SEARSPORT — A bizarre cage-chair on wheels, built in 1896 as a deterrent to Maine’s hobos, will be on display as part of Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2015 exhibit, “Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light.” The chair, on loan to the museum from the Bangor Historical Society, was designed and apparently used by Oakland, Maine, deputy sheriff Sanford J. Baker, but he failed to get the Maine Legislature to adopt it statewide. The chair was then exhibited during parades as a sideshow. Around 1920, a photograph was taken of the chair with a bystander posing inside. The photograph and the chair will be on exhibit at the museum this summer.
“We are grateful to the Bangor Historical Society for the loan of this unusual object,” said Kevin Johnson, Penobscot Marine Museum photo archivist. “It is exciting to have the real object to exhibit next to the photograph.” The chair currently resides at the Bangor Police Department. It weighs 800 pounds and is being transported by special arrangement with American Concrete Industries in Veazie.
“Sharing pieces of history is an important part of our mission,” Bangor Historical Society
Executive Director Melissa Gerety said. “Partnerships like this allow more people a
chance to learn about the history of our region.”
The hobo chair and photograph are one of many unusual exhibits in” Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light.” Museum visitors will be able to walk into a huge camera, step inside an historic darkroom, watch a tintype being made, make a cyanotype photograph, make a pinhole camera, take a photograph with a pinhole camera, take photographs of themselves standing beside images of people from the 1880s, add their own photographs to an online museum exhibit, and add their selfies to the museum’s “Wall of Selfies.”
“Exploring the Magic of Photography: Painting with Light” is at Penobscot Marine Museum through Oct. 18.
The Bangor Historical Society has been preserving, protecting and sharing the history of the Bangor Region since 1864. The BHS is based in the historic Thomas A. Hill House at on the corner of Union and High streets in Bangor. It houses a large Civil War collection, a number of items from Bangor businesses and families, as well as an extensive photo collection. During the summer season the BHS offers a number of walking tours telling the tales of Bangor and its people. The Bangor Historical Society and Thomas A. Hill House Museum is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays beginning Tuesday, June 2. For information, call 942-1900 or visit bangorhistoricalsociety.org.