There’s a fascinating collection in the Fifth Maine Museum archive that documents the history of Peaks Island secession movements. Long-time islanders likely remember the most recent attempt, in 2011, to leave the City of Portland and establish an independent town. But did you know that islanders have toyed with the idea of self-governance at …

September means back-to-school, fresh notebooks, sharp pencils, and a bittersweet reintroduction of structure into many families’ lives. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted these rituals, and it has us thinking about how a school serves as a linchpin that holds a community together. Some of the girls at Peaks Island School circa 1925   …

On March 15, 1820, Maine became the 23rd state as part of Maine-Missouri Compromise. The state-wide celebration of Maine’s 200th birthday – years in the planning – was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many events are delayed until 2021. While we wait to mark the anniversary, we can look back to the centennial celebration …

The Fifth Maine veterans remained in close contact with one another after the Civil War, and, in 1888, built the Fifth Maine Regiment Memorial Hall as a place to spend time with one another and celebrate the simple fact that they made it through the War alive. These reunions were important to the men, …

The post office fire on Peaks Island on June 8th got us thinking about the long and terrible history of fires on the island, and how they raised questions regarding islander’s access to utilities and public safety services. Structural fires are always dreadful, but on unbridged islands they are particularly dire. Peaks Island has …

The National Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War collection at the Fifth Maine Museum is a fascinating look at women’s struggle for recognition for their service in the Civil War. Engraving on the Association’s letterhead, 1899 The group was founded by Dorothea Dix (a Maine native) in 1881. Dix served as the …

Before highways connected towns and cities together, the easiest way to move around coastal Maine was by boat. Island communities were in some ways less isolated than they are today. Islanders, many who made their living from the maritime trades, moved from island to island routinely. Peaks, House, and Monhegan Islands were linked by …

The Fifth Maine Memorial Hall sits on a sliver of land just one-third of an acre in size. The southern boundary is essentially the ocean itself, which is so close that the waves toss rocks up onto the lawn from time to time. Seaside Garden in March 2020. Seaside Garden in summer 2018, photo …

The Fifth Maine Memorial Hall, home of the Fifth Maine Museum, commands a rocky sliver of land overlooking Ryefield Cove, Whitehead Passage, and the famous Whitehead Cliffs on the eastern end of Cushing Island. These cliffs, which feature the profile of a human face when seen from the right angle, rise over 100 feet …

To the right of the walkway as you approach the Fifth Maine Museum lies a hefty oval boulder, its surface relatively smooth aside from the modest inscription “FIFTH MAINE VOLUNTEERS 1861-1865.”  This is the Memorial Boulder, and it’s been on the lawn of the Fifth Maine building for over 110 years. Memorial Boulder decorated for …