Step into the past of maritime at the Maine Maritime Museum. Boat and ship enthusiasts, as well as people of all ages just interested in learning more will love this fun and educational experience. The area that is now the maritime museum has been there since the 1800s, although the museum only opened to the public in the 1960s (founded by just seven local Bath residents).
It has expanded many times since then, seeking to provide the public with a complete understanding of maritime culture and economy.
Although the museum features a wide and diverse selection of temporary exhibits, the permanent exhibits should not be missed.
1.A Maritime History of Maine - The main permanent exhibit at the museum, this section gives a large, general idea of what maritime in the state has looked like since its inception. Featuring nearly 250 different objects meant to let guests get an inside look at how locals made their living as well as items related to fishing, trades on the coast, shipbuilding (both with wood and with steel), recreation, maritime during war and travel on the coast.
2.A Shipyard in Maine - The museum permanent collection features the only wooden sailing vessel shipyard in the United States. Percy and Small, the only intact shipyard of this type, was made to build sailing boats and schooners (like The Wyoming, the largest wooden sailing vessel in the US). See the wharves, the slips and other historic structures to see what building sailing vessels was like in the period between the 1890s and 1920s.
3.Snow Squall - This is the only remaining clipper ship from America in existence today and it is on display at the museum. Built in Maine in the 1850s, this 157-foot-long, three mast ship, crewed by 16 men, sailed around the world
4.Historic Boat Collection - Over 100 ships with their roots in the state of Maine are housed on the museum campus. Make sure to see them all!
5.Lobstering - Recently redesigned and updated, the permanent exhibit on lobstering (with an emphasis on the East Coast) walks guests through the history of the trade and how it has affected the local economy. View a collection of unique buoys and learn about the people who used them. Guests can even donate a buoy.
6.Into the Lantern - This full-scale replica of the Two Lights lighthouse from Cape Elizabeth is the first of its type in existence. Experience what it is like to be in a lantern room with video projections of time lapsed panoramic scenes.
7.Deepwater Commerce - Learn about how Bath, ME had an impact both national and also international deep-water commerce and trade in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The maritime museum offers special events throughout the year. There is a full calendar available on the website that is updated frequently. There are specialty cruises, day camps during the summer and both lighthouse and river cruises.
There is also an annual fall book and store sale (find amazing deals on antique books and clearance museum items) as well as multiple holiday events (like the Jolly Family Jamboree - visit with Santa and Captain Christmas, explore the museum, and watch a special performance of the Grinch - as well as Mixers and Merriment - a social hour with craft cocktails specific to Maine). There is also book, and film series talks and trolley tours as well as crafting workshops (make a shaker box at the boat shop!). Make sure to keep an eye out on the website as events are added often. This will also give visitors information on if there will be any cost needed to attend or if reservations are required.
Field trips are both welcome and encouraged at the museum. Use hands on and immersive learning techniques to engages students in a new and unique way that helps history come alive. Focusing on science, social studies and technology based curriculum that hit state specific benchmarks, a field trip to the maritime museum is educational as well as fun!
Prices vary depending on the subject matter teachers choose, and there are two social studies as well as two science and technology based programs. They vary depending on grade level (one is generally intended for grades 3 through 12 and the other for grades 1 through 6) and optional boat tours are able to be added at an additional cost. Teachers should make sure to book the tour date and time in advance to verify availability as well as to confirm number of students expected. Admission is free for teachers and adult chaperones, and it is recommended that there is one adult for every ten students.
Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington Street, Bath, ME, 04530, Phone: 207-443-1316