We’d heard good things about the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport just north of Camden, and it turned out to be an interesting place to spend a dreary day. Housed in several buidings, it tells the stories of maritime businesses and merchant sea captains that made their homes and fortunes here. History, art, and interactive exhibits wove a fascinating tale of life on the sea.
Ten percent of the nations merchant sea captains hailed from Searsport in the 19th century, and boat building was a booming business. More recently, controversy erupted when it became apparent that the waters that supplied the fishermen’s livelihood were being overfished. It was finally decided to follow the lead that lobstermen had already employed: throw back the smallest, the biggest, and egg bearing females. Spawning areas were declared off-limits and recovery is underway.
The museum houses an impressive collection of James and Thomas Buttersworth paintings that attract visitors from all over the world.