5 Must-See Museums In Maine

Though most visitors are familiar with Maine's natural beauty, they might not realize just how many wonderful cultural experiences there are throughout the state. Thankfully, the historical and artistic legacy of Maine is being preserved through a wealth of hard-working institutions. These museums work to educate the public about the past, display stunning works of art, and inspire kids to learn, all with a special focus on what makes Maine unique. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Magnificent Maine Museums

Name Location Features
Monhegan Museum of Art & History Monhegan Lighthouse, James Fitzgerald House & Studio, art from residents and visitors of the island, and online exhibitions
Center for Maine Contemporary Art Rockland Themed exhibitions, events, ArtLab educational programs, and 26 Split Rock Cove retreat for artists
Woodlawn Museum, Gardens, & Park Ellsworth Preserved historic estate, community garden, croquet court, trails, workshops & lectures, afternoon high tea service, and the Woodlawn Teachers Institute
Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine Portland Hands-on activities for visitors of all ages, youth theater productions, and offerings for schools and scout troops
Ogunquit Museum of American Art Ogunquit Preserves and showcases artwork from American creators, including a sculpture garden, and hosts dance performances, public readings, lectures, and other events

A Week at Woodlawn

Maine Statistical Snapshot

The Sculpture Garden at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

Notable People from Maine

In Depth

Full of quaint coastal towns, culture-packed cities, and natural beauty, Maine is called "Vacationland" for a reason. Whether you're planning a trip there or live in the state year-round, consider checking out these five fascinating museums, listed here in no particular order. History buffs, art lovers, and curious minds of all ages are sure to find something that catches their interest.

First up, at #1, we have Monhegan Museum of Art & History. The buildings that the museum is housed in were built in 1822 and originally served as a lighthouse and lodging for the keeper. Today, these historic structures contain a collection of works done by artists who have visited the island over the years. Those who can't visit in person can check out online exhibitions featuring a combination of photographs, text, and maps.

The home and studio of artist James E. Fitzgerald, built by Rockwell Kent during the early 1900s, were bequeathed to the museum in 2004. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these buildings are open to the public during the summer. Tours of the light tower are also available, allowing visitors to get an intimate look at a structure that has been keeping sailors safe for more than one hundred years. To support the museum and bring something beautiful into your home, consider buying something from its online shop.

To support the museum and bring something beautiful into your home, consider buying something from its online shop.

Coming in at #2 is the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Located in downtown Rockland, the organization is dedicated to engaging with creators and audiences, and supporting, exhibiting, and sustaining art and artists with ties to Maine. Those who want to see what creators in the state have to offer can search the CMCA Artist Directory and find talented painters, photographers, sculptors, and more. Through the blog Open Studio, people can learn about the working process and see where the creativity happens.

Regular events include Sunday Salon, where artists featured in the museum discuss their work, and ArtLab for All Ages, classes and workshops that are free and open to anyone who's interested in attending. The ArtLab program also runs after school classes, summer art camps, and school workshops for elementary to college level students. If you want to donate to these and other efforts, you can become a member online.

Next up, at #3, is Woodlawn, which offers the people of Hancock County and beyond opportunities for recreation and education on a preserved historic estate. The main house was built in the 1820s and contains all of its original furnishings and collections. The home was first occupied by Colonel John Black, and it remained in the family for three generations before it was converted into a museum. Items like glassware, portraits, and books reflect what life was like for the Black family from 1802 to 1928.

The main house was built in the 1820s and contains all of its original furnishings and collections.

Woodlawn Community Garden provides individual plots for local gardeners who want to raise food for themselves and others. Rather than charge a fee, the program simply requires that participants join in semi-annual work parties and donate any vegetables they don't need. The grounds also feature wooded trails, large fields, and a croquet court. To help Woodlawn continue to host events and programs for the community, you can sign up to become a volunteer.

For #4, we have the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine. The organization focuses on four key areas: performing and visual arts, early childhood education, community engagement, and STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. At the museum, families can learn and play together by interacting with hands-on exhibits. There are also daily educational activities available for visitors of all ages, as well as special events that focus on specific topics like dinosaurs or oceans.

Children looking for a way to express themselves can participate in fully-staged youth theater productions. Shows are put on by kids for kids, giving performers and audience members alike a chance to experience the magic of theater. The venue is also available for rentals, both for birthday parties for the little ones and events for adults. If you want to make sure these resources are available for those in need, you can contribute to the Suzanne Olson Scholarship Fund, which allows kids from low-income families to get access to the museum.

Shows are put on by kids for kids, giving performers and audience members alike a chance to experience the magic of theater.

Finally, at #5, is the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. Devoted exclusively to the exhibition, preservation, and interpretation of American art, O.M.A.A. showcases both rotating exhibitions and a permanent collection of thousands of works. The grounds also feature a seaside sculpture garden, complete with flower borders, a reflection pool, and secluded benches for quiet contemplation.

Several programs and events are held throughout the year, including lectures, parties, tours, and public readings by notable authors and poets. Visitors who don't know where to start can seek help from docents, who are trained to share stories about the organization's history and guide guests through the works on display. You can support the museum's mission to share the artistic heritage of the area by donating to one of its funds.