Contemporary Issues Panel: Kci Kikuwosson Skitkomiq: Our Mother, the Earth

Please join us on May 20 at 6:00 PM for a panel discussion featuring Wabanaki tribal members. Wabanaki people are among the very few populations of indigenous peoples that have not been forced off of their traditional homelands. The Wabanaki have had an uninterrupted presence in Maine for over 12,000 years. A representative from each of the five Wabanaki communities will form the panel, providing museum visitors with the unique opportunity to receive first-hand information on the modern issues that Wabanaki people face. As a compliment toTwisted Path III, this panel will focus on issues surrounding sacred spaces, land ownership, land conservation and restoration, and resource management within the four tribes in Maine.

Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, May 20
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
At the Abbe Museum Downtown

Welcome Eli!

The Abbe is thrilled to welcome Eli Mellen to the staff as our new Office and Database Manager. Eli grew up in Washington D.C. and moved to Mount Desert Island to attend the College of the Atlantic, where he received both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Human Ecology. His senior and graduate theses both explored the design of systems that cultivate and encourage connection and communication with a focus on building community. He bring experience working on MDI by way of College of the Atlantic, the Naturalist’s Notebook and A&B Naturals and also works as a freelance designer. Eli was recently named a Treehouse Fellow and presented at TEDx Dirigo as a part of this fellowship.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the Abbe’s team, I love community and sharing. Working at the Abbe, I’ll be able to help share new learning about the Wabanaki community and its culture with the others.”

Eli will be taking over many of Johannah’s former responsibilities along with some of John Brown’s as he shapes this new position and offers his many talents and areas of expertise to the museum. Welcome Eli!

High School Student Completes Independent Study at the Abbe

For the past three weeks, the Abbe welcomed George Stevens Academy junior, Leah Tallent, who completed an independent study at the museum. Leah had expressed interest in conducting her independent study at the museum with the goal of learning more about the behind-the-scenes operation of museums. Over the course of her work here, Leah catalogued 18 boxes of books in our library and assisted the Curator of Education with the development of a new staff training binder. She was invaluable to us and we are sorry to see her go! Leah joined a long line of high school students who have turned to the Abbe as a resource for independent studies. For more information on such opportunities, please contact Curator of Education, Jennifer Pictou, at

2014 Winter Gathering

The fourth annual Winter Gathering was held on February 28 at the Abbe. A number of our Gathering Gala guests, volunteers, sponsors and auction donors joined us for savory treats made by members of the gala committee, as well as an assortment of beautiful smoked seafood donated by Sullivan Harbor Farm. This event is a way for us to thank our generous Gala supporters in the “off-season” and enjoy some one on one conversations in a relaxed atmosphere. Guests also had a chance to enjoy the new exhibit, Twisted Path III and to see the new lighting fixture changes in our Main Gallery that are a result of the Greening the Abbe Initiative, which was launched during our first paddle raise at the 2012 Gala.

The 2014 Gathering Gala will be held on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Please SAVE THE DATE and plan to join us for another fabulous event to support Abbe exhibits, projects and programs.

March Brown Bag Lunch with Gabe Frey

Twisted Path III is the third incarnation in a series of exhibits that feature contemporary Native American art. This year’s exhibit theme, Questions of Balance, focuses on indigenous perspectives on environmental impact and conservation, and invites visitors to consider Native American concerns about the environment through the lens of contemporary art. Gabriel Frey works in many mediums, focusing on painting/drawing and basketry. Known for his superior quality utility baskets, Gabriel strives to create traditional, functional pieces with a decorative, contemporary twist. This program is free and open to the public.

Grandfather (oil on canvas painting) and pack basket by Gabe Frey, both part of Twisted Path III

Twisted Path III: Questions of Balance opening

On Thursday, February 6, the Abbe opened the doors to the new feature exhibit, Twisted Path III: Questions of Balance, and that evening the hallways of the museum were flooded with excitement as guests poured in to celebrate the new exhibit. Several of the artists were in attendance, and partygoers had the opportunity to hear them speak about their artistic works. It was truly an exceptional evening, with remarks given by Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, President and CEO, Rick Hunt, Guest Curator and Twisted Path creator and artists, and Patricia Michaels, fashion designer from the Taos Pueblo and finalist on Project Runway, Season 11. Delicious food graciously prepared by the Abbe’s Culinary Arts Committee capped-off the evening. Thank you to everyone who attended! The new exhibit could not have received a more enthusiastic reception.

This exhibit is made possible thanks to support from the Sharpe Family Foundation/Douglas & Ann Sharpe, an Anonymous Foundation, the Fisher Charitable Foundation, and the Hattie A. & Fred C. Lynam Trust. Corporate sponsorship comes from The First Bank, with additional support from the Maine Arts Commission, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, MPBN, and the Bangor Daily News.

Patricia Michaels visits the Abbe

Last week, the Abbe Museum welcomed Patricia Michaels, fashion designer from Taos Pueblo and finalist on Project Runway, Season 11 to Bar Harbor. Patricia arrived on Wednesday as snow flurried down and instantly set to work installing her pieces for Twisted Path III. Her laughter and stories filled the exhibit hall and it was an honor to watch her work.

On Thursday, Patricia entertained attendees at the first Brown Bag Lunch with the many colorful stories from her life. Patricia and her companion, James, both joined us for the exhibit’s opening, during which she graciously spent a great deal of time in the exhibit with attendees, sharing insight on her four pieces.

We are grateful to both Patricia and James for making the trip all the way to Maine and we hope to welcome them back before too long! In the meanwhile, come see Patricia’s designs in the exhibit and peruse her scarves and other items in the Abbe Museum Shop.

Keep up with the Abbe's Collections

The Abbe Museum’s collections comprise more than 50,000 objects representing 10,000 years of Native American culture and history in Maine, including the present. And additions are made each year, under the expert supervision of Curator of Collections, Julia Clark. Each new piece in collections is photographed and shared on our Flickr page; a wonderful way to keep up with new acquisitions. These acquisitions are made possible through two funds, the Diane Kopec fund and the Friends of the Collection Fund. If you’d like to make a gift to one of these funds, please contact Director of Development, Hannah Whalen at or by calling 207-288-3519.

A few recent collections additions:

Basket by Theresa Secord, Penobscot

“One Drawing a Day for One Month,” desk calendar, James Eric Francis, Sr., Penobscot, November 2013

“One Drawing a Day for One Month,” desk calendar, James Eric Francis, Sr., Penobscot, November 2013

Corn basket by George Neptune, Passamaquoddy, 2013. Brown ash and sweetgrass

February Vacation Programming

February vacation is next week, and the Abbe invites you to come on down to the museum for a couple of programs specially designed for children by Museum Educator, George Neptune. All programs and museum admission are free and open to all! Please note that registration is required for the Wampum Belt workshop. See details below.

Tuesday, February 18, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Winter in the Dawnland: Wabanaki Stories and Craft Activity

In Wabanaki culture, the winter season was traditionally a time of quiet introspection and, most importantly, a time to share traditional stories. In this new program series designed for children, each month will feature a different traditional story from the Wabanaki tribes and a craft activity that relates to the story. This month, hear stories about Polawec and his magical wikuwam, the girl with the Invisible Husband, and the Pine Marten’s magical birchbark dish—then, make your own imitation birchbark basket or peaked cap to decorate and take home with you!

Wednesday, February 19, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Wampum of the Wabanaki: Children’s Wampum Belt workshop

In this workshop, designed for families, learn some of the ways the Wabanaki used wampum, or the polished shell of a quahog clam. Wampum belts were used to keep records—is there something in your life that you would like to commemorate? After learning about traditional Wabanaki wampum belts, design your own belt to be woven out of imitation shell beads to symbolize a life event that has significant meaning for you and your family.

Free and open to the public. Registration required, contact George at or call (207)288-3519.