In mid-September, Penobscot Marine Museum's photo archivists Kevin Johnson and Matt Wheeler drove to Portland to pick up some 20,000 National Fisherman photographs housed in four file cabinets. This new addition to the museum’s photography archives was donated by the highly-regarded commercial fishing journal.

The Penobscot Marine Museum acquired images from a related publication, Atlantic Fisherman, during the 1990s. In the late 1950s, the successful Maine Coast Fisherman bought up Atlantic Fisherman and began using the title National Fisherman, which still continues to thrive today. The paper has long been appreciated and respected as a premier source of news regarding fisheries and working waterfronts.

The collection consists largely of prints of numerous formats submitted with articles over four or more decades. This trove of images depicts the diverse nature of life at sea in the second half of the 20th century. The activists begin the task of digitally archiving this enormous body of work. Eventually, visitors to the website and to the museum will be able to pour over these photographs themselves through the online database.

This project offers a fascinating opportunity for anyone looking to volunteer at the museum. Those interested in lending a hand can give Johnson a call at 548-2528, ext. 210. for more information about the museum and its photo collection, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or