Take a deep dive into Maine’s rich seafaring history with a visit to the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, ME. The museum’s extensive, indoor, and outdoor exhibits, located on 20 acres of a historic, Kennebec River shipyard, cover everything from wooden shipbuilding and sailing to lobstering and lighthouses.
Bath, ME, the “City of Ships,” is renowned for its shipbuilding history. It was the nation’s fifth largest seaport by the mid-1800’s and, at one point, home to 200 shipbuilding companies. During World War II, Bath Iron Works launched a new ship every 17 days. In fact, upwards of 5,000 boats have been built in Bath since the very first in 1743.
Discover all this and so much more with a visit to The Maine Maritime Museum.
The Drive To Bath, ME
The Maine Maritime Museum is located at 243 Washington Street in Bath, Maine. This is about an hour and half drive from our MidCoast Maine bed and breakfast, Captain Nickels Inn.
- Turn left, from Captain Nickels Inn, to head south on Searsport’s Main Street/U.S. Highway 1.
- Stay on US-1 until you reach the ME-3/Belmont Avenue exit in Belfast.
- Follow the ME-3 out of Belfast for about 10 miles, until you reach the ME-131 South exit.
- Stay on ME-131 until you reach the town of Appleton, ME, where you’ll take a left on Sennebec Road/ME-235 S.
- Follow ME-235 S for around 9 miles, until you see the exit for US-1 S in Waldoboro, ME.
- Stay on US-1 S until you cross the Kennebec River into Bath.
- Watch for the Vine Street exit as you cross the river, then follow it to a slight left on Leeman Highway.
- At the light, turn left onto Washington Street and follow it for a little over a mile. The museum will be on the river, on your right.
The drive has you passing a variety of other popular MidCoast attractions. State parks, scenic overlooks, lovely Maine towns, and more. While the Maine Maritime Museum has enough to hold your attention for a full day or more, we can also suggest other sights to see along the way. Just let us know and we’ll help you with your day’s itinerary. We love sharing Maine with our guests!
Visiting the Marine Maritime Museum
There’s a lot to see and do at the Maine Maritime Museum. So much that it would be easy to spend a couple of days here and still not see it all.
The museum’s scenic, 20-acre campus on the Kennebec River is home to both indoor and outdoor exhibits and activities. There are daily lighthouse cruises, wooden boat construction, a working blacksmith, historic shipyard buildings, and more.
The museum is located on the grounds of the historic Percy & Small Shipyard, the country’s only surviving wooden boat shipyard. Five of the original shipyard buildings are still here for your inspection. Even better, you can watch and chat with the craftsmen as they keep Maine’s wooden boat-building traditions alive.
The yard is also home to a massive sculpture detailing the lines of the schooner Wyoming, America’s largest ever wooden boat. The nearby Donnell House, an 1892 shipyard owner’s home open seasonally for tours, offers a chance to experience what life was like in Bath during Victorian times.
Inside the museum, you’ll discover a wealth of fascinating galleries and exhibits. The museum collection is massive, with over 16,000 items, including 300 ship models, 300 paintings, 130 watercraft, 2,000 tools, figureheads, fishing implements, and hundreds of other maritime artifacts. Lighthouse fans will love the one-of-a-kind, “Into the Lantern” Lighthouse Experience. This immersive exhibit simulates being at the very top of a traditional Maine lighthouse.
The Museum Library is a researcher’s treasure trove of historic and informative books, periodicals, photographs, and manuscripts. You can also stop by the bookstore and gift shop to peruse the wide selection of maritime-related books, clothing, jewelry, toys, and memorabilia.
A variety of narrated tours and boat cruises are offered in summer. See iconic Maine lighthouses from the water and close-up views of Navy vessels under construction at Bath Iron Works. You can also set sail aboard the restored, 1906 schooner Mary E. A truly magical experience.
Visit the museum website for hours and other details. You can also find the museum on Facebook.