When traveling to the Acadia region of Maine, not only are there beautiful sites to enjoy, but there is lots of rich history to take in as well. One of the best historical places to visit in the area is the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, ME. Celebrating the Wabanaki natives of the area, the Abbe Museum is a cultural and educational center for Acadia’s first peoples and their oldest traditions. If you’re interested in learning about how the beautiful natural surrounding shaped this people and vice versa, the Abbe Museum is definitely the spot for you to visit on your next trip to the area.
The Abbe Museum
Currently closed for the repair of their central exhibit, People of the First Light, the Abbe Museum will reopen in May 2016 with a new and improved look and experience. From May 1st through October 31st the Abbe Museum will be open from 10am to 5pm daily, and is an affordable activity for the whole family. There are great programs, exhibits, and activities for every interest and age level, as well as wonderful views of the ocean and breathtaking natural surroundings. The Abbe Museum has two locations: one in downtown Bar Harbor, as well as the Sieur de Monts Spring location.
About the Wabanaki Peoples
When you visit the Abbe Museum you will learn all about the Wabanaki peoples and their history throughout Acadia. The Wabanaki are made up of five principal nations: the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki and Penobscot natives. These tribes inhabit areas of Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and parts of southern Quebec, with the Western Abanakis going as far south as New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. These tribes are all united based on their being Algonquian-speaking and were central to the American Revolution through the Treaty of Watertown in 1776. Their tribes were greatly depleted during the British and French wars that took place in North America throughout the 18th century, as well as the famines and disease that swept through the Northeast.
Exhibits at the Abbe Museum
There are many great exhibits to enjoy at the Abbe Museum that will help you to reflect on these peoples and their traditions. Four Directions of Wabanaki Basketry offers visitors a chance to observe hand woven baskets from every Wabanaki tribe. Each basket is made of the grasses and other materials they would have had available to them in their locales, and many of them are beautifully decorated. The Sieur de Monts Spring location is home to the ongoing exhibits St. Sauveur: A Meeting of Nations, as well as Dr. Abbe’s Museum. St. Sauveur tells the story of the Jesuits who came looking to build relations with the Wabanaki, while Dr. Abbe’s is the original Abbe Museum, which focuses on Maine’s archaeology.
The Abbe Museum is a great opportunity to learn about the history of Acadia and its first peoples. If you find yourself in downtown Bar Harbor, make your way there and enjoy an affordable outing learning about the origins of the ground you’re standing on.
While planning your visit to Acadia, be sure to book your room at Pilgrim’s Inn for a charming Maine bed and breakfast experience.