Inspiring new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit
In recent years, the Abbe has grown from a small trailside museum, privately operated within Acadia National Park, to an exciting contemporary museum in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor. In 2013, the Museum became the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine.
At the Abbe's downtown museum, visitors find dynamic and stimulating exhibitions and activities interspersed with spaces for quiet reflection. The history and cultures of Maine's Native people, the Wabanaki, are showcased through changing exhibitions, special events, teacher workshops, archaeology field schools and craft workshops for children and adults.
From spring through fall, the Abbe's historic trailside museum at Sieur de Monts Spring continues to offer visitors a step back in time to early 20th century presentations of Native American archaeology in Maine.
Sieur de Monts Spring
The Abbe Museum was founded in 1926 and first opened to the public in 1928. The museum is named for its founder, Dr. Robert Abbe (1851-1928), an eminent New York physician known for his pioneering use of radiation therapy. A beloved summer resident of Bar Harbor, during the 1920s Dr. Abbe assembled a collection of early Native American artifacts found in the Frenchman Bay area.
People of the First Light
People of the First Light, the Abbe Museum's new core exhibit, introduces visitors to the Wabanaki universe, engaging them with the culture and history of a people that is unfamiliar to many. Bringing together oral traditions, personal stories, cultural knowledge, language, and historical accounts with objects, photographs, multi-media, and digital interactives, People of the First Light shares a wide variety of content and perspectives around more than 12,000 years of history, conflict, adaptation, and survival in the Wabanaki homeland. Read more ›
The Abbe Museum will reflect and realize the values of decolonization in all of its practices, working with the Wabanaki Nations to share their stories, history, and culture with a broader audience. This strategic plan will guide the next phase of the Museum’s growth and development, from its adoption in 2015, through the next five to seven years. Read more ›