Having launched its first ship over 400 years ago, and still home to the Bath Iron Works shipbuilders, the city of Bath is proud of its maritime history. The Maine Maritime Museum celebrates this long heritage, with 25 acres of historic waterfront featuring original 19th century shipyards and exhibits. Named one of the "Best Small Cities in America," Bath offers visitors the opportunity to wander down treelined streets, along the Kennebec River and past beautifully restored 19th century homes.
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4.5 based on 532 reviews
Maine Maritime Museum is located on a beautiful 20-acre campus on the banks of the Kennebec River in historic Bath, Maine. Indoors, visitors enjoy air-conditioned galleries with exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages. Outdoors, visitors can join a guided tour or stroll through the historic Percy & Small shipyard and see how many of the world's largest wooden sailing ships were built, learn about lobstering in the Maine, enjoy lunch under the towering sculpture of the schooner Wyoming (the largest wooden sailing vessel built in North America), watch wooden boats being built in the Boatshop, or play on a pirate ship. May through October, visitors can get an up-close view of the area's lighthouses and spectacular scenery on daily cruises, learn the story of Bath Iron Works from shipyard insiders, and tour the Victorian-era home of the Donnell shipbuilding family. Open year round.
The Maine Maritime Museum was about a 10-minute drive from the Days Inn in Brunswick where I stayed.
On my Saturday morning visit, the museum had several visitors but was not crowded.
This museum had grown considerably since my last visit in the early 2000’s. Even the cruise boat used in the boating seasons is bigger. The quality of the exhibits was excellent.
I watched the two videos first. Both were tied into two main parts of the museum. The first was “Percy & Small Shipyard” which told the story of the huge six-masted schooners built there. The second was “Keeper” which related to the “Into the Lantern: A Lighthouse Experience” exhibit. I thought that both were very well done.
Then, I went through all the indoor exhibits. The outdoor exhibits and buildings were closed due to weather conditions.
A Maritime History of Maine
This permanent exhibit was the center of the museum. It summarized Maine’s maritime history with respect to all aspects of life along Maine’s coast ~ from wooden and steel shipbuilding, trade, and war to commercial and recreational fishing as well as travel. Maine’s maritime history spans 400 years.
A Shipyard in Maine: Percy & Small and the Great Schooners
This permanent outdoor exhibit was closed due to winter weather conditions, but a lot could be seen from inside the museum and from the parking lot. The video refreshed my memory on that exhibit.
The Percy & Small Shipyard is the only intact shipyard in the country which built large wooden sailing vessels with four, five, and six masts. Giant six-masted schooners were built here. Its largest ship, the Wyoming, is represented in frame form on the grounds. It was the largest wooden vessel built in the United States. The exhibit covers the period from 1894 to 1920.
Distant Lands of Palm and Spice: Maine Ships and Mariners in Deepwater Commerce
This permanent exhibit showed Bath’s participation in trade to and from distant lands as well as Bath’s influence on domestic and international commerce in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I particularly liked this exhibit for the many models and oil paintings of commercial ships from that era.
Into the Lantern: A Lighthouse Experience
This new permanent exhibit is what brought me to revisit the museum. The exhibit had been viewed and favorably reviewed by two members of the American Lighthouse Foundation ~ historian Jeremy D’Entremont and Director Bob Trapani. Quotes from their reviews were posted on the museum’s website on the page for the exhibit.
Here, the museum duplicated the tower and lantern room of the Cape Elizabeth Two Lights lighthouse. It was a great experience to see the original second-order Fresnel lens from the east tower at Two Lights. Also, through projected video, I experienced the panoramic views of the Gulf of Maine as seen from the lantern room.
This was a unique exhibit. I thought that it alone was worth the price of admission.
Pull Together: Maritime Maine in the 1914-1918 Great War
This current exhibit chronicled the shipbuilding in the City of Bath that contributed to the national effort during WW I. There were several sections in the exhibit. The museum was fortunate enough to have a painting of the USS Allen (DD-65), one of the US Navy ships built in Bath. It was a Sampson class destroyer.
Shipshape: Decoration and Advertising in the Merchant Fleet
This current exhibit illustrated the importance of a commercial merchant ship’s appearance was to differentiate one shipping company’s ships from another’s by using flags, distinctive carvings, and paint color combinations.
The gift shop had a wide variety of merchandise from magnets with six-masted ships to clothing and collectibles.
I spent almost 3 hours here.
I rate Maritime Maine Museum at 5.0. I highly recommend a visit.
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5 based on 30 reviews
An island off of the mouth of the Kennebec River, Seguin has the tallest lighthouse in Maine which is also one of the oldest in the United States.
What a beautiful and tranquil place to visit! The seagulls fly overhead; the lighthouse looms in the distance, ready to be explored and the North and South paths along the island are inviting for a quick stroll.
4.5 based on 22 reviews
American history from 1607(not Jamestown. Excelent depiction of Popham colony and their ship "Virginia" in Phippsburg Maine. Opportunity to view the reconstruction of a colonial boat, the first English boat built on the American continents, a work in progress with an all volunteer force. Excellent performance by dosages. Very informative and extremely friendly and helpful
4.5 based on 26 reviews
This is a wonderful introduction for the "newbie" in the area. The personnel is very attentive and helpful. The area is unique and the city of Bath should be explored!
4.5 based on 34 reviews
A converted church where cultural events are held year-round.
We were in Bath looking for a place to eat lunch and I saw this on my Yelp app. I was intrigued by the name, so we looked for it. The church is exactly the color of milk chocolate, which is how I presume it got its name. The architecture is really interesting, so I got out and took pictures of the outside. We didn't go into the building, but it is used for the arts of some kind.
4.5 based on 11 reviews
Took our grand dog there. The park has a walking path, two big wooden benches, a large mowed grassy area and access to the water. Dogs can climb down some rocks and take a dip. There are dispensers with poopy bags as it is required to immediately pick up after your pooch. For the most part, dog owners seem pretty respectful of this rule. We have visited a few times and both the dogs and owners have all been very nice.
5 based on 3 reviews
Green Lion Gallery is a working woodcut studio and exhibition space specializing in handmade prints from artists from Maine and across the U.S. Woodcut prints are an affordable way to bring limited-edition fine art into your home, and make great gifts and souvenirs. Stop by to see our changing selection of artwork, and learn more about the printmaking process at one of our live demonstrations.
Small gallery located above the Bath Sweet Shoppe (take the staircase on the left), specializing in handmade prints (woodcuts, wood engravings, lithographs, etc...). Lots of affordable small pieces! Lots of Art from Maine / New England.
5 based on 2 reviews
A nature reserve noted to be a great walking area for dogs and a popular swimming beach for the locals.
Located just across the Kennebec from Bath, Sewall Pond is actually in the quiet community of Arrowsic. With access from both Route 127 and from Old Stage Road, the pond about 5 miles from the Sagadahoc Bridge. Limited but usually adequate off road parking at both access points.
3.5 based on 3 reviews
A nature reserve owned by Maine Audubon Society, which offers a few miles of well-marked hiking trails.
This delightful and serene 119-acre (48.15-hectare) nature preserve is located south of Bath off ME 127. Limited parking is in a dirt lot. A trail map and an info kiosk are onsite. It's carry-in carry-out here. The preserve’s network of 2.6 miles (4.2 km) is well marked and color-coded. Their surfaces are mostly compact dirt and ledge outcrops. The generally easy trails wind along the rocky shorelines and tidal mudflats of Robinhood Cove. Salt marsh borders the preserve on two sides. Trails traverse meadows, coastal margins, woods, and ridgelines. The easternmost trail has six or so vista points above the shoreline. Shorebirds are often visible feeding at the water’s edge. Birdsong is everywhere! The mixed-wood coastal forest has oak, pine, spruce, hemlock, and various flowering trees. Among the preserve’s highlights on my late afternoon photo walk were the still-brown salt marshes and the just-emerging flowers and plants near an old beaver pond and a brook. Be sure to bring a camera and you’ll enjoy this place as much as I did!
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