Celebrating 10 Years Downtown Continues this April as we celebrate Community!

Astra Haldeman, Manager of Museum Services

Throughout April the Abbe Museum has focused on community, and we’d like to thank all of you who are a special part of that community. As you’ve read in the articles above, the Abbe Museum has been very busy. I want to take a moment to celebrate and highlight some of the community-orientated activities the Abbe has been able to provide over the past month.

On April 9th, David Moses Bridges hosted a birch bark workshop for children in which he taught children aged 6-12 how to etch birch bark using traditional Passamaquoddy designs, while sharing traditional Passamaquoddy stories and talking about the Passamaquoddy language. The work shop was a huge success and was attended by 58 children! Thank you to David for sharing such a wonderful experience with these young learners.

For the past three months Raney Bench, Curator of Education has been hosting a brown bag lunch series. The series of discussions complements the Abbe’s groundbreaking exhibit, Headline News: Wabanaki Sovereignty in the 21st Century which will be on exhibit for about another month—so make sure to check it out if you haven’t done so already. Afterward, it will be available as an online exhibit. The brown bag lunch series provided a casual opportunity to discuss sovereignty in relation to the eight themes presented in Headline News: language, identity, hunting and fishing rights, gaming, environmental management, the emerald ash borer beetle, veterans, and international borders. The series has been a great success, with many interested participants at each lunch. For any one who has missed the first three lectures in the series, I encourage you to attend the concluding presentation this Thursday evening, April 21st from 7:00-9:00 for a PowerPoint and discussion of Federal Indian Policy in which Raney will summarize several key treaties, acts of congress, court cases, and federal laws that define Indian policy today.

Other community events hosted this past month included the popular March on Mt. Desert Community Progressive Dinner, attended by over 100 members of the MDI community, and the popular teacher workshops that Raney Bench has led throughout this winter. We have also welcomed a number of school groups, and it is wonderful to give those children the opportunity to learn at the Abbe Museum. And later this month you can find Raney Bench, Curator of Education, and Zach Whalen, COA Intern, guiding fun and interactive activities as part of Jr. Ranger Day.

On April 21st, the 2011 Waponahki Student Art Show will open in the Abbe Museum’s Community Gallery. The annual Waponahki Student Art Show is a collaboration between Maine Indian Education and the Abbe Museum to celebrate the exceptional talent of the young artists growing up in the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy communities of Indian Island, Pleasant Point, and Indian Township. A huge thank you goes to K.A. McDonald Picture Framing in Bar Harbor for donating the framing of these lovely artworks, which will return home with the young artists after delighting visitors for the next few months.

Next month and throughout the summer there are a number of exciting events coming up—please visit our calendar for the complete and ever-growing list. Coming up in May is the Maine Archaeological Society Spring Meeting. The meeting is free and open to the public and all are encouraged to attend the lectures. For all those of you interested in archaeology, here is the schedule for the meeting:

10:00-11:00 Coffee and Displays, Galleries & Museum Shop open

11:00 The Archaeology of Northern Norway and the Multi-room House Project

Colin Amundsen, Independent Researcher in archaeology & zooarchaeology

11:30 Cultural Heritage Resources in Acadia National Park,

Rebecca Cole-Will, Cultural Resources Program Manager, ANP

noon-1:00 Lunch Break, Galleries & Museum Shop open

1:15 MAS business announcements

1:30 Recent Archaeology at the Abbe Museum

Julia Clark, Curator of Collections, Abbe Museum

Also in May is a fancy basket workshop led by Sarah Sockbeson. Make sure you reserve a spot soon if you are interested in attending.

Throughout May we will be focusing on the Abbe Collections as part of our celebration of 10 Years Downtown, and so we’ll be giving away a free copy of Handicrafts of the Modern Indians of Maine by Fanny Hardy Eckstrom with every purchase of $50 or more. If you’d like to revisit our monthly themes for 2011, you can find them right here.

We hope you enjoy a lovely spring, and we look forward to seeing you soon at the Abbe Museum!

Image 1: A selection of Abbe Museum Logo Items. All merchandise sporting the Abbe Museum logo is 25% OFF throughout April.