Visit MaineToday's profile on Pinterest.

About The Author

mainetoday

Shannon Bryan

Send an email | Read more from Shannon







Posted: September 16, 2015

Free Museum Day: 18 Maine museums are free on Sept. 26

Written by: Shannon Bryan
Cabinets of curiosity and diaramas filled with birds on exhibit at the L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley. John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

Cabinets of curiosity and dioramas filled with birds on exhibit at the L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley. John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

Smithsonian Magazine loves museums. They also love getting us, the general public, into museums so we can love and enjoy them, too.

To help in that effort, the magazine hosts Museum Day every September and hundreds of museums around the country open to the public for free. This year, Museum Day is Saturday, September 26, and 18 Maine museums are participating, from the Burnham Tavern Museum in Machias to the Sayward-Wheeler House in York Harbor.

That means you can see a 10,000-year-old meat cache built by Paleo-Indians or poke around in Burnham Tavern and get a glimpse of what like looked like around the time of the American Revolution – for free. Whatever your interest, from automobiles to the Arctic, there’s probably a museum in Maine that can tell you all about it.

To get your free Museum Day ticket, visit smithsonianmag.com and pick the museum you want to visit (only one). Your ticket will get two people into the museum free. Download your ticket ahead of time and bring it with you (some also accept tickets on smartphones).

Get in free to these Maine museums

Portland Museum of Art
7 Congress Square, Portland. 207-775-6148. www.portlandmuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Portland Museum of Art houses impressive collections of American, European and Contemporary art, and many works from Maine, making it a destination museum all year long. The current exhibit, “Rose Marasco: index,” is a collection of photographs by Maine photographer Rose Marasco, whose career spanned four decades. (Read more about the exhibit: Portland photographer’s retrospective exhibition, ‘Rose Marasco: index,’ at PMA)

Maine Maritime Museum
243 Washington Street, Bath. 207-443-1316. www.mainemaritimemuseum.org
Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Check out the 6,200-square-foot exhibit, “Lobstering & the Maine Coast, the complete story of Maine’s most iconic fishery… from trap to table,” and learn about Maine’s maritime heritage.

 

This alligator was donated to the Saco Museum in 1871 while it was still alive and the museum had it skinned and stuffed. Staff photo by Gregory Rec.

This alligator was donated to the Saco Museum in 1871 while it was still alive and the museum had it skinned and stuffed. Staff photo by Gregory Rec.

Saco Museum
371 Main Street, Saco. 207-283-3861. sacomuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
With its collection of art and historic artifacts from the area, the Saco Museum always has something to pique a visitors interest. The current exhibit, “Industry and Virtue Joined: Schoolgirl Needlework of Northern New England,” focuses on schoolgirl embroidery and has more than 130 samples on exhibit, including 41 from Maine.

Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum
5 Portland Street, South Berwick. 207-384-2454. www.historicnewengland.org
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour at 4 p.m)
There’s not just one historic home in South Berwick connected to writer Sarah Orne Jewett – there’s two, right next door to each other. Sarah Orne Jewett grew up in an 18th century home belonging to her grandparents, then moved into a Greek revival home next door before inheriting her grandparents’ home after they died. That home is a National Historic Landmark, and reflect her grandparents’ life and Sarah’s own modern tastes. The Greek revival home is now a visitors center and currently features the exhibit “Capturing Maine: Photographs from the Collection of Historic New England.”

Jane Radcliffe, a board member of the museum, pointed out artwork the Rufus Porter Museum had acquired in a house containing wall painted murals in Baldwin. Photo by John Patriquin.

Jane Radcliffe, a board member of the museum, pointed out artwork the Rufus Porter Museum had acquired in a house containing wall painted murals in Baldwin. Photo by John Patriquin.

Rufus Porter Museum
67 North High St., Bridgton. 207-647-2828. www.rufusportermuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You’ll have a chance to create, just like Rufus Porter did. The painter/musician/writer/teacher was also started Scientific American magazine – he accomplished a good deal in his life and the museum captures it all. Current exhibits focus on Yankee ingenuity, which Porter certainly had (and perhaps you do, too).

Brick Store Museum
117 Main Street, Kennebunk. 207-985-4802. www.brickstoremuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Learn more about the history of the Kennebunks through collected art and exhibits highlighting the region and the people who lived, worked and created there. Current exhibits include “Kennebunk History in 50 Objects,” “Stories of Invention” and exhibits showcasing Maine’s illustrators.

A 2008 photo of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum as it was being readied for a new exhibition of the exploration of the North Pole by Robert E. Peary and Donald B. MacMillan. Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald file photo

A 2008 photo of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum as it was being readied for a new exhibition of the exploration of the North Pole by Robert E. Peary and Donald B. MacMillan. Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald file photo

The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
Bowdoin College-Hubbard Hall, 9500 College Station, Brunswick. 207-725-3416. www.bowdoin.edu/arctic-museum
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some folks wonder why and how we deal with Maine’s cold, but even we are fascinated by those who live in or explore the much colder Arctic and Subarctic. The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum focuses on the history, culture and artistic developments in that region, with exhibits like “A Glimmer on the Polar Sea: The Crocker Land Expedition, 1913–1917” and “Northwest of the Known Arctic Lands: MacMillan’s Search for Crocker Land.” Note: Admission to this museum is always free.

Penobscot Marine Museum
2 Church St., Searsport. 207-548-2529. penobscotmarinemuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Check out several exhibits related to photography, including a selfie wall, a room-sized walk-in camera obscura and a replica of of a 20th century darkroom. The “Through Her Lens: Women Photographers of Mid-Coast Maine” exhibit highlights five photographers.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art
9400 College Station, Brunswick. 207-725-3275. www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum houses more than 20,000 paintings, sculpture, artifacts and decorative arts. The current exhibit, “Night Vision: Nocturnes in American Art, 1860-1960,” highlights the importance of nocturnal images in the development of modern art. Note: Admission to this museum is always free.

 Trolley Conductor Bill Mallory collects the ticket from Devlin Murphy as his family looks on on the John Stevenson trolley at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald file photo

Trolley Conductor Bill Mallory collects the ticket from Devlin Murphy as his family looks on on the John Stevenson trolley at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald file photo

Seashore Trolley Museum
195 Log Cabin Road, 195 Log Cabin Road, Kennebunkport. 207-967-2800. trolleymuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Take a ride in a vintage trolley car or explore the barn full of restored cars from around Maine and the world. There are hiking trails nearby and the museum is dog-friendly. The pumpkin patch trolley event will be taking place on Museum Day, so you can take a ride to a pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin.

Burnham Tavern Museum
14 Colonial Way, Machias. 207-255-6930. www.burnhamtavern.com
Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Burnham Tavern is worth a visit for historians, amateur historians and anyone who’s interest is piqued by American history and how our predecessors really lived. The home, built in 1770, is still mostly original and shows what life was like (and what technology existed) during that time. It also has a really interesting history relating to the American Revolution.

Extinct carrier pigeons are also on display at the L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley. Portland Press Herald photo by John Patriquin.

Extinct carrier pigeons are also on display at the L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley. John Patriquin/Press Herald file photo

L.C. Bates Museum
14 Easler Road, PO Box 159, Hinckley. 207-238-4250. www.gwh.org/lcbates/LCBatesMuseum.aspx
Open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Walk the nature trails outside and check out the taxidermy animals and fossils inside. Exhibits include “Focusing on Natural History,” featuring a selection of photography, and a collection of birds from around the world.

Maine State Museum
230 State Street, Augusta. 207-287-2301. www.mainestatemuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Maine’s people, Maine’s landscape, Maine’s industrial history.
It’s all here at the Maine State Museum, which is focused on the story of our state. Check out the 10,000-year-old meat cache built by Paleo-Indians, the three-story water-powered woodworking mill and The Peary necklace – made of tourmaline and given by Admiral Robert E. Peary to his wife Josephine in 1913.

Seal Cove Auto Museum
1414 Tremont Road, PO Box 106, Seal Cove. 207-244-9242. www.sealcoveautomuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lovers of the automobile, this museum’s for you. Follow the story of the automobile’s influence in New England and America and check out a cool collection of old automobiles and motorcycles. The current exhibit is “Motoring Into the 20th Century: Cultural and Industrial Innovations of the Earliest Automobiles.”

 

This collection of moccasins is in the Frank Siebert collection of Native American items at the Abbe Museum. Photo by Gordon Chibroski.

This collection of moccasins is in the Frank Siebert collection of Native American items at the Abbe Museum. Photo by Gordon Chibroski.

Abbe Museum
26 Mt. Desert St., Bar Harbor. 207-288-3519. abbemuseum.org
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Learn more about Wabanaki people, culture and their role in American history. Exhibits include “Coming Home,” a collection of beadwork, tools, artwork and objects made and used by the Wabanaki, as well as an archeology exhibit and traditional birchbark canoe.

Nickels-Sortwell House
121 Main Street, Wiscasset. 207-882-7169. www.historicnewengland.org
Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour at 4 p.m)
You may have driven by this historic home a hundred times, but the Nickels-Sortwell House, located on Main Street in Wiscasset, is worth stopping for. An example of Federal-style architecture, the home was built during a period of economic boom in the small town, but was later sold and used as a hotel before being purchased again and restored.

The kitchen sink made with an oak counter and fir beadboard cabinetry at Wiscasset's, Castle Tucker. Doug Jones/Press Herald file photo

The kitchen sink made with an oak counter and fir beadboard cabinetry at Wiscasset’s, Castle Tucker. Doug Jones/Press Herald file photo

Castle Tucker
2 Lee Street, Wiscasset. 207-882-7169. www.historicnewengland.org
Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour at 4:30 p.m.)
Mollie and Richard Tucker might not have invited you to snoop around their house while they were living there (the mid- to late-1800s), but thanks to historic preservation, you can tour this stunning Victorian-era home.

Sayward-Wheeler House
9 Barrell Lane Extension, York Harbor. 207-384-2454. www.historicnewengland.org
Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour at 4 p.m.)
See original furnishings and portraits that were in the house and on the walls on the eve of the American Revolution, when merchant Jonathan Sayward lived there.

Up Next: