Maine Maritime Museum

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Maine Maritime Museum
Maine Maritime Museum Logo, ME, USA Sep 2012.png
Established 1962 [1]
Location Bath, Maine
Coordinates 43°53′39″N 69°49′00″W / 43.894083°N 69.816789°W / 43.894083; -69.816789
Type Maritime museum
Director Amy Lent[2]
Curator Nathan R. Lipfert[3]
Website Maine Maritime Museum

The Maine Maritime Museum, formerly the Bath Marine Museum, offers exhibits about Maine's maritime heritage, culture and the role Maine has played in regional and global maritime activities.[2][3] The Maine Maritime Museum has an large and quirky collection, made up of more than 20,000 documents, artifacts and pieces of artwork and includes an extensive research library.[4]

The museum is set on a scenic active waterfront on the banks of the Kennebec River and includes the historic Percy and Small Shipyard with five original 19th century buildings, a Victorian-era shipyard owner's home and New England's largest sculpture - a full size representation of the largest wooden sailing vessel ever built, the six-masted schooner Wyoming.[5]


The Marine Research Society of Bath was founded in 1962 by seven residents from Bath, Maine.[3] The early years saw the founders renting a storefront in 1964 to exhibit the collection.[6] In 1964 one of Bath's wealthy shipbuilding families, the Sewalls, gave the museum their mansion to exhibit the museum's collection.[6]

It was called Bath Marine Museum until 1972 when the name was officially changed the Maine Maritime Museum.[7]

By 1983, the museum showed their collection via three sites: Sewall House, the Winter Street Centre and the Apprenticeshop.[6]

In June 2010, due to the recession the Portland Harbor Museum and Maine Maritime Museum merged.[8] The collection from the Portland Harbor Museum was moved to the Maine Maritime Museum on the basis that the Bath museum is a climate-controlled facility and the "premier facility for visitors to experience the history of Maine shipbuilding and seafaring" and the Portland Harbor Museum "received few visitors."[8]

In 2012, the Gazela Primeiro visited the Maine Maritime Museum to commemorate the museum's half-century anniversary.[9]


Maine Maritime Museum galleries, with Mark 48 torpedo hull

The collection contains "many sextants, spyglasses, captain's chests".[6]

Over the period of 2001 through to 2007 the museum's collection of objects grew from 16,000 to 20,000.[4][10]

Exhibits and tours[edit]

The museum offers a trolley tour of Bath Iron Works, a shipyard that builds private, commercial and military vessels, river and coastal cruises and lighthouse tours.[4]


In the 1980s the museum resided in two sites and a 20 minute ferry transported visitors between the two locations.[6]

In 1987 a $7 million construction project to build a new home for the museum one mile from the museum's campus was in progress.[11] The new location includes the Percy & Small Shipyard, preserving the nation's only surviving wooden shipbuilding site.[4][11] Winton Scott Architects designed the current Maine Maritime Museum gallery building.[12] In 1987, Elizabeth B. Noyce donated $3.5 million towards the construction on the museum's building.[13] The building was completed in 1989 to a size of 30,000 square feet.[14] In 2010 it was reported the museum underwent a renovation to address water issues arising out of a design flaw in the roof.[14]

The museum’s campus is dominated by a sculpture, designed to reflect the Wyoming, which was the largest wooden vessel ever built in the United States. The Wyoming sunk in 1924, but in an effort to connect Maine visitors with the seafaring past and raise the profile of the museum, a full-scale sculptural installation was erected in 2001 to celebrate the ship.[10] The sculpture is almost 600 feet of empty space- which encourages viewer’s imagination to fill in the rest- and is made of white steel replicas of the Wyoming’s bow and stern.[4] The sculpture resides upon the area where the Wyoming was built,[15] and amounts to one of the largest pieces of New England public art.[15] In 2001 the museum raised $4 million through donations from the public and spent $300,000 from those funds on the sculpture.[15]

The banks fishing schooner Sherman Zwicker operates from the museum site seasonally in a partnership arrangement with the museum.

Maine Maritime Museum Waterfront with the schooner Sherman Zwicker and Wyoming sculpture


In 1983 it was reported that the museum was among one of Maine's most popular attractions receiving 30,000 people in 1982.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Maine Maritime Museum". Portland Press Herald (Maine). 4 April 2001. 
  2. ^ a b Keyes, Bob (21 August 2008). "Museum honors a man of grand designs". Portland Press Herald (Maine). 
  3. ^ a b c Cousins, Christopher (25 December 2011). "Maine Maritime Museum to shore up oldest building with help of grant". Bangor Daily News (Maine). 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gaines, Judith (19 December 2007). "The lore and lure of maritime life". The Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ "Maritime museum officials happy about backyard find". Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine). 29 November 2005. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Terence (1 October 1983). "Ferry makes 300-year trip in 20 minutes Fifth busiest port in U.S. Yard Bustles with activity". The Globe and Mail (Canada). 
  7. ^ Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums (1967). The Maine history news. Maine League of Historical Societies and Museums. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Our View: Two museums join forces in rough economic seas". Maine Sunday Telegram. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Cousins, Christopher (12 July 2012). "111-year-old barkentine to visit Maine Maritime Museum". Bangor Daily News. 
  10. ^ a b Higgins, Richard (2 June 2001). "Looking Shipshape". The Boston Globe. 
  11. ^ a b Riddle, Lyn (18 October 1987). "A Revival on The Kennebec". New York Times. 
  12. ^ Beem, Edgar Allen (8 April 2001). "Sweet Seclusion Dodge Morgan Loves Adventure and Isolation. The Compact Island Compound Provides Both.". The Boston Globe. 
  13. ^ Ford, Royal (2 July 1995). "Maine reaps fruits of her largess". The Bostom Globe. 
  14. ^ a b Keyes, Bob (12 March 2010). "Maritime museum deals with water challenges". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c Higgins, Richard (2 June 2001). "Looking Shipshape". The Boston Globe.