Chris Timm, Executive Director
Photo Credit Tim Greenway
This spring, I shared with subscribers to the Rhumb Line, our biannual print newsletter, that the museum would reenergize around our mission, vision, and values. To that end, over the course of the last few months we have engaged in a collaborative and inclusive conversation, engaging staff, trustees, and volunteers to identify the ways we can better serve our community. I also asked our loyal Rhumb Line readers to share what stories are meaningful or inspiring—how can we better welcome you aboard?
Clear areas of consensus emerged from these conversations. Our desire to be an inclusive museum—one that welcomes all and shares stories that matter. Our need to directly engage families and multigenerational groups, to invite in future generations. Our belief that we are here to educate; to connect maritime past, present, and future; and to be a forum for community dialogue. Our recognition that, as an interdisciplinary museum, we embrace the rich diversity of maritime topics. And our geographic compass—we are rooted in Maine and we strive to tell big, meaningful stories of global relevance.
After sustained and meaningful discussions, I’m pleased to share the updated statements that were passed unanimously by our Board of Trustees in September:
Our Mission: Maine Maritime Museum’s mission is to connect people to the past, present, and future of Maine’s waterways and their global reach.
Our Vision: Our vision is to be a leading cultural institution and community pillar. As active stewards and educators of history and culture, of our historic site, and of our collections, we strive to inspire an ever-growing audience to experience the local, regional, and global stories of Maine.
Our Values: We value progress—removing barriers to access, broadening our audience, building community, expanding scholarship, and innovating our stories and storytelling methods. We value respect— sustaining the people, places, and resources in our care, prioritizing equity in our work, and creating a supportive environment that empowers individuals to thrive.
Museums must revisit their mission periodically to ensure they are framed in a way that meets the current and future needs of our community. In this case, the evolution is not a seismic shift but a thoughtful acknowledgement of the museum’s past, our recent successes, and new responsibilities.
In his remarks opening the museum’s first permanent location in 1964—with exhibits telling our core stories through paintings and artifacts traded across the world—
our first president William Mussenden shared the following reminder, worth revisiting:
“This museum is not a memorial to an industry that is dead, nor is it being dedicated as a reminder of the good old days. What you will see here is merely the evidence of that which has
happened in a community, where progress is still being made.”
Connecting the past, present, and future of maritime Maine, and how this story is one of global relevance, has long been a common thread in our history. It is worth renewing our commitment to this purpose, as we identify new programs and exhibits that reveal maritime Maine to be a place where progress has been, and still is being, made.