At the Abbe Museum Downtown


Twisted Path IV: Vital Signs

April through December 2017

The critically acclaimed Twisted Path exhibit series is back and celebrating its fourth year in 2017. Twisted Path IV: Vital Signs is an invitational exhibition that features artwork that reflects personal stories about tribal identity and balancing life in a complex world. 

Participating artists were chosen based on the aesthetics of their work, their ability and willingness to tell stories through art, and the unique and contemporary natures of their forms. The list includes Jason K. Brown (Penobscot), Donna Brown (Penobscot), David Moses Bridges (Passamaquoddy), Chris Pappan (Kaw, Osage, Cheyenne River Sioux), and Hollis Chitto (Laguna/Isleta, Mississippi Choctaw).

The banner image above is by Twisted Path IV artist Chris Pappan. "In God's Image 1" is a pencil/graphite map collage on 1890s institutional ledger.


2017 Waponahki Student Art Show

May through December 2017

The Waponahki Student Art Show, now in its 16th year, 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.

A collaboration of Maine Indian Education and the Abbe Museum.

Special thanks to: Framing by Lin Calista of the Museum Framer at the Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport

People of the First Light

Ongoing at our downtown location

Visit the page for our core exhibit here.


Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketry

Ongoing at our downtown location

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

September 2015 through early 2017

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

Ongoing at our Sieur de Monts Spring location

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.

St. Sauveur: A Meeting of Nations

Ongoing at our Sieur de Monts Spring location

In 1613, a small group of French Jesuits, sailors and settlers arrived at Mount Desert Island, looking for a place to establish a mission and build trade relations with the Wabanaki.  At the urging of Wabanaki leader Asticou, the group chose a spot somewhere around Frenchman Bay to establish their new outpost.  Less than three months later, the fledgling settlement was destroyed by English colonists from further south. Echoes of these encounters continue to resound today, in Wabanaki communities, in shaping Maine history Illustration by Francis Back, courtesy US NPS/St Croix Island International Historic Siteand identity, and in our understanding of international relations.

The first European residents of Frenchman Bay came and went in a very short time. But this episode is part of a much larger story of Wabanaki-French-English interactions in eastern Maine from 1500 until 1762, when English settlers finally established a permanent settlement on Mount Desert Island. The exhibit brings together current Wabanaki perspectives and historic documents to present multiple perspectives on history, and investigates the debate among historians and archaeologists about where the St. Sauveur Mission was actually located. Hands-on, interactive activities for children and families accompany the exhibit.