In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Penobscot Marine Museum

Penobscot Marine Museum Facts

Maine's oldest maritime museum was founded in 1936 by descendants of Searsport sea captains.

The Museum was founded with the aim of preserving the history of the Penobscot Bay region, and with a special emphasis on how the tradition of seafaring affected the lives of those in the area.

The mission of the Penobscot Marine Museum is to preserve, interpret and celebrate the maritime culture of the Penobscot Bay Region and beyond through collections, education, and community engagement.


The Penobscot Marine Museum maintains collections in more than a dozen areas, including regional watercraft, photography, marine art, furniture and domestic furnishings, ship and boat models, navigation instruments, other nautical gear, china trade items, industrial artifacts, scrimshaw, clothing and fabric arts, historic buildings, ships' papers and other business records, and genealogy records.

One of the largest historical photography archives in Maine, the Penobscot Marine Museum’s photography collections contain 100,000 film and glass plates negatives as well as prints, slides, cabinet cards, postcards and daguerreotypes.

The collections range from the vast archives of the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company to intimate family albums.

The first building occupied by the Penobscot Maritime Museum was the Old Town Hall, which was built in 1845. It wasn't long before the Museum's collection outgrew the location, and it has been growing since. The Maritime Museum now encompasses thirteen buildings. Eight of these are on the National Register of Historic Places.