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Ogunquit Museum of American Art

8 Best Museums to Explore When in Maine (2024)

Museums are the soul of any city or State, serving society with art, craft, research, science, technology, heritage, and whatnot. Similar is with the museums of Maine that play the primary role of unfolding how was and is the State on different grounds of society. A visit to Maine Museums will make you smarter, allow you to learn much astounding information, and connect you to different aspects of life. Museums here aren’t just a physical community but a mode of inspiration that works as a socially connecting network. From bringing changes into society to keeping history intact, Maine Museums contribute to a range of different factors.

No matter where you are in Maine, there is always a museum close to you. From a small museum collection in one of Maine’s Lighthouses to housing the Best Art Museum of North America, this State has an essence of literally everything. Museum hopping is a richly rewarding activity in Maine. Especially during harsh winters when the outdoors become a little too overwhelming, it is museums that provide both comfort and warmth. Wondering where you can be?

8 Best Museums to Explore When in Maine

Well, here is the list of the Most Popular Museums in Maine that you would definitely like to visit. And since these are also the best ones, look no further.

1. Maine Maritime Museum

Maine Maritime Museum is the most-visited museum in Maine dedicated to art, culture, and the State’s rich heritage. Located in the city of Bath, the museum features a beautiful 20-acre campus on the banks of the Kennebec River. Featuring both indoor and outdoor fun, the museum has literally so much to engage within. The museum at indoor is housing several ship models, historic shipbuilding artifacts, old equipment, and an array of artwork. Their collection is so huge that the artworks are often on rotation, and for every next visit, people find something new, interesting, and engaging. Simultaneously on the outdoors, the museum offers a choice of boat tours that take individuals for an up-close view of the Bath Iron Works. There even are trolley tours of the Iron Works just in case boating doesn’t excite or comforts you. Maine Maritime Museum has so much to offer that even two days at a stretch aren’t sometimes enough.

2. Ogunquit Museum of American Art

Ogunquit is a small and seasonal museum in Maine that every Art lover must explore at least once. The Ogunquit museum is devoted entirely to American art and has the most amazing collection right on the water, surrounded by stunning natural beauty. As you will walk inside, the museum will unfold one of the largest collections of ceramic sculptures by Carl Walters, sculpture by Isabella Howland, oils by Henry Strater, and watercolors by Eliot O’Hara. The museum building covers 7,500 square feet and features a large glass wall facing the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Being seasonal, it operates from May through October, 10 am to 5 pm, for a minimal admission fee. Not only the indoors but Ogunquit Museum’s outdoors too are excellent to explore. When here, take a stroll through the beautiful grounds. Here you will come across a splendid sculpture garden, a lily pond reflecting pool, seaside gardens, and some excellent natural views around.

Ogunquit Museum of American Art

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3. Portland Museum of Art

A haven for art and architecture enthusiasts, the Portland Museum of Art is a must-visit tourist attraction in Maine. It is also the largest and oldest public art institution in Maine, USA. Operating since 1892, the museum is housed in McLellan House in downtown Portland. Its world-class collection features over 15000 pieces housed in different exhibits inside three separate buildings. From housing pieces of local artists to preserving and presenting artistic history, the Portland Museum of Art does it all, literally. While exploring the galleries, visitors will come across art pieces from foreign masters such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-August Renoir, as well as American artists including Homer and Frederic Edwin Church. Besides art and architecture, the museum facility is also home to an extensive museum shop, an in-house movie theatre, and a beautiful café. For an unparallel art experience, a visit here is a must.

4. Maine State Museum

If a facility deserves the tag of Best Museum in Maine, it definitely has to be the Maine State Museum in Augusta. This official government museum is right adjacent to the Maine State House and focuses on Maine’s pre-history, history, and natural science. The collection here exhibits 12,000-plus years of history ranging from paleo-Indians to the first European explorers, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and other works of the century. The museum has everything from the State’s geological to art history, factories, ships, farms, and every single aspect that has once been a part of Maine’s history. The exhibitions here also extend towards birds and plants in different ecosystems, gems, minerals, forestry, granite, fishing, etc. No matter what your interests are, you will find something eeeeeeeee for yourself here. Besides the museum, the facility also holds a working three-story water-powered woodworking mill along with a craftsman’s working area. The best part about Maine State Museum is that it operates year-round and for a minimal admission fee.

5. Northern Maine Museum Of Science

Maine is known for its diversity of museums, and the Northern Maine Museum Of Science is one fine example of the same. The museum is nestled inside the University of Maine in Presque Isle and is quite a must-visit tourist attraction. Operating since the early 1970s, it holds a significant number of science pieces. The museum displays a range of artifacts relating to biology, mathematics, physical science, astronomy, chemistry, geology, forestry, and agriculture. The museum occupies three floors, and exploring them all takes a good two to three hours. No matter what area of science excites you, the Northern Maine Museum Of Science will unfold every aspect of the same for you. Exploring the museum is free for all, and the entire facility works on volunteering and donations solely. One can visit the museum during day hours, Tuesday through Saturday.

6. Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Art Museums in Maine know no end, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art is another fine example of the same. The museum may be small in comparison, but the collection here makes every visit absolutely worth it. Bowdoin is one of the oldest university galleries in North America and is home to over 20,000 paintings, sculptures, and artifacts on display. The pieces of display range from the Colonial era to the present time. It has everything, including Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman pieces, portraits of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, along with artwork by several famous local and international artists. The collection of Chinese, Indian, and other Asian arts is definitely to be seen. Bowdoin College Museum of Art is free for public visit and is a year-round attraction. It operates throughout the week except on Mondays, Regional, and National Holidays.

7. Bernard Langlais Art Trail

Less of an indoor and more of an open-air museum, the Bernard Langlais Art Trail is a gem of Maine. The art trail is dedicated to mapping the spirited art of Bernard Langlais, who gifted a trove of artworks to the State of Maine. The trail covers more than 55 institutes all across the State, covering vast distribution of Langlais art. It links different facilities, including museums, libraries, schools, town halls, visitor centers, community centers, and other such stops. The art trail stretches between Rockland to Skowhegan and Portland to Presque Isle and is quite an enjoyable journey to be a part of. A few stops that come on the route include Bates College Museum of Art, China Town Office, Cushing Public Library, Portland Museum of Art, Tides Institute and Museum of Art, Lincoln Threate, and more such unknown and notable names. For an art connoisseur, exploring this delectable trail is undoubtedly a must.

8. The Tides Institute & Museum of Art

Last but not least on our list is the Tides Institute & Museum of Art in Eastport, Maine. Eastport, though, is a tiny town, and the museum is quite a big one to explore. Tides Institute is nestled directly on the U.S./Canada border between New England and the Atlantic Provinces. Unless one is coming from Canada or one of Maine’s most easterly points, visiting the Tides Museum of Art is way out of scope and would require quite a lot of traveling. Though even if you trouble for the same, the visit inside will surely make it worth it. The museum is home to a huge collection of 4,500 art pieces. The collection focuses on Native American basketry, Architectural drawings, Maine and Canadian maritime art, along with several pieces of documentation. The museum keeps on rotating its collection, so each time you visit, there will be something new and exciting on display.

NOTE: Due to harsh winters, several Maine Museums are seasonal. Most of them operate no longer than from May through October. Therefore, while planning to visit one, make sure you check its operational season and operating hours both.

Also, many Museums in Maine lack an elevator, and one has to climb floors by going through stairs. Therefore, while on a museum trip in Maine, make sure you wear comfortable shoes.

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