SEARSPORT — Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2022 exhibit “Up River: Selections from the Captain Bill Abbott Collection” features photographs collected by Capt. Abbott. The images bracket a long history — from 1900 through the present — and depict what is involved in guiding large vessels in challenging waters. The exhibit runs from May 27 through Oct. 16.

Capt. Abbott spent 50 years guiding vessels into port, notably through the waters of Penobscot Bay and the Penobscot River. He was born in 1922 and grew up on Verona Island. As the son of early river pilot Capt. Merle C. Abbott, he experienced piloting trips at a young age. Alongside his father, he learned the nuances of the tides and currents and learned how to navigate hazardous sections of the Penobscot by watching for landmarks — in a time before GPS and electronics made the task less perilous. He graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1945. He later founded the Penobscot Bay and River Pilot’s Association and was one of the first members of the Marine Pilots Commission. Capt. Abbot said himself, “Your true pilot cares nothing about anything on earth but the river, and his pride in his work surpasses the pride of kings.”

Capt. Abbott was an avid collector of photographs; PMM’s new exhibit, “Up River: Selections from the Captain Bill Abbott Collection” picks out some highlights from this archive. When Capt. Abbott passed away in 2014, he left Penobscot Marine Museum his treasured collection, where it is being digitized and preserved.

“Up River: Selections from the Captain Bill Abbot Collection” was generously funded by lead donor Wayne Hamilton, as well as Mr. and Mrs. E. Vance Bunker, Captain Almer and Linda Dinsmore, Captain David Gelinas, Penobscot Bay & River Pilots Association, Penobscot Bay Tractor Tug Company, Captain Prentice Strong, and Captain Duke Tomlin.

Penobscot Marine Museum brings Maine’s maritime history to life on a campus of beautiful historic buildings in the charming seacoast village of Searsport. Exhibits throughout the campus tell unique stories of ship captains and their families, the industries of Penobscot Bay, global maritime trade, and today’s fisheries. In addition to exhibits, Penobscot Marine Museum has more than 300,000 historic photographs, an extensive collection of maritime artifacts and archives, and a maritime history research library. Visit to learn more.