Here’s what our visitors say:

“A tour of this museum gives the visitor a good look at so much: the life of Peaks Island, the history of the Civil War and its people, battles and artifacts, interesting late 19th century architecture, and a lovely garden.”

“We loved this museum. It's a must see on the island.”

"The staff was absolutely amazing - the most friendly and enjoyable group of people I've been around in a long time. I wish we could have stayed longer."
The final ART WALK of the 2023 season will be held on Saturday, September 2nd, 10am-3pm!

The list of artists and the map of the ART WALK are available on the calendar page of our website!

Our 2023 season has been absolutely jam packed with wonderful events but it is winding down! We are hoping for a lovely fall with warm days and crisp nights. There are still plenty of events coming up before the closing day. We're having an evening lecture on Thursday, September 7th, by Dr. Richard Milstead and Carolyn Lawson, centered on our new "What They Wore" exhibit. We're excited to have the local band, The Hedgehogs, play at the Fifth Maine on Friday, September 29th at the Harvest Moon Hedgehop. And our Harvest Supper plans are being set in motion.

We're still open for visitors in September and early October. Our opening hours are 10am - 3pm.

During September and through Indigenous Peoples Day, we'll go back to being open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays --- or by appointment if you are visiting mid-week.

If you'd like to visit the museum when we don't have regular opening hours, please call 207.766.3330. We often open by appointment during the shoulder seasons, if we have staff available to do so!

Feel free to call us directly at 207-766-3330 with any questions or concerns.

Stay safe and be well,
Susan Hanley
President, Board of Directors

Peaks Island’s History Museum

New exhibits for 2023 season:

What They Wore: An Exhibit of Civil War Clothing

Civil War Clothing exhibit at the Fifth Maine Museum

In a brand new exhibit for 2023, reproduction Civil War garments grace the turret room in the Fifth Maine Museum’s Memorial Hall.

The exhibit includes a reproduction of the Union jacket belonging to 1st Sergeant Enoch Whittemore, Jr., of the Fifth Maine Regiment’s Company I.  The exhibit also includes a reproduction of a Confederate jacket that was preserved by a Fifth Maine Regiment soldier with the tag “Rebel jacket taken from a prisoner at Spottsylvania [sic].” Both reproduction jackets were hand sewn by Dr. Richard Milstead.

A reproduction nurse’s uniform helps tell the story of how women served in facilities away from the front lines during the Civil War. In addition to assisting Army medical officers in patient treatment, these individuals also read to the men, wrote letters for them, and did other tasks to assist in their recovery. The nurse’s uniform is on loan from Carolyn Lawson.

Richard Milstead was acting curator for the Exhibit, Carolyn Lawson provided material on Civil War nurses and their dresses, and Holly Hurd-Forsyth, Museum curator was the overall manager of the project.


Rebel Blanket at Fifth Maine Museum

Relics of the Defeated:

Confederate Artifacts at the Fifth Maine Museum

The Fifth Maine veterans collected relics from both sides of the conflict, but Confederate

Wooden canteen and pocket watch

artifacts were popular. These objects helped to validate their service to a cause greater than themselves, and in some small way justify the deaths and injuries of their fellow comrades.
Owning, handling, and displaying these objects were tactile reminders of their victory over the South, and all that represented, as well as a way to tell noncombatants that story without words. The veterans built the Fifth Maine Memorial Hall in part to hold these relics and share them with others, in hope that the
sacrifices made during the War – and the defeat of the Confederacy – would never be forgotten.

This exhibit, curated by Holly Hurd-Forsyth, opened in May 2023 as a permanent exhibit in the Fifth Maine Museum’s Memorial Hall.

Peaks. Like No Other Island: Photographs by David Owen

Peaks. Like No Other Island. Photographs by David Owen.Photographer David Owen has been visiting Peaks Island for 30 years and thinks of Peaks Island as “a free verse poem, where there is no rhyme or regular meter; no proscribed patterns; the cadences are natural and not set by any convention.”  In this exhibit, David has written a story to accompany each of his photographs — stories that share how some of the men, women and children of Peaks Island help make it like no other island.

David Owen is a photographer and the author of Like No Other Place, a book of his photographs and stories drawn from the time he spent in the ranching country of Nebraska Sand Hills. His photographs have been shown at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and at the Gallery on the Green, hear his home in Connecticut where he lives with his wife Anne.

The Fifth Maine Museum is hosting an Opening Reception in the dining room, on Thursday, June 22nd, from 4:30 – 7pm. Everyone is invited to eat, drink and be merry and have a chance to chat with the photographer! The exhibit runs through October 2023.

Continuing for 2023 season:

Weathering the Storm:
Five Centuries of Resilience on Peaks Island

We are pleased to announce a new temporary exhibition that explores how adversity has effected the island, slated to open in June 2021.

Entitled “Weathering the Storm: Five Centuries of Resilience on Peaks Island,” the exhibit starts at the point of European contact with the indigenous Wabanaki people in the early 1600s and explores a defining hardship for each of the next five centuries, asking the question “Is resilience and community more meaningful here on Peaks Island, where outside assistance is not always accessible?”

It’s impossible to present a grand summary of every event that ever happened on Peaks Island during the last five centuries, and wisely, the exhibit doesn’t take that approach. Instead, it focuses on smaller, more personal stories that help the visitor appreciate the islanders’ tenacity and the complexity of island history through the eyes of the people who lived it. Visitors will leave the exhibit contemplating how events have shaped, and continue to shape, our community.

Weathering the Storm is curated by Holly Hurd-Forsyth and runs through October 2023.