The Maine Discovery Museum
74 Main St., Bangor, Maine
The Maine Discovery Museum in downtown Bangor opened its doors in 2001. The museum fills three floors with interactive exhibits in seven major exhibit areas, making it the largest children’s museum north of Boston. Created by a huge volunteer effort, the museum is for all Mainers. It is an amusement park for the brain, a place where families can visit again and again, rediscovering the joy of learning through play. Exhibits cover natural science, music, anatomy, art, geography, physics and children’s literature. The museum is open noon- 5 p.m. Monday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5.50 per person; children under 12 months are free. For information, call 1-207-262-7200 or visit the Maine Discovery Museum Web site at www.mainediscoverymuseum.org.
Maine Center for the Arts,
University of Maine, Orono, Maine
The Hudson Museum, housed in the Maine Center for the Arts, is the University of Maine’s gateway for exploring and understanding the diversity of human experience. The museum’s permanent collections include pre-Hispanic Mexican and Central American pieces, American Indian collections from the Northwest, Plains, Southwest, Maine, South America and the Arctic, and artifacts from Oceania, Asia and Africa. The museum has six permanent exhibits and holds or develops two to four special exhibits each year. The museum offers guided tours and educational programs for elementary and secondary school pupils, university students and adult groups; lectures by distinguished anthropologists and archaeologists; and an annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance sale and demonstrations. The Hudson Museum Shop offers a fine selection of items ranging from Maine-made pieces to reproductions based on the museum’s William P. Palmer III Collection of Mesoamerican Artifacts. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, and closed Sunday, Monday and holidays. Admission is free; a small fee may be charged for some programs. For information, call 1-207-581-1901 or visit the Hudson Museum’s Web site at www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum.
The Maine Folklife Center
University of Maine, Orono, Maine
The mission of the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine is to enhance understanding of the folk life, folklore and history of Maine and Atlantic Canada, to encourage appreciation of the diverse cultures and heritage of the region, and to strengthen and enrich the region’s communities. The Folklife Center builds on more than 40 years’ experience working in an international context to collect and preserve through interviews, videos, recordings and photographs. The center is committed to using new technologies and new media to carry cultural stories from the 19th and 20th centuries into the future. The center is open to the public 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday year round. For information, call 1-207-581-1891, e-mail email@example.com or visit the Web page at www.umaine.edu/folklife.
Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance
5 Main St., Old Town, Maine
The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance is a nonprofit American Indian arts organization, dedicated to preserving the traditions of ash and sweet grass basketry among the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes of Maine. The alliance’s mission is to preserve and document the tradition of basket making among the four tribes; to expand markets for baskets in Maine and beyond; to ensure a supply of high-quality brown ash and sweet grass for present and future generations; and to provide outreach, education and apprenticeships to younger tribal members to keep alive the traditions. The Wabanaki Arts Center gallery is located at 137 North Main St., Old Town, where visitors can view sweet grass fancy baskets, brown ash baskets, educational exhibits, carvings and jewelry. Proceeds benefit the alliance’s nonprofit activities. The gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. For information, call 1-800-827-0391 or visit the Web site: www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum-miba.
26 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor, Maine
Sieur de Monts Spring
Bar Harbor, Maine
The Abbe Museum celebrates Maine’s American Indian heritage with exhibits and educational programs for all ages. The Abbe’s extensive collections include artifacts dating back 10,000 years and historic collections from the 17th through 20th centuries. Its fine examples of contemporary arts and crafts demonstrate the enduring traditions of the Wabanaki people, including basketry, woodcarving and beadwork. First opened in 1928 as a privately operated trail-side museum in Acadia National Park, the Abbe expanded into a year-round museum in downtown Bar Harbor in 2001. Spacious galleries and multiple areas for programming enable visitors to explore the contributions of Maine’s Indian tribes past and present, and the archaeology that reveals life in Maine thousands of years ago. The Circle of the Four Directions, a soaring circular space, represents the importance of the circle in Indian culture. Special school programs are offered throughout the academic year. Museum shops at both locations specialize in high-quality Wabanaki baskets and other crafts. The museums and shops are open daily through Oct. 19. The Abbe Museum downtown will be open Thursdays through Sundays during the winter, closing the month of January. Information: (207) 288-3519, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.abbemuseum.org.
Bangor Museum & Center for History
6 State St., Bangor, Maine
“From Away: Exploring Bangor’s Cultural Heritage” is a unique exhibit, featuring artifacts from the collection of the Bangor Historical Society and text that chronicles the ethnic groups that settled in Bangor and created the area’s diverse culture. Beginning with the Penobscot Indians, the exhibit covers Irish, Jewish, Greek and African American, as well as Italian, German, Chinese and Franco-American groups. The museum is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is free. The Bangor Historical Society also operates the Thomas A. Hill House at 159 Union St. Docent-led tours of this 19th century home-museum give a glimpse of Bangor’s rich past. Hill House is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Admission is $5 per adult and free for children. For information about either location, call 942-1900 or 941-5755.
Maine Acadian Heritage Council
P.O. Box 88, Madawaska, Maine 04756
The Maine Acadian Heritage Council is a regional organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Acadian culture, language and history throughout northern Maine’s Saint John Valley and beyond.
Since its inception in 1997, the council has provided leadership and funding to member organizations for cultural conservation projects. In addition, numerous educational opportunities have been developed to inform lifelong valley residents and visitors about Acadian culture. These projects include: an educational assessment to explore how to integrate Acadian history and culture into school curricula; the Saint John Valley Welcome Guide; the Saint John Valley Cultural Directory (2000) and the most recent publication, “Traditions d’icite,” which accompanied traditional artist demonstrations at the Acadian Village in Van Buren. Other programs include a bimonthly newsletter, an artist and speaker series, participation in planning and funding for the annual Acadian Festival.
In the second edition of Maine Archives & Museums Directory, the Acadian council is listed under the heading “Saint John Valley Heritage Corridor,” Van Buren to Allagash, Maine. A circular heritage corridor covers both sides of the Saint John Valley, with eight museums on the U.S. side and six on the Canadian. Museums include the Acadian Village, Van Buren; Musee Culturelle du Mont Carmel, Lille; Tante Blanche Museum and Acadian Cross Site, Madawaska; Frenchville Railroad Museum, Frenchville; Ste. Agathe Historical and Agricultural Museum, St. Agatha; Fort Kent Historical Museum and Railroad Station, Fort Kent; St. Francis Historical Society Museum and Railroad Turntable, St. Francis; and Allagash Historical Society Museum.
For information, call Louise Martin at 207-728-6826.