Maine’s oldest marine museum will open for its 75th year on Friday, May 27, with new exhibits ranging from contemporary art to historic artifacts. Penobscot Marine Museum will host a free reception at 5:30 p.m. on opening day to give visitors a taste of this year’s exhibits and a chance to meet some of the exhibiting artists and the museum’s new executive director.
The signature exhibit for the year, “75 for 75” will showcase 75 artifacts from the museum’s 75 years. Ranging from marine paintings and domestic artifacts to ship models and full-size boats, “75 for 75” is spread across several of the museum’s 13 buildings. “It’s kind of a capsule history of the museum which is, itself, an ongoing record of Maine’s and Searsport’s maritime histories,” said the museum’s curator, Ben Fuller.
A second new exhibit, “The Art of the Boat,” will present works by more than 50 contemporary painters, sculptors and photographers exploring the themes of the boat as a work of art and the boatbuilder as artist. “We asked artists to balance the art that is in the boat with their own artistic vision ,” said Fuller. The exhibit was juried by a panel consisting of an art writer and critic, a yacht designer, an artist, and an art collector, which selected from more than 300 submitted works in all media. The exhibit is presented to honor the memory of George S. Wasson, a Maine artist, author, and boatbuilder who was one of the museum’s spiritual founders 75 years ago.
The museum has also renovated one of its longest-running exhibits so comprehensively that it constitutes a third new exhibit in many ways. “Working the Bay” tells the story of the economic evolution of the Penobscot region, focusing on industries such as quarrying, lumber, fishing and shipbuilding, and it includes several new hands-on features for younger visitors.
At 5:30 p.m. on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, Penobscot Marine Museum will hold a free reception in its Main Street Gallery, where “The Art of the Boat” is on display. The museum’s new executive director, Liz Lodge, will be on hand to meet the public, and visitors will have a chance to mingle with several of the exhibiting artists.
Maine’s oldest maritime museum, Penobscot Marine Museum is home to outstanding collections of historic boats, photography, marine art and artifacts, ship models and 19th century furnishings and architecture. Penobscot Marine Museum is at 40 E. Main St. (US Rte. 1) in Searsport, between Camden, Bangor, and Bar Harbor. Admission is free for Searsport residents. More information is at www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org or call 207-548-2529.