Aside from its gorgeous views and relaxing environment, Deer Isle has a fascinating history, traditions and culture for you to learn about and explore. The Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society is a great place to visit and has all the facts, records, and relics not only for Deer Isle but the surrounding islands as well. You’ll find interesting information about its original Native American populations, its first European settlers, its fishing history and community, as well as Deer Isle’s role in the Civil War, and its famous America’s Cup teams. Housed in an historical family home on Deer Isle, the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society is expanding to include an exhibit barn to house its growing exhibits. The Historical Society is also a great resource if you are researching your family history!
Exhibits at the Deer Isle Stonington Historical Society
- Seller’s House
Built in 1830 by Joseph and Salome Sellers, the Seller’s House often welcomed mariners returning home from the sea. Salome was the daughter of Captain Edward Sylvester who was descended from a Mayflower settler and who fought in the American Revolution. She was active in the community and mariners often visited her for good luck before going back to sea. During the Civil War her husband Joseph died, but Salome lived to the age of 108, the oldest person in Maine at the time. Restored in 1960, the Seller’s House is now an example of what life on Deer Isle in its early days was like.
- The Shed
Full of recreational artifacts like bicycles as well as farm equipment and tools, the shed is full of things that were necessary to get by in this rural setting. Deer Isle residents largely sustained themselves on the island by growing their own food and storing it for the cold winter months ahead.
- The Marine Room
The marine exhibits at the Deer Isle Stonington Historical society are central to understanding the Islanders way of life. You will see ship models, examples of fishing gear, and clues of what it would be like to live a life dependent on the sea. Deer Isle is also famous for producing two of the greatest America’s Cup sailing teams, the Columbia and the Defender, and you’ll find information about this important time in Deer Isle history.
- Old Sunset Post Office
The Old Sunset Post Office now sits on the grounds of the Historical Society and serves as a lovely gift shop as well as a postal exhibit.
- The Archives
Open to the public for research, the archives room contains an amazing collection of both historical and genealogical records including books and photographs.
- Rotating Exhibits
There are a number of additional exhibits that are open throughout the year, including Native American artifacts of arrowheads, tools and baskets; trade exhibits profiling industries like shoemaking, quarrying, millinery, canneries and even a pants factory!. Make sure not to miss the original Deer Isle jail too!
The Deer Isle Stonington Historical Society is absolutely worth the visit when you travel to this gorgeous island off the coast of Maine, and is a great way to break up the day after exploring Acadia National Park and other natural areas. Learning about local history, traditions and culture will enrich your entire experience and your visit to our Island.
While planning your trip to the area, be sure to book your stay at the Pilgrim’s Inn!