Penobscot Marine Museum
Penobscot Marine Museum - showcasing the maritime history of the Penobscot Bay Region and the state of Maine
The Penobscot Marine Museum is dedicated to showcasing the maritime history of the Penobscot Bay Region and of Maine. The Museum is comprised of eight buildings, each listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, in their original location on Church Street, in the authentic seaside village of Searsport. The building dates range from circa 1810 to 1845.
The Museum’s impressive collection includes paintings (the Museum owns the largest collection in the country of works by Thomas and James Buttersworth), photos of local sea captains, a collection of China-trade merchandise, artifacts of seafaring life, navigational instruments, logging tools, dioramas, furniture, manuscripts, small boats, fishing artifacts, ice-cutting tools, ocean-travelers’ treasures, and models of famous ships. What’s perhaps most impressive is that the collection continues to grow.
As you turn from Route 1 onto Church Street, your first stop will be the Fowler-True-Ross House and Barn, a sea captain’s home. Fowler and his wife had five sons who also became sea captains. This house was the family home, and was occupied by descendants until it was gifted to the Museum in 1967. Visitors can visit the adjoining barn to view part of the Museum’s small boat collection.
Across the street from the Fowler-True-Ross House is the “Old Vestry,” a former schoolhouse turned Congregational Church vestry, turned Marine Science Lab, where children now take part in hands-on science activities.
Up the street from the Old Vestry, visitors will find another captain’s home, the Jeremiah Merithew House, which features a number of exhibits, including a collection of more than 300 portraits of Searsport sea captains. An interactive kiosk allows these captains to share some of their sea stories with Museum patrons.
Across the street from the Merithew House is the Ross Carriage Barn, which is now home to an exhibit of historic recreational boats. In front of the barn, visitors can explore a model of a square-rigger’s mast.
Still farther up the street one will find the Old Town Hall, Searsport’s original Town Hall, built in 1845. This exhibit now showcases Maine’s finfish and shellfish industries.
The Stephen Phillips Memorial Library sits beside the Old Town Hall and serves as the Museum’s research center. The Library is open by appointment.
Across the street from the library, visitors will find The Josiah Dutch House, the former home of a ship builder. It is now called the Peapod, and welcomes children to its play and learning area.
The Museum is open from Memorial Day through late October, Mondays through Saturdays from 10 to 5, and Sundays from noon to 5. Admission is $8 for adults, $3 for children, and free to children under 7 and to members. The Museum offers a family rate of $18 and a group rate of $5 per person for parties larger than 10. Most of the exhibits are wheelchair accessible. For more information, call (207) 548-2529.