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The museum received a terrific new acquisition today! The circa 1790 Henry Trefethen family desk returned to Peaks Island, a gift from Trefethen descendant, Charles Blackman. A group of board members and other volunteers safely moved it into the building where it is now on exhibit. Come take a look!

The desk was used by the Trefethen family on House and Peaks Islands, and possibly on Monhegan Island before leaving for the mid-west in 1946. We’re happy to welcome it back to Peaks!

Our excellent team of movers!

Donor Charles A. Blackman and fellow Trefethen descendant Reta Morrill.


Even before the “official” start of the 2019 season, the Fifth Maine Museum hosted seven school field trips. Local students ranging in age from fourth grade through twelfth enjoyed the combination of a ferry boat ride and an engaging museum visit.

Backpacks piled up outside the museum’s front door.

Several of the Fifth Maine Museum board members and our curator, Holly Hurd-Forsyth, have experience as museum educators, and they do a terrific job of providing age-appropriate content to the students.

Board member Dick Macguire encourages visiting high school students to investigate the artifacts in the displays around the main hall.

The younger students tend to focus on three or four “cool” items in the collection and are always interested in the view off the porch. For older students, actually seeing the items described in their text books (such as kepis, haversacks, or hardtack) helps to define days gone by. It’s an eye-opening experience.

The battle flag was a big hit with the fourth and fifth graders.

Board member Peter Bridgford commented that the learning isn’t a one-way street. “In reading the names etched into the windows, the kids and I noticed many duplicate last names – names of brothers or cousins. It dawned on me that the Union Army of 1861 was slightly different than the army of today that is recruited from all over the country. The young men in each Company of the Fifth Maine Regiment would most likely have come from the same place. These soldiers would have grown up together and probably knew each other before the war. We talked about how losing a fellow soldier in battle must have really affected the young men – it really hit me.”

Peter Bridgford explains the Fifth Maine Museum’s iconic stained glass windows.

Almost all classroom field trips share a couple things in common – lunch on the porch and a class picture on the steps. Classroom teachers that are interested in coming to the Fifth Maine Museum for a field trip can find out more details here.

Lunch with a million dollar view!

The Fifth Maine Museum steps have been in thousands of photographs over the years!

Change is afoot in the temporary exhibit room at the Fifth Maine Museum. Our extremely popular post card exhibit has been dismounted to make room for our new Peaks Island in the 1970’s exhibit, which opens on June 21, 2019.

The exhibit will feature some never-seen-before artifacts and pictures from daily life of islanders in the 1970’s –  from ferry strikes to artist studios to sports teams and new stores.

So be sure to visit our new exhibit! It will be installed through October 2020!

And if you missed our postcard exhibit, you can still check it out – we’ve installed a few of the reproduction postcards in our restrooms.

The new exhibit poster features the finish line of a round-the-island race during the 1970s

The Fifth Maine Museum’s new exhibit, Peaks Island in the 1970s: Building a Community, opened to rave reviews during Peaks Fest. The exhibit displays previously unseen pieces from the museum’s collection, as well as photographs and objects borrowed from community members who lived on Peaks Island during the 1970s.

The new exhibit poster features the finish line of a round-the-island race during the 1970s

Holly Hurd-Forsyth, Fifth Maine Museum curator, says that the exhibit goes beyond nostalgia.“The 1970s was a time of action on Peaks Island. Many of the island organizations that are in existence today were founded during the 1970s,” says Hurd-Forsyth. The Peaks Island branch library was founded during the 1970s as well as a parent-led childcare cooperative that evolved to become the Peaks Island Children’s Workshop.

Among the islander contributions is a scrapbook of newspaper articles from Reta Morrill. The articles document the numerous captains’ strikes that plagued Casco Bay Lines at the time and the islanders’ concerns about ferry service disruptions and bankruptcy throughout the 1970s. These problems led to the formation of the Casco Bay Island Transit District through emergency State legislative action in 1981.

Bill Hall, president of the board of directors of the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, says the close-knit Peaks Island community has embraced the exhibit. “The Fifth Maine Museum is committed to preserving and showcasing Peaks Island history, even recent history. We continue to add to our collection and rotate artifacts in and out of display so that visitors can see something new each season,” says Hall.

We’ve got some good news and some bad news.

Fifth Maine Museum roof seen from overhead.

The bad news is that the roof of the Fifth Maine Museum, which is nearing the end of life, continues to degrade. Several roof patching attempts can be seen in this overhead shot of the building.

During the 2018-2019 winter, roofing shingles allowed some water damage to develop in one of our upstairs storage rooms. In response, the Board of Directors has launched a “Raise the Roof” campaign to fund the re-roofing of the entire building during the fall of 2019. After soliciting several bids, the building committee reports that the project will cost approximately $75,000.

An overhead shot of the conical roof on the turret of the Fifth Maine Museum

Roof damage led to a water leak in an upstairs storage room.

Now the good news! Board member, Perry Sutherland, has submitted several grant applications to help fund the project. He recently received news that the Davis Family Foundation will provide $10,000 and the Casco Bay Islands Alliance will provide $1,500. Fundraising efforts will continue throughout the summer of 2019. Watch this space for more details!

Thank you to both the Davis Family Foundation and the Casco Bay Islands Alliance! And thank you to our superb grant writer, Perry!!