The Abbe Museum focuses on the history, culture and art of Maine’s Native Americans, the Wabanaki, or “People of the Dawnland.” Through a series of archaeological exhibits, and workshops, demonstrations, and live performances by Native scholars, artists and musicians, the Abbe Museum vividly tells the fascinating story of the four tribes of the Wabanaki, the Micmac, Maliseet, Penobscot, and the Passamaquoddy, who have lived in Maine for thousands of years.
The museum was founded in 1928 by Dr. Robert Abbe to preserve artifacts collected from the Mount Desert Island region, and over the ensuing years, archaeologists from the Abbe Museum have excavated countless sites along the Maine coast. Today, the museum maintains a collection of more than 50,000 objects representing 10,000 years of Native American life in Maine through to the present. Of course, only a small portion of this collection can be displayed at any time.
This amazing collection features stone tools like projectile points, knives, axes, and fishing weights. Bone objects include harpoons, fish hooks, combs and needles. And there are many pieces of ceramics and pottery. There are 17th Century glass trade beads and copper tools, 18th Century quillwork, birch bark, jewelry, and an etched powder horn, and woven baskets of ash and sweetgrass, quill boxes, baskets and decorative beads from the 19thCentury. Contemporary items include woodcarvings, baskets and birch root clubs. Plus there are photographs, maps and archival documents.
The museum hosts lectures and films, crafts and games all year long. Come learn about ash pounding and birch bark canoes, basket weaving and etching, and listen to Native drumming and enjoy other music and storytelling. The museum shop sells authentic Native American baskets, carvings, jewelry and art, books and other gifts items.
The Abbe Museum is found at two locations. The Abbe Museum Downtown is located near the Village Green in Bar Harbor. It is open year-round. The Abbe Museum at Sieur du Monts Spring is located in Acadia National Park in the woods behind the Sieur du Monts Nature Center and Wild Gardens of Acadia. It is open from late May through mid-October. There is an admission fee to both museums. Both are served by the Island Explorer free shuttle bus in season.