|Eagle's Nest Basket #1 |
by Fred Tomah, Maliseet
What makes the Downtown Abbe Museum special and the experience unique? Here are some thoughts, shared by Abbe Museum staff, about how a second location in downtown Bar Harbor has changed the Abbe experience for the better:
Collections Care has improved dramatically:
One of the big drivers behind plans for a new Abbe Museum facility was the desire to provide improved care for and access to the collections. The downtown Abbe Museum has been largely successful in these two goals. It has also allowed the museum to accept important collections that we would not have had the space for otherwise.
Thousands of school children are served annually:
Due to the size of the building at Sieur de Monts, classes had to take place outside, so there was a limited season in which we could have students. Teachers were told not to come if it was raining. At the "new" Abbe students can visit throughout the year. We have expanded our course offerings to include programs for all grade levels on seven different topics, which all meet state learning requirements. In addition, the new facility has allowed us to host teacher training workshops, bringing teachers together with Wabanaki leaders for direct learning experiences.
Public programming has expanded with the new facility: Demonstrations with Wabanaki artists and musicians take place throughout the summer months downtown, but the facility also allowed the Abbe to expand our program calendar from summers to a full twelve months. We now host brown bag lunch lectures through the middle of winter, a film series in the fall, children's workshops in the early spring and winter, and exhibit openings throughout the year.
These and many other accomplishments are being celebrated this year. The following is an attempt to distill our achievements into a simple Top Ten Countdown:
The Abbe enhances cultural tourism in Maine as a destination experience for the State; we enrich the visitor experience and we contribute to the local economy.
Since 2001, we’ve served over 250,000 people; over 25% of these were schoolchildren.
Exhibit and program space is accessible to all people and we’ve greatly improved the visitor experience.
We can accommodate tour groups year-round and student visits during the school year and we travel to the four corners of the state, delivering educational content in classrooms.
We have instructed over 500 teachers in our workshops, helping them implement LD291 - the Wabanaki Initiative - in the classroom. LD291 celebrates 10 years as state law this year too.
The downtown Abbe offers more space for changing exhibitions and for multiple shows, resulting in over 30 exhibitions.
The Abbe Museum at Sieur de Monts Spring has been preserved as the historic gem that it is and it continues to engage our seasonal visitors.
Our 50,000 piece collection is now stored in a museum-quality environment and we have intellectual control over the collection.
The Abbe gift shop is an economic engine, sending money back into tribal communities and offering a unique shopping experience.
We are now a year-round presence in downtown Bar Harbor, enriching the quality of life for our communities by offering innovative programs, and educational exhibits for all life-long learners.
Thank you for your continued support and generosity, as we celebrate this important milestone.