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Arts & Culture

Native American Museums

The history and heritage of Maine's Wabanaki people dates back more than 12,000 years. Collectively known as the People of the Dawnland, the Wabanaki comprise the Penobscot Nation, Passamaquoddy Tribe, Houlton Band of Maliseets, and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. Although loosely allied for centuries, each group has a distinct language and customs drawn from its natural surroundings. You can find the best immersion into Maine's Wabanaki culture at the following three museums:

The Abbe Museum

The Abbe Museum, with locations in downtown Bar Harbor and at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park, is dedicated not only to preserving Maine's Native American heritage, but also to sharing contemporary culture. You can participate in the annual Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market in July, attend children's programs, and find books and modern craftwork in its museum shop.

The Maine State Museum

The permanent exhibit "12,000 Years in Maine," at the Maine State Museum in Augusta, details what archeologists have learned about Maine's Native Americans. You can learn about various aspects of Wabanaki culture from the rotating exhibits that often complement the permanent exhibit.

Hudson Museum

The Hudson Museum, on the University of Maine's Orono campus, has a permanent Maine Indian Gallery. You can learn about the creation story and about interpreting contemporary culture through artifacts, including tools, baskets, beadwork, carvings, canoes and historic images. You can also meet Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot basketmakers and buy their hand-made baskets at the Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale and Demonstration, which the museum hosts in December.