Museum Exhibits

Current Exhibits

The Helen and Claus Hoie Charitable Foundation’s recent donation of a number of Hoie’s watercolors allows us to celebrate the vision of this notable 20th-century artist who drew so deeply upon the sea for inspiration. Hoie’s seafaring family origins inspired a long lifetime of painting sailing vessels, fish, whalers, and Moby-Dick, among other subjects. The idea of a “fantasia” (a mixture of forms and styles) fits the varied styles of Claus Hoie (1911-2007), who sometimes incorporated a variety of elements such as text from logbooks into his artworks.

“The islands” were regular trading stops in the days of sail, and Maine mariners and their families came to know the region well. Using objects of trade, accounts, personal sketches, artworks, photographs, and souvenirs, this exhibit explores this long-standing relationship of Maine seafarers with a vastly different region that is not very far away. It introduces more recent perspectives through the mid-20th century paintings of Stephen Etnier (1903-1984), a sailor himself who traveled south for decades.

Permanent Exhibits

Our core exhibit gives the visitor a broad overview of Maine maritime history. Our core exhibit uses more than 240 objects to give the viewer a general idea of Maine maritime history. It focuses on the major themes of earning a living on the coast, fishing, coastal trades, wooden and steel shipbuilding, war, coastal travel, and recreation. Included in this exhibition is our presentation on Bath Iron Works and our best model of a destroyer, as well as material relating to the Maine exports of lumber, lime, ice, and granite.

The Percy & Small Shipyard at Maine Maritime Museum is America’s only surviving shipyard site where large wooden sailing vessels were built. Maine Maritime Museum includes a unique historic site. Percy & Small is the only intact shipyard in the country which built large wooden sailing vessels, and the giant schooners it built include the six-master Wyoming, the largest wooden vessel built in the country.

New in 2018, this permanent exhibit, produced in collaboration with Bath Iron Works, provides an immersive, high-tech look at the people, processes, and ships of BIW. Visitors get an exclusive look at the yard’s cutting-edge technology and innovative approaches to design through a number of interactive elements including a touch-sensitive wall illustrating ship design and simulated CIC screens. Head to the new theatre space to see what goes on behind the gates with a behind-the-scenes video of the shipbuilding process.

Distance Lands of Palm and Spice tells the story of how the small river city of Bath, Maine, impacted national and international trade during the 19th and early 20th centuries and how that trade impacted the culture of the city.

MMM’s collection of small craft number more than 140 iconic Maine-built or Maine-related boats from a rare antique birchbark canoe to Andrew Wyeth’s Friendship sloop. The boats are housed in several buildings and included in various exhibits around the museum campus so viewing them all takes plenty of time and lots of determination, but many are easy to view.

Showing in the MMM Boat Shop, and also at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, this retrospective provides a glimpse of one of the roots of what has become known as the ‘wooden boat revival’. The original Apprenticeshop was a vision of Lance R. Lee, who, in 1972, nudged a young maritime museum in Bath, Maine out of its comfort zone to take a chance on a then-radical idea. Collated and edited by Chris Hall, Curator of Exhibits and A-shop alum, 1974-75. Honing the Edge is dedicated to the memory of Tom Wood, trustee and friend of both Maine Maritime Museum and The Apprenticeshop.

Into the Lantern: A Lighthouse Experience, a full-scale replication of the Cape Elizabeth Two Lights lighthouse tower lantern room, allows visitors to see the original second-order Fresnel lens from the east tower at Two Lights and experience the environment of the lantern room through time-lapsed video projections featuring a panorama of the Gulf of Maine that changes with the weather and seasons. This immersive exhibit is the first of its kind anywhere.

The historic Percy & Small Shipyard site at Maine Maritime Museum is the only intact shipyard in the United States where large wooden sailing ships were built. The shipyard is complete with its original buildings, except for one – the blacksmith shop, which was torn down in 1939. That building had replaced a previous building that was destroyed by fire in 1913. The pre-fire building would have contained the blacksmith shop that was responsible for producing the metalwork that went into building Wyoming and many of her sister ships.

Maine Maritime Museum recently completed a significant redesign and renovation of one of the museum’s major exhibitions – Lobstering & the Maine Coast. The exhibit is a thematic expansion and upgrade of the existing lobstering exhibit installed in 1985 in its own 6,200-square-foot, two-story building steps from the Kennebec River.

Upcoming Exhibits

Wrecks and abandoned hulks of historic vessels dot the coast of Maine. Seventy-five years ago visible hulks like Wiscasset’s Hesper and Luther Little were a common sight.Twenty-five years ago they were a novelty. Now they are a rarity. This immersive exhibit explores the maritime archaeology of Maine—its sites, its preservation, and the technologies that allow undersea exploration and exploitation, past and present. The exhibit will challenge visitors to consider how and why these sites should be preserved and the complicated role museums play as both stewards and showcases for these artifacts.

Past Exhibits

Coming soon!

© 2018 Maine Maritime Museum