Abbe Museum Receives Grant to Lower Energy Costs

The Abbe Museum recently received a grant from Grants to Green Maine to provide an energy efficiency audit for the Abbe’s historic downtown Bar Harbor location. This grant complements the Museum’s Greening the Abbe Initiative, and the near completion of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded projects that have helped reduce the Abbe's carbon footprint and operating costs.
“The Grants to Green Maine grant will enable the Abbe to complete an energy efficiency audit of our building and provide a report with priorities for energy efficiency improvements,” said Abbe Museum President/CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “Higher heating bills have decreased the amount of money we can put towards our mission of preserving and exhibiting the regional history of the area and it is important to make our building more efficient, which will in turn make our organization more sustainable.”
The Greening the Abbe initiative was launched in 2012 with the over-arching goal to make the Abbe environmentally responsible and sustainable. Thanks to 43 generous donors and a grant from the NEH, funds were contributed to “Green the Abbe Museum” in three phases, and efforts immediately resulted in lowering energy consumption by 20%, saving about $500 per month. Greening initiatives included:

  • Replacement of the system control software that regulates the heating and cooling in the Abbe Museum downtown. 
  • Installed ultraviolet filters in one of the Museum’s galleries, which now allows use of this space for exhibits.
  • The Abbe’s 2013 exhibit, Wabanaki Guides, was built with 80% of materials from a prior exhibit, 10% was repurposed to improve storage organization in the exhibit prep space, and 2% was recycled, leaving only 8% for disposal.
  • High wattage incandescent lighting in the Abbe’s Main Gallery was replaced with efficient LED lighting that not only means substantial electricity savings, but is also safer for the fragile objects on exhibit and provides a better quality of lighting.
  • A shift from printed material to electronic communications with our members and the community wherever possible, to reduce the use of paper.

The Abbe Museum’s downtown Bar Harbor location at 26 Mount Desert Street is an 1893 landmark. In 1997, the Abbe purchased the former YMCA building and renovated and expanded it to create a 17,000-square-foot museum with spacious exhibition galleries, indoor and outdoor program spaces, a research lab, and state-of-the-art collections storage.

Interested in supporting the Greening the Abbe campaign? Contact Heather Anderson, director of advancement at (207) 288-3519 or by email at

About Grants to Green Maine
Grants to Green Maine provides environmentally focused knowledge and funding to strengthen nonprofits located in historic buildings in downtowns in Maine. Grants to Green Maine is a partnership between the Maine Development Foundation’s Maine Downtown Center, Efficiency Maine and the Maine Community Foundation, and is funded by Kendeda Fund of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

About the Abbe Museum
The mission of the Abbe Museum, now Maine’s first Smithsonian Affiliate, is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit. The Abbe has a collection of over 50,000 archaeological, historic and contemporary objects including stone and bone tools, pottery, beadwork, carved root clubs, birch bark canoes, and supporting collections of photographs, maps, and archival documents. It holds the largest and best-documented collection of Maine Native American basketry in any museum. Its collections conservation program is recognized nationally as a model for museums. The Abbe’s two locations - downtown Bar Harbor and at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park - are now open daily from 10 am – 5 pm.