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Maine Maritime Museum: Is It Worth the Visit? All the Practical Details

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine
From Shipbuilding to Sailing: Exploring the Wonders of the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

Anchors Aweigh: Discovering the Treasures of the Maine Maritime Museum

As a travel writer who has explored the length and breadth of Maine, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting countless fascinating attractions that showcase the state’s rich history and culture. One such gem is the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, a must-see destination for anyone interested in the maritime heritage that has shaped Maine’s identity for centuries. But is it truly worth the visit? Let’s dive into all the practical details you need to know before setting sail on this adventure.

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

 

Location and Accessibility

The Maine Maritime Museum is conveniently located at 243 Washington Street in Bath, just a short drive from popular coastal destinations like Portland and Boothbay Harbor. Ample parking is available on-site, with a nominal fee of $5 per vehicle. The museum is fully accessible for visitors with disabilities, offering wheelchair-friendly paths and exhibits, as well as accessible restrooms.

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

 

Hours of Operation and Admission Prices

The museum is open year-round, with hours varying seasonally. From May through October, it’s open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. During the winter months (November through April), the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, with reduced hours from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. Admission prices are reasonable, with adults paying $18, seniors (65+) $17, and children (6-12) $12. Kids under 6 can enjoy the museum for free, and family packages are available for $50, making it an affordable outing for the whole crew.

Bath Iron Works Exhibit at the Maine Maritime Museum

 

Exhibits and Attractions

One step inside the Maine Maritime Museum, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of nautical wonders. The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 20,000 artifacts, ranging from historic boats and ships to intricate ship models and maritime art. Permanent exhibits showcase Maine’s shipbuilding heritage, the lives of seafarers, and the state’s role in global maritime trade.

A highlight of the museum is the “Percy & Small Shipyard” exhibit, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the golden age of wooden shipbuilding. This exhibit is housed in the original Percy & Small Shipyard buildings, where visitors can explore the very spots where skilled craftsmen once built and launched majestic sailing ships. The shipyard, which operated from 1894 to 1920, was renowned for constructing some of the largest and most advanced wooden schooners of the era, including the record-breaking six-masted Wyoming.

Percy & Small Shipyard at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

As you wander through the exhibit, you’ll encounter authentic tools and machinery used by the shipwrights, along with detailed ship models and informative displays that bring the shipbuilding process to life. Interactive elements allow visitors to try their hand at traditional shipbuilding skills, such as shaping timber and forging metal. The “Percy & Small Shipyard” exhibit is a true testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Maine’s maritime heritage and is not to be missed.

Ship models at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

 

The Wyoming Sculpture

One of the most striking and unique features of the Maine Maritime Museum is the outdoor exhibit dedicated to the Wyoming, the largest wooden sailing ship ever built in the United States. Although the original vessel no longer exists, the museum has created a remarkable, life-size sculpture of the Wyoming’s bow section, complete with towering masts and intricate rigging.

Wyoming Sculpture at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

Visitors can walk along the sculpture’s deck, marveling at the sheer scale of this massive vessel and learning about its history through informative displays. The Wyoming sculpture serves as a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Maine’s shipbuilders and offers a rare glimpse into the golden age of sailing ships. This awe-inspiring exhibit is not to be missed and is a true highlight of the Maine Maritime Museum experience.

 

MV Merrymeeting Boat Cruises

For a truly immersive experience, don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a captivating journey aboard the MV Merrymeeting, a classic riverboat offered by the Maine Maritime Museum. This unique cruise takes you along the scenic Kennebec River, immersing you in the rich maritime history and stunning natural beauty of the region. As you glide through the calm waters, knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories of the area’s shipbuilding heritage, pointing out historic landmarks and wildlife along the way.

Boat cruise excursion on the MV Merrymeeting at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

With comfortable seating, a shaded upper deck, and beautiful views at every turn, the MV Merrymeeting cruise is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the Maine Maritime Museum, offering an unforgettable perspective on Maine’s enduring connection to the sea.

Boat cruise excursion on the MV Merrymeeting at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

 

Guided Tours and Educational Programs

To truly appreciate the depth of Maine’s maritime history, I highly recommend joining one of the museum’s guided tours. Knowledgeable museum guides lead visitors through the exhibits, sharing fascinating stories and insider insights that bring the displays to life. Tours are offered daily and are included with the price of admission.

Museum Guide at the Maine Maritime Museum

For those traveling with children, the museum offers a variety of educational programs and workshops designed to engage young minds. From building toy boats to learning the art of knot-tying, these hands-on activities provide a fun and interactive way for kids to explore Maine’s maritime heritage.

 

Family-Friendly Activities and Experiences

Speaking of family fun, the Maine Maritime Museum goes above and beyond to ensure that visitors of all ages have a memorable experience. Interactive exhibits, like the “Pirate Playship” and the “Lobstering & the Maine Coast” display, allow children to learn through play. Scavenger hunts and activity sheets keep little ones engaged as they explore the museum, while outdoor play areas and picnic spots provide the perfect opportunity for a break in the fresh sea air.

Pirate Playship interactive exhibit at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

 

Tips for Making the Most of Your Visit

To make the most of your visit to the Maine Maritime Museum, plan to spend at least 2-3 hours exploring the exhibits and attractions. I recommend visiting on a weekday morning to avoid crowds, especially during the peak summer months. If you’re short on time, prioritize the “Percy & Small Shipyard” exhibit, the guided tour, the Wyoming sculpture, and the MV Merrymeeting boat cruise for a comprehensive overview of Maine’s maritime history.

Maine Maritime Museum exhibits

 

Nearby Attractions and Accommodations

While the Maine Maritime Museum is undoubtedly the star attraction in Bath, there are plenty of other worthwhile stops nearby. Take a stroll through the charming downtown district, lined with historic architecture and locally-owned shops and restaurants. For a taste of the local cuisine, head to J.R. Maxwell & Co., a cozy pub serving up fresh seafood and craft beers.

Downtown Bath, Maine

If you’re planning an overnight stay, Bath offers a range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. The Hampton Inn Bath Brunswick is a popular choice for its convenient location and modern amenities, while the Historic Inn at Bath provides a more intimate, bed-and-breakfast experience in a beautifully restored 19th-century home.

 

Maine Maritime Museum – Worth the Visit?

So, is the Maine Maritime Museum worth the visit? As a travel writer who has seen my fair share of attractions, I can confidently say that it is. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Maine’s rich maritime heritage, with engaging exhibits, knowledgeable guides, and plenty of hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. The addition of the MV Merrymeeting boat cruise and the impressive Wyoming sculpture truly sets this museum apart, providing an immersive experience that brings Maine’s nautical history to life.

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine

Whether you’re a history buff, a family looking for an educational outing, or simply curious about the seafaring soul of Maine, the Maine Maritime Museum is sure to leave a lasting impression. So what are you waiting for? Set a course for Bath and embark on an unforgettable journey through Maine’s nautical past and present. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Maine Maritime Museum

Visitors often inquire about the specifics of visiting the Maine Maritime Museum such as admission costs, tour options, operating hours, special events, and available activities. The following subsections address these common questions to assist in planning a visit.

What are the admission prices for the museum?

Admission prices for the Maine Maritime Museum may vary depending on age group and membership status. Adults, seniors, and children each have different rates, and museum members typically receive free admission.

Can you describe the types of tours available at the museum?

The museum offers a range of tours, including Lighthouse & Nature Cruises, and a trolley tour, allowing visitors to explore Maine’s maritime culture and the area’s scenic beauty.

What are the hours of operation for the museum?

The museum operates daily, with specific opening and closing times that may vary by season. Current operating hours can always be found on the museum’s official website.

Are there any special events at the museum that visitors should be aware of?

There are periodic special events hosted by the museum, including exhibitions and educational programs. These events are often listed on the museum’s official website under the events section.

What activities and exhibits can be enjoyed at the museum?

Visitors to the museum can enjoy a variety of activities and exhibits, such as exploring Maine’s maritime heritage through thousands of artifacts, documents, and art pieces, as well as enjoying daily lighthouse cruises from May through October.

How can visitors purchase tickets for the museum, and are there any discounts available?

Tickets can be purchased online or at the museum. Online ticket sales usually close early on the day of the visit. There may be discounts available for various visitor categories, which can be checked on the museum’s ticketing page.

 

Picture of Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark Beale - Author Bio

Mark has an extensive background in the Maine Hospitality Industry, having owned the Ledges By The Bay, a boutique oceanfront hotel property, in Rockport Maine, for 40 years. He sold the property in 2016 but remains well-versed in the Maine Tourism industry and has written a number of Maine travel-related articles for various blogs and publications over the years.

Mark founded the TakeMe2 Travel Guides platform, an online travel guide initiative, designed to promote tourism in Maine, New England and in other key states – by providing in depth, unbiased information to potential tourists and travel consumers. TakeMe2 currently features the TM2Maine.com website.

Mark is also currently a stakeholder in VONT, a digital marketing agency in Westbrook, Maine, where he leads VONT's search engine optimization (SEO) practice.

Mark is versed in a number of digital information technologies including web design and development, digital video, electronic design and digital imaging technologies as well as internet marketing tactics such as blogs, web properties, and other smart media such as AI chatbots for content, image and video enhancement. One of his primary tasks at VONT is to find the successful application of these new information platforms in marketing and then teach VONT's marketers how to use them to create marketing campaigns more efficiently, creatively and cost effectively.

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