Maine Maritime Museum has cultivated a collection of over 20,000 objects related to the state’s extensive maritime history and global influence. While the collection has consistently grown over the last sixty years, only 5% is currently exhibited.
As a result, the majority of the collection has remained inaccessible to the public – both physically and digitally. The stories the objects tell, which shed light on the cultural and historical identity of Maine and its waterways, have too. Thanks to a grant awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2021, the museum is striving to chart a new course and significantly expand access to these stories, one object at a time.
Over the past two years, our grant-funded Collection Specialists and interns have been documenting and digitizing the objects in the primary collection storage area. They have broadened the museum’s research of thousands of objects and expertly photographed many more. New information and images are added daily to the museum’s online catalog because of their work, allowing staff, researchers, and visitors to explore the collection like never before.
This exhibition is the second in a series celebrating the work of our curatorial team under the IMLS grant. The objects seen here represent the wide scope of the collection and a few of the team’s favorite and most interesting discoveries.