The United States has a rich maritime history dating from its earliest days to today (learn about America's early naval history by visiting the USS Consitution, the country's most historic navy ship). Today the United States is easily the foremost naval power in the world, and Maine has played a large role in making that happen. The Maine Maritime Museum is a great place to learn about the maritime history of Maine.
All around (the coastal) parts of the nation, one can visit some of America's most historic and iconic navy ships - including aircraft carriers and battleships. Maine is much more than just Acadia National Park and lobsters; it is a state with one of the most important contributions to America's long naval and maritime industry and traditions.
The Maine Maritime Museum - Explore Maine's Rich Maritime History
The museum was founded in 1962, and in 2010 it merged with the Portland Harbor Museum. Today it boasts over 20,000 objects and millions of documents and manuscripts pertaining to Maine's maritime heritage. It traces Maine's maritime history from prehistory to the current day.
It has grown to become a large museum and is now spread over a stunning 20-acre campus.
- Founded: 1962
The Maine Maritime Museum was formerly called the Bath Marine Museum and offers a large and diverse collection that details Maine's regional and global role in maritime activities. The museum's collection is made up of artifacts, artwork, documents, shipyards, ships, replicas, and much more.
- Bath: Known As The City Of Ships
The very location of the Maine Maritime Museum is significant. Bath is known as "The City of Ships." It is also set on the waterfront of the Kennebec River and includes the historic Percy and Small Shipyard.
Exhibits, Displays, & Activities Of The Maine Maritime Museum
One of the more eye-catching features is the full-sized representation of the largest wooden sailing ship ever built. It is that of the six-masted schooner Wyoming and is New England's largest sculpture.
The Percy and Small Shipyard has five original 19th-century buildings and a Victorian-era shipyard owner's home. It is the United State's only surviving shipyard where one can see where large wooden sailing vessels were built. The museum not only showcases the ships and shipbuilding but also offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the sailors and the shipbuilders.
Some of the permanent exhibits include:
- Snow Squall: Launched In Portland in 1851 Is the Last Remaining American Clipper Ship
- Donnell House: A Victorian-era Home Seasonally Open For Tours, Showcases A 1892 Shipyard Owner's Home
- A Maritime History Of Maine: Exhibit Of Over 240 Objects That Display Marine's Maritime History
- Percy & Small Shipyard: The Only Such Surviving American Shipyard Site
- BIW: Building America's Navy: Learn How America's Navy Is Built Today
- Historic Boat Collection: See Over 140 Historic Small Craft
- The Apprenticeshop At 40: Learn About How Wooden Boats Are Built
- A Lighthouse Experience: See Full-Scale A Replica Of The Cape Elizabeth Two Lights Lighthouse Tower Lantern Room
- Wyoming: The Largest Wooden Sailing Vessel Built In The USA (The Is A Sculpture Of It)
The museum is more than exhibits; they also offer daily cruises to see some of Maine's maritime attractions from the sea. See Maine's iconic lighthouses as well as Navy vessels currently under construction at the Bath Iron Works.
- Boat Ride: Go On A Boat Ride And See Navy Vessels Under Construction
And then there's a craft side to the museum. Visit the Boatshop and see how Maine's wooden boatbuilding traditions are preserved. Have a chit-chat with the boat-building craftsmen or even participate in a variety of traditional woodworking workshops.
Planning A Visit To The Maine Maritime Museum
The Maine Maritime Museum is open every day (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day).
- Hours: 9.30 am to 5.00 pm Daily
- Adults: $15.00
- Children: Free (Under 18)
There is plenty of free parking by the museum - including space able to accommodate RVs and other larger vehicles.
If one is feeling peckish during one's visit, then they also have their Sail Shed by Long Reach Kitchen open daily from 11.30 am to 4.30 Thursday to Sunday. The menus change and offer a selection of baked foods and sandwiches as well as hot and cold drinks.