MMM Changes Tack with Going Coastal Exhibit
October 23, 2013
BATH, Maine, October 23, 2013…What with base closings, centennial and sesquicentennials coming one after another, war and its impact on Maine have been a recurring theme for recent exhibits, symposia, and programming at Maine Maritime Museum. The War of 1812, the Civil War and the Cold War have all been topics covered extensively during the past several years. So, it probably should have been no surprise that the museum staff had grown a little “war-weary,” and elected to go in the totally opposite direction for a new exhibit opening Saturday.
Going Coastal: Humor, Parody and Amusement of a Maritime Nature covers a broad waterfront of nautical frivolity from satirical verse of the mid-nineteenth century to images of whimsical boats of the late-twentieth century; as well as topics both at sea, such as shipboard initiations into the mysteries of the deep, and ashore, a look at the early history of bathing suits for example.
One theme seen several times in the exhibit deals with humankind’s seemingly insatiable desire to always go faster – or at least faster than the other guy – with displays on lobster boat racing, yacht racing and iceboat sailing. Other topics include ship launching ceremonies, whimsical poetry, light-hearted music, party boats, and shipboard snapshots in the early twentieth century.
“When we started putting this exhibit together we were honestly surprised at how many directions we could have gone,” says Chris Hall, Exhibits Curator at MMM. “We had to whittle it down a bit, but I think there’s something here that everyone can relate to.”
One conclusion that might be drawn from the exhibit is that when it comes to the Declaration of Independence’s declared unalienable right to pursue happiness – Maine’s maritime community did so and continues to do so with gusto.
Going Coastal: Humor, Parody and Amusement of a Maritime Nature opens to the public Saturday and will be on view through June 1, 2014. Maine Maritime Museum is open daily year-round from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.