Much has changed in Maine’s lobstering industry in the last three decades, yet it remains a colorful and central part of both the coastal landscape and Maine’s fishing economy. In this major permanent exhibit, interactive technology helps visitors explore lobster biology and ecology, boats and engines, and modern traps and processing equipment. A century of changes in lobster boat design is documented by examples from our historical working watercraft collection. The exhibit also portrays the increasingly complex roles of the modern lobsterman as harvester/scientist/business person, and the savvy needed to transport, market, and profit from a perishable seafood. With expertise from the Maine Lobsterman’s Association, University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and others, the installation opened July 26, 2015.
One of the most unique components of the exhibit is a display of buoys donated by lobstermen from up and down the coast. Using touch-screen kiosks, visitors can view photos and information correlating to each buoy, including the lobsterman’s name, location, boat name, and in some cases, personal stories gleaned from life on the water. The buoys, and the stories of the men and women who fish with them, will continue to be added to beyond the exhibit opening as an ongoing documentation of the lobster fishery.
Exhibit Content Themes
Lobster, a story of the way we eat – blending history, technology, economics and marketing
Lobster, a lens on Maine – the history, culture, and geography of the Maine coast from which the lobster fishery has evolved
Lobster fishing – evolution of gear, technology and working patterns, effects on families and communities
Lobster science – marine biology, oceanography, ecology: new findings and the role of fishermen in today’s research
Lobster 101 – lobster facts, foibles, fables throughout history, folklore, and literature
Davis Family Foundation
The Family of Lobsterman William E. Gatchell
The Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust
Proudly supporting Maine’s lobster industry for more than 40 years