The maritime industries in Maine were a catalyst for the growth of American prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries. Maine Maritime Museum, one of the leading museums in New England, preserves the maritime history of Maine connecting that history to the rest of the world. The historic collections of the museum are vast and housed at the site of the U.S.’s only existing historic shipyard where commercial wooden sailing vessels were built.
The curatorial department oversees the museum’s sizeable collections (more than 20,000 objects), which include the world’s largest collection of shipbuilding tools, 550 ship models, 475 maritime paintings, more than 140 historic Maine watercraft of national significance, ceramics, engines, furniture, fishing and boat gear, jewelry, textiles, navigational equipment, and more. The Museum Library holds more than 130,000 photographs; 17,000 books; 1,800 maps and charts; 42,000 sheets of ship plans, and millions of rare documents and manuscripts. The collections are preserved in a climate-controlled, secure environment.
These collections are used to create exhibits that educate tens of thousands of people annually about our unique history and inspire an appreciation of Maine’s special maritime heritage.
Access to Collections
To examine artifacts in the Museum’s collection, you must schedule an appointment with the Registrar. Regular museum admission fees apply, with exceptions for MMM members, students, representatives of the press, and staff of other museums and historical societies. For extensive research projects, there is an hourly fee for staff assistance.