What is the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? Read on to find out! For a relatively small place (one square mile, approximately), Peaks Island has a lot of cemeteries, a testament to our long history of settlement. The earliest is the somewhat awkwardly named Ye Olde Trott Burying Ground off Upper A …

“The scene of indescribable confusion among the prisoners presents them in every imaginable position, standing, walking, running, arguing, gambling, going to or coming from the Branch with cups, dippers, canteens, or rude pails with water, lying down, dying, praying, giving water or food to the sick, crawling on hands and knees, or hunkers, making …

Maps are rich historical sources that can help people visualize the past, and how geographic places have changed over time. The Fifth Maine Museum collection contains many maps, plans, and surveys, and they document how Peaks Island’s land was used over the past 150 years. Map, Exploring Peaks Island, circa 1980. This ephemeral map …

What do these words all have in common: Belle Arbre, Casa Loma, Chula Vista, Chinquilla, Kakoosak, Mecca, and Deostehgaa? Or Dab-da, Gilt Edge, Lambkin, and Chubby? How about Comet, Enid, Over There, and Snookums? You might guess geographic places, or possibly names of family pets, but…no. These are just a few of the names …

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 …