At the Abbe Museum Downtown

People of the First Light

Our core exhibit, 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.

Visit the page for People of the First Light here.

wolankeyutomon: Take Care
of Everything

This exhibit, a collaboration between Maritime Indigenous Artists, Inc. (MIA) and the Abbe Museum, explores the protection of waters sacred to the Wabanaki and the conservation of sea-life living in those waters. It will feature original artwork created by indigenous artists living in the New England region of the United States and the Canadian Maritimes (from Connecticut to Labrador).

The featured artists are:

  • Ginette Kakakos Aubin

  • Lorne Julien

  • Starr Kelly

  • Nancy Oakley

  • Nicholas Paul

  • Allan Saulis

  • Norma Saulis

  • Frances Soctomah

  • Nelson White

This exhibit was made possible through the generosity of the following donors: Abbe’s Wabanaki Art & Artists Giving Circle, Anonymous, Ausolus Trust, Broad Reach Fund, Fisher Charitable Foundation, Lucia P. Fulton Foundation, and Maine Initiatives.


NANKOMIYE showcases the works of Ginette Kakakos Aubin, Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk from Cacouna.

Ginette is part of the North American Maliseet; Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk from Cacouna (Quebec). She makes cultural art her primary mode of expression and draws on her past to define her artistic signature. Ginette has been involved in many solo and collective exhibitions in Quebec, Europe, and the United States. Her artwork is celebrated both in private and public collections locally and abroad.

In the Maliseet language, NANKOMIYE translates to: walker or traveler; (s)he continues on way, passes by without stopping.

Waponahki Student Art

A collaboration with Maine Indian Education and the Abbe Museum, the annual Waponahki Student Art Show brings together a wonderful variety of art created by Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, and Micmac students from early childhood education through high school. The styles, media, and images vary throughout the exhibition, but place, culture, and identity have a strong presence in these original works.

Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketry

Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketry, located in our unique Circle of the Four Directions, offers a place of quiet reflection for visitors to the Museum. The exhibit features a basket from each of the Wabanaki tribal communities: the eastern basket made by a Maliseet child, the southern baskets made by Passamaquoddy women, the western basket made by a Penobscot man, and the northern basket by a Micmac elder. Visitors will also hear the creation story of Koluskap and the Ash Tree in the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy/Maliseet, and Micmac languages.

Made possible through the generosity of John and Ruth Overton.

Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos II: Star Stories of the Dawnland

The Abbe Museum partnered with schools in the Wabanaki communities to give students the opportunity to research, learn about, and photograph the cosmos using telescopes owned and maintained by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The resulting exhibit, Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos II: Star Stories of the Dawnland, features photos taken by children in the Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Penobscot, and Micmac communities in Maine.

In affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution

At Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park

The Abbe at Sieur de Monts Spring is open daily 10-5 from late May through early October.

Dr. Abbe's Museum

Visit the original Abbe Museum, built as a trailside museum in 1928.The exhibits focus on the archaeology of Maine and are reminiscent of the way the museum would have looked when it originally opened. See how bone and stone tools and pottery were made, explore artifacts from the museum's early collections, and find examples of artifacts from many towns around eastern Maine.

An introductory exhibit gives you a brief history of the Abbe Museum, and is complimented by a giant map of Mount Desert Island and the surrounding area, made by museum founder Robert Abbe. A visitor favorite, four dioramas depict life on Mount Desert Island before the arrival of Europeans.

The Basket Tree

In recent decades, a new threat has endangered the basketmaking tradition in Maine -- the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle which kills ash trees. On May 29, 2018, the presence of the emerald ash borer beetle in Maine was officially confirmed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.

 Ash and sweetgrass baskets are one of the best-known Wabanaki art forms, and many people make or supplement their income through basket production. The Abbe’s new exhibit, The Basket Tree co-curated by Darren Ranco (Penobscot) and Jennifer Neptune (Penobscot), explores the ability of the Wabananki to protect this important cultural resource on and off reservation lands, so that livelihoods of Maine’s Indian basketmakers can continue and flourish for generations to come.