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Current and Upcoming Exhibits at the Abbe Museum

Abbe : Exhibits : Current and Upcoming Exhibits


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Coming Home

February 5 through December 19, 2015


Coming HomeFrom baskets to beadwork, woodcarvings to birchbarkcanoes, tools or artwork, objects are an important expression of Wabanaki culture. Since the arrival of the first European explorers more than 400 years ago, objects made and used by the Wabanaki have made their way into museums around the world. Coming Home features an exciting and beautiful array of material culture, selected and interpreted by Wabanaki community curators. This exhibit shares cultural and traditional knowledge, revealing a greater depth of information about the Wabanaki objects, and provides a unique opportunity to see these pieces back in the Wabanaki homeland. Learn more >



2015 Waponahki Student Art Show

May through October, 2015

A collaboration of Maine Indian Education and the Abbe Museum.


2015 Waponahki Student ArtThe Waponahki Student Art Show brings together a wonderful variety of art created by Passamaquoddy and Penobscot students from early childhood education through high school. Using a wide array of media, these young artists incorporate traditional beliefs and values with the modern, multi-cultural world around them.


Special thanks to K.A. McDonald Custom Picture Framing, Bar Harbor and The Craft Barn, Ellsworth.



The Greatest Mountain

May through December 2015

A vision by Penobscot artist and historian James Francis


This tribute to Mount Katahdin, through Penobscot histories and accounts of non-Native travelers and writers, uses images, music, stories, and the Penobscot language to bring this sacred mountain to life. Francis used a CNC machine to cut the layers to build the model of Katahdin, which translates from Penobscot to English as “Greatest Mountain.” Images move and flicker across it, a compilation of  time lapse photographs taken by Francis at night back in November 2014. Along with these time-lapse photographs, there is a song composed by Francis, various other video and still imagery, and spoken word pieces of Penobscot people sharing stories.



Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos II: Star Stories of the Dawnland 

September 10, 2015 through 2016

In affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution


The Abbe Museum partnered with schools in the Wabanaki communities to give students the opportunity to research, learn about, and photograph the cosmos using telescopes owned and maintained by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The resulting exhibit, Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos II: Star Stories of the Dawnland, features photos taken by children in the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Penobscot, and Micmac communities in Maine. The exhibit opens in September to coincide with the Acadia Night Sky Festival


Kluskap of the Wabanaki

November 5 through December 19, 2015


According to Wabanaki oral histories, Kluskap–or Koluskap, Gluskap, Glooskap, and Gluskabe–made the world habitable for human beings and taught people to live wisely. Kluskap stories have been told and retold over many generations, and these legends have always been known to teach lessons of values, and the characteristics of the animals and Mother Earth. Kluskap was a positive force with all Wabanaki tribes, and people from all the communities have written and illustrated many versions of the Kluskap legends. Through original paintings by Maliseet artist Dozay, Kluskap of the Wabanaki illustrates the various legends of Kluskap and his adventures across the Wabanaki homeland, using landmarks that tell his story. This is Dozay's first show in the U.S.



Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketry



Waponahki Student ArtFour Directions of Wabanaki Basketry, located in our unique Circle of the Four Directions, offers a place of quiet reflection for visitors to the Museum. The exhibit features a basket from each of the Wabanaki tribal communities: the eastern basket made by a Maliseet child, the southern baskets made by Passamaquoddy women, the western basket made by a Penobscot man, and the northern basket by a Micmac elder. Visitors will also hear the creation story of Koluskap and the Ash Tree in the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy/Maliseet, and Micmac languages.


Made possible through the generosity of John and Ruth Overton.



St. Sauveur: A Meeting of Nations

Opening May 23, 2013 at the Abbe at Sieur de Monts Spring


In 1613, a small group of French Jesuits, sailors and settlers arrived at Mount Desert Island, looking for a place to establish a mission and build trade relations with the Wabanaki.  At the urging of Wabanaki leader Asticou, the group chose a spot somewhere around Frenchman Bay to establish their new outpost.  Less than three months later, the fledgling settlement was destroyed by English colonists from further south. Echoes of these encounters continue to resound today, in Wabanaki communities, in shaping Maine history Illustration by Francis Back, courtesy US NPS/St Croix Island International Historic Siteand identity, and in our understanding of international relations.

The first European residents of Frenchman Bay came and went in a very short time. But this episode is part of a much larger story of Wabanaki-French-English interactions in eastern Maine from 1500 until 1762, when English settlers finally established a permanent settlement on Mount Desert Island. The exhibit brings together current Wabanaki perspectives and historic documents to present multiple perspectives on history, and investigates the debate among historians and archaeologists about where the St. Sauveur Mission was actually located. Hands-on, interactive activities for children and families accompany the exhibit.


Learn more about St. Sauveur >

Test your Thanksgiving knowledge >



Layers of Time: Archaeology at the Abbe Museum


Taft Whale SkullHow did people live in the past?

What can we know about their lives and history from the archaeological record?


This exhibit follows archaeological research conducted by the Abbe Museum starting in 1928, and considers how excavations at various sites have tried to answer these questions. Through a combination of artifacts, images and text, you can explore the questions that were asked and what we have learned during eight decades of archaeological investigations. Layers of Time also features a variety of hands-on, interactive activities for children and families, letting visitors step into the role of the archaeologist to ask and answer intriguing questions.




Dr. Abbe's Museum


Various ArtifactsVisit the original Abbe Museum, built as a trailside museum in 1928.The exhibits focus on the archaeology of Maine and are reminiscent of the way the museum would have looked when it originally opened. See how bone and stone tools and pottery were made, explore artifacts from the museum's early collections, and find examples of artifacts from many towns around eastern Maine.


An introductory exhibit gives you a brief history of the Abbe Museum, and is complimented by a giant map of Mount Desert Island and the surrounding area, made by museum founder Robert Abbe. A visitor favorite, four dioramas depict life on Mount Desert Island before the arrival of Europeans.


The Abbe at Sieur de Monts Spring is open daily 10-5 from late May through early October.

Dial: (207) 288-3519


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