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Culture Club

Penobscot Marine Museum introduces 2019 exhibits

May 10, 2019
Courtesy of: Penobscot Marine Museum “Henry Buck of Searsport, Phineas Pendleton, Master. Leaving Venice, 1857.” A watercolor on paper by Giovanni Luzro, circa 1857, from the “Where in the World?” exhibit.

SEARSPORT — On Friday, May 24, from 5 to 7 p.m., Penobscot Marine Museum will host a free opening reception and preview of their “Where in the World?” and “Weather or Knot?” exhibits in its Main Street Gallery at 40 E. Main St. Penobscot Marine Museum opens for the 2019 season on Saturday, May 25.

Through a variety of exhibits and programs in 2019, Penobscot Marine Museum visitors will experience the world on Maine cargo ships, discover how weather impacts sailing and how a sturdy knot keeps sails set in stormy passage, glimpse into the life of Maine lobster women, discover how animal photography isn’t a new phenomenon, explore photographic scenes of ship launches and wrecks, and learn about lofting.

“Where in the World?” features paintings of Maine cargo ships in foreign ports and the navigational charts that guided the way. Captains and owners commissioned paintings of their vessels as a point of pride to ensure a successful voyage. Today, these port paintings provide viewers with a tour of the ports as they looked in the early- to mid-1800s. Navigational charts with hand-written course notations from the Museum’s collections accompany the port paintings, putting the voyages of Maine sea captains into geographical context. “Where in the World?” is sponsored by Diversified Communications with grant support from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust.

“Weather or Knot?” gives visitors a chance to imagine life at sea in calm and stormy seas. They can watch storm clouds slowly gather and waves and wind increase through a collection of paintings chosen to depict the thirteen wind forces of the Beaufort Scale. Visitors will learn the importance of knot tying, the difference between vessels, as well as sail shapes, configurations and rigging. “Weather or Knot?” is sponsored by Diversified Communications with grant support from the Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust.

In “Lobstering Women of Maine,” Belfast artist Susan Tobey White captures Maine’s lobster industry through her brightly colored paintings of lobster women at work. The exhibit showcases the lobster industry, explores Maine’s traditions and heritage, and reveals the strength of women. White appreciates the hard working women in the lobster industry, and was inspired to depict them in her art. She portrays women from the coast and islands of Maine from Ogunquit to Stonington. “Lobstering Women of Maine” is sponsored by Hamilton Marine.

“Animal Tales” uses photographs from the Museum’s extensive photography archives and the intriguing stories behind the images to explore the fascination people have with animals. Since the beginning of photography, people have enjoyed using their lens to forever capture beloved pets, livestock, wildlife, and fishing and hunting successes. The exhibit features a range of photographs from casual snapshots taken by amateur photographers, to carefully conceived photos taken by professional photographers like Kosti Ruohomaa. “Animal Tales” is sponsored by Sally Savage.

“From the Cradle to the Grave: Mining the Ed Coffin Collection” showcases 28 of the more than 2,500 photographs Ed Coffin collected throughout his lifetime. There are many themes to explore in the Coffin collection, but two that stand out as crowd pleasers are ship launches and ship wrecks. The "birth" and "death" of ships have long held the public's fascination. Most of Maine's Midcoast towns have been involved in building boats, ships and schooners. Watching the culmination of a year or more of construction and investment has been a spectacle not to be missed. On the flipside, the wreck of a ship evokes entirely different feelings, but the pull to see the tragic scene and to learn the grim story can be just as strong.

In “Scaling Up: The Canoa da Picada Plan Goes Full-Size,” João Bentes has recreated a workspace to traditionally loft, or scale up from a paper plan to a full size work plan, the “Canoa da Picada,” a Portuguese Sailing Sardine Carrier, in sections. Break the Anchor, a Portuguese nonprofit, is building the “Canoa da Picada” in collaboration with The Apprenticeshop in Rockland. After construction, launch, and sea trials, the vessel will cross the Atlantic through the Azores, landing on Portuguese shores to establish a seamanship and boatbuilding apprentice-based school in Portugal using the vessel as an itinerant workshop.

There will be several special events, speakers and workshops related to the season’s exhibits. On June 22 and 23, Knot Your Ordinary Weekend will feature demonstrations, vendors, speakers and special hands-on activities. Visitors will discover all about knots and their uses in maritime Maine. Attendees of the Where in the World? event on July 20 will enjoy unique activities related to the season’s exhibit, including trivia, a scavenger hunt and speakers. There will be family programming on Wednesdays during the summer that will include crafts, games and special staff-led interactive tours of exhibits. Throughout the season there will be speakers and workshops that will include a wide variety of interests, from how to paint water, to extreme weather in Penobscot Bay and beyond.

Penobscot Marine Museum’s campus of historic buildings houses a variety of exhibits and artifacts including marine art, objects from the China trade, an immense small watercraft collection, historic tools from Maine industries, and an extensive archive of photography and historic records. 2019 exhibits open for the season on May 25 and remain open through October 20. For more information, please visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Christine Dunkle can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 108; or

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