Penobscot Marine Museum – Explore Maine Maritime History

Penobscot Marine MuseumPenobscot Marine Museum tells the story of Maine’s rich maritime history through art and artifacts on a campus of thirteen historic and modern buildings, presented as a 19th century seafaring village.

Maine’s oldest maritime museum is just a minute down Main Street from our historic, Searsport bed and breakfast, Captain Nickels Inn.

Whether you’re an art fan, a history buff, boating enthusiast, or are just looking for a fascinating way to spend your day, Penobscot Marine Museum is worthy of your attention.

The campus contains thirteen buildings, eight of which are on the National Register of Historic Places and, as I say above, has the trappings of a 19th century seafaring village. The impressive collection includes a wealth of historic photographs, maritime artifacts, art, archives, and a research library.

Maine’s Oldest Maritime Museum

Penobscot Marine Museum can be found at 5 Church Street in the center of Searsport. The 3-acre campus takes up both sides of Church Street and continues on between Church and Reservoir Streets. Three more museum buildings can be found on the north side of Main Street.

James E Buttersworth Great Republic

See the largest collection of works by Thomas and James Buttersworth in the country.

The historic buildings on the campus range in age from 1810 to 1845. They include historic sea captain’s homes, a former schoolhouse turned Congregational Church vestry, and Searsport’s original Town Hall. There’s even a Camera Obscura to investigate!

The museum presents the maritime history of the area through a variety of exciting lenses. You’ll hear the stories of ship captains and their families, and learn about the industries of Penobscot Bay, global maritime trade, and today’s fisheries.

Highlights include:

  • Over 200,000 historic photos of Maine and New England
  • 19th-and early 20th-century ship models and miniatures
  • 19th-century scrimshaw
  • 19th-and early 20th-century Chinese, Japanese, and American decorative and folk art
  • Traditional boats from the early 20th-century
  • Maine landscapes and portraits of ship captains and their families
  • Renowned collection of 19th-century marine paintings, ship portraits, and port paintings
  • A large collection of vintage water craft, from rowboats to racing sloops
  • … and so much more!

Visiting Penobscot Marine Museum

The Museum is open Memorial Day weekend through the third weekend in October (regular season) and closed in winter.  The Museum offices, research library, and photo archives are open year-round by appointment.

Group Tours are available during the regular season.  Contact the museum to schedule a group visit.

Visit the museum website for more information. You can also find it on Facebook.

Spend the day exploring Maine’s fascinating maritime history knowing your comfortable guest room at Captain Nickels Inn is mere minutes away. See you soon!

Updated Feb 2024

a tapestry of vibrant blooms,

where sunlight dances on shimmering shores


We are shaking off winter and embracing the vibrant energy of spring! Our hearts are turning towards warmer days, eager to bask in the transformative magic of blooming flowers and budding trees.

Consider a stay in the Willard Room – our newest luxury accommodation! Located on the third floor, it offers added privacy. Updated amenities such as a walk-in jetted shower and sitting room provide luxury comforts.