We know that those who are attracted to MDI are inherently an intelligent group–after all, they are smart enough to come to this beautiful island. Here we want to help stimulate that intellect by offering you the top five museums on this island. Yes MDI has wonderful views, great shopping, and terrific food–but is also has first-rate museums. Here are the top five.

Abbe Museum

Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park (two locations)

The Abbe Museum showcases the histories and cultures of the Wabanaki, the Native people of Maine who include the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations. It is proudly a decolonizing museum, meaning that it works closely with, and gets approval from, The Wabanaki Confederacy. The museum features vibrant exhibitions, special events, workshops, archaeology field schools, and more. It has a beautiful gift shop with handmade items from Wabanaki and other Native artists and artisans.
For More Information: https://www.abbemuseum.org/

Seal Cove Auto Museum


In the heart of lobster country, we have a world-class car collection. The Seal Cove Auto Museum has over 50 cars from the Brass Era, named for the brass fittings common on the very first cars (which were referred to as horseless carriages at the time). They have a nice research library for those wanting to delve deeper into automobile history. In addition to their mainstay collection, they have major rotating exhibits. For instance, next year they will showcase Engines of Change: A Suffrage Centennial which highlights the role of the automobile in women’s suffrage.
For More Information: https://www.sealcoveautomuseum.org/
For Virtual Tours of the Cars: https://www.sealcoveautomuseum.org/virtual-tours/

The Dorr Museum

Bar Harbor

The George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History is proud to provide an interactive experience where visitors can use all five senses to learn about Maine wildlife, which is a great way to keep children engaged and makes the museum a very family-friendly place. They offer a variety of programs such as tours, Nature Walks, and Scavenger Hunts. The tide pool tank that houses live marine creatures is very popular. The museum partners with College of the Atlantic and uses its human ecology approach to demonstrate the connection between natural, social, and built environments.
For More Information: https://www.facebook.com/dorrmuseum/

The Wendell Gilley Museum

Southwest Harbor

You may not recognize the name Wendell Gilley–unless you are knowledgeable in the world of carving, where he is a household name. A Southwest Harbor native, in the early 1930s Gilley began his transition from master plumber to master carver and over the next half of a century he carved tens of thousands of decorative birds. The museum started with a modest collection of 100 of his most precious creations his wife kept over the years. More people have since donated pieces to help create the beautiful collection you see at The Wendell Gilley Museum today.
For More Information: https://www.wendellgilleymuseum.org/

Great Harbor Maritime Museum

Northeast Harbor

The Great Harbor Maritime Museum is in a beautiful building on Main Street that used to be the town’s fire station. Now it houses this museum which features a wonderful array of rotating exhibits–anything from steamship transportation on Mt. Desert Island to model boat exhibitions. The museum also hosts events ranging from model boat regattas to lectures from notable boat builders and other prominent guests. The museum serves to teach the great maritime history of the region and honor the tradition that continues to this day.
For More Information: http://greatharbor.mainememory.net/page/2809/display.html

These great museums are not simply for rainy days when you can’t get out onto the trails or on the ponds… but also any day you want to learn something while having fun. Stimulate your intellect!

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