and ship wrecks. The “birth” and “death” of ships have long held the public’s fascination. Most of Maine’s Midcoast towns have been involved in building boats, ships and schooners. Watching the culmination of a year or more of construction and investment has been a spectacle not to be missed. On the flipside, the wreck of a ship evokes entirely different feelings, but the pull to see the tragic scene and to learn the grim story can be just as strong. On display May 25 through October 20, 2019.

Lobstering Women of Maine

In Lobstering Women of Maine, Belfast artist Susan Tobey White captures Maine’s lobster industry through her brightly colored paintings of lobster women at work. The exhibit showcases the lobster industry, explores Maine’s traditions and heritage, and reveals the strength of women. White appreciates the hard working women in the lobster industry, and was inspired to depict them in her art. She portrays women from the coast and islands of Maine from Ogunquit to Stonington. Lobstering Women of Maine is sponsored by Hamilton Marine. On display May 25 through October 20, 2019.

Sponsored by

Kosti Comes Home

Kosti Comes Home is on exhibit at Penobscot Marine Museum May 26 to October 21, 2018. This exhibit is part of our regular admission and is available Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except for holidays. Please call 207-545-2529 for weekend and holiday hours.

The archive of negatives, contact sheets, and prints of Rockland, Maine photographer, Kosti Ruohomaa, have come home to Maine as the newest addition to the photography holdings of the Penobscot Marine Museum. The collection was recently donated to the PMM by Black Star of New York, Ruohomaa’s photography agency, and consists of thousands of medium and large format negatives, 35 mm negatives and slides, as well as contact sheets and vintage prints.

During the age of the photo magazine, Kosti was a rock star in the photography world. His photographs graced the cover of Life Magazine numerous times. Other major magazines such as Look, National Geographic, and Life used his photos regularly. He moved to Dodge Mountain in Rockland at the age of 13, where his family had a blueberry farm. He discovered his love for photography in the 1930s while working as a cartoonist for Disney. During the 1940s and 50s, his career blossomed. While he photographed around the world, Maine was his favorite subject, both the people and land. He died prematurely in 1961 at the age of 47.

Kosti Ruohomaa self portrait series

Kosti was a storyteller with a camera. He captured the spirit and culture of Maine through its people and landscape like few other photographers have ever done. Howard Chapnick, who headed the Black Star photo agency for which Ruohomaa shot many of his images, once said, “The word [‘artist’] is thrown around with gay abandon in photography: ‘This picture looks like a Rembrandt, this one like a Renoir.’ Kosti’s photographs do not have to be compared to the work of painters. A Ruohomaa picture looks like a Ruohomaa!” His work has been the subject of exhibits at the Farnsworth and the Maine State museum. A biography, Kosti Ruohomaa: The Photograher Poet, by Deanna Bonner-Ganter was published by Downeast Books in 2016 and a portfolio of his work, Night Train at Wiscasset Station by Lew Dietz came out in 1977. His photographs are iconic and familiar, especially in Maine.

The Kosti collection is a remarkable resource on several levels. While his published work is fairly well known, it represents less than 10% of the photographs he made. The rest of his photographs have never been seen by the general public. He worked on hundreds of assignments, and each is represented in the collection in separate envelopes which contain the negatives, Kosti’s write-ups on the shoot, and contact sheets with selected images marked with wax pencil. It’s an amazing backstage look at the photo magazine work process. Kosti was vocal in his write-ups as to his opinion on selects and cropping. He had clear ideas of what he was going for in a shoot, and a study of the contact sheets shows how he went about realizing his vision and his method of approaching a photo story. More than a third of his assignments were Maine-based.

The Penobscot Marine Museum is thrilled to be entrusted with this Maine treasure. We will begin a search for funding that will cover the costs to catalog, re-house and digitize the collection. It will be ultimately be made available to browse for free in the museum’s online database. Kosti’s cousin, Janice Lachance, said “Kosti would be very happy to know his photographs have returned to Maine.”

Sailing Small: Small Boats Big Ideas

What inspires model makers to create miniature versions of watercraft? Penobscot Marine Museum will explore this question through the 2018 exhibit Sailing Small: Small Boats, Big Ideas. Using objects, photographs, and primary source audio, visual, and written accounts, the exhibit will spotlight Maine model makers.

Models, and the inspiration to build them, range from the practical to the whimsical. Sailing Small: Small Boats, Big Ideas will showcase key models from the Museum’s collection. Master shipbuilders and designers create models to test design theories, test out buoyancy and load limits, and to build the full-size watercraft. Prisoners of war with no other outlet for their creativity built models from any materials at hand, including soup bones as in the case of French prisoners-of-war during the 1810s. Nostalgia and pride for a beloved watercraft led many sea captains or ship owner to build or commission the building of a ship model long after the original craft met its end. Models inspire great thinkers, like Buckminster Fuller, to ponder how we humans design functional objects to harness the power of nature to our advantage.

The exhibit’s model-making shop, filled with Burt Libby’s tools and his series of canoes showing the progression of model-making steps and interviews with other model makers, provides visitors with a look into the craft of model-making. The photographs and rowboat models of Elmer Montgomery of Rockland, Maine document the working waterfront of the 1940s that is slowly fading from view with the advent of gasoline and diesel engines. Elmer Montgomery’s models inspired Harold “Dynamite” Payson of South Thomaston, Maine to build his own models, that eventually became a business with model-making books, plans, patterns and model components that have in turn inspired this generation of model-makers. An accompanying speaker’s series will invite current model-makers to share what inspires them to build in miniature.

Daily and special programming will allow the visitor to transition from an observer of inspiration to becoming the source of inspiration. Visitors will have the opportunity to build a model, test it out in our model pond, and take it home. In addition to testing out their own models, visitors can test out remote control boats and race our fleet of sailboats.

Sailing Small: Small Boats, Big Ideas runs May 26 through October 21, 2018 throughout the Penobscot Marine Museum campus.

Sponsored by:
American Marine Model Gallery
Bank of America
Bluejacket Shipcrafters
Cold Mountain Builders
Diversified Communications
Hewes & Company, Inc.
Fiddleheads Artisan Supply
Front Street Shipyard
Gamage Shipyard
Halldale Farms
Hamilton Marine
Otis Enterprises Marine
Rockland Post and Beam
Seaworthy Small Ships
Town of Searsport
Viking Lumber
WoodenBoat

Gone Fishing!

The new show explores the world of Maine’s commercial fisheries through exhibits and programs that will entertain and educate children and adults alike.

The featured exhibit, The Net Result: Our Evolving Fisheries, uses the Museum’s photo collection from the National Fisherman publication to form the backbone of this exhibit, focusing on the commercial fishing industry in the post-WWII era.

As technology has changed through the years, so has the equipment that is used. Museum visitors will have the opportunity to take a look through time and see how the wheelhouses of fishing vessels have evolved.

Advances in aquatic farming ensure the sustainability of Maine’s fisheries. As part of Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2017 season, visitors will be able to observe an operational aquaponics system courtesy of Herring Gut Learning Center.

Fishing weirs were once a vital part of Maine’s fishing industry, but now number in the few. In 2017 Penobscot Marine Museum will have a recreated fishing weir on site where visitors can experience a weir from a fish’s perspective. And while you’re visiting be sure to “go fishing” for realistic looking Maine fish in the Museum’s new display.

The season will be filled with a line-up of speakers, demonstrations and events related to Maine fisheries, including a Maine seafood event September 9 and 10. Maine Marine Fare will celebrate all the foods from the abundant waters of coastal Maine with talks, panel discussions and educational tastings. It will end with a dinner called “Food from our Seas,” prepared by chef Sam Hayward with the assistance of Ladleah Dunn. Tasting and dinner tickets sold separately.

Gone Fishing! runs May 27, 2017 through October 15, 2017 at Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine.

Generously sponsored by:

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”.