BATH — The latest exhibition at the Maine Maritime Museum, 243 Washington St., demonstrates how for centuries, Maine residents have harnessed wind to propel commerce and how the desire for environmentally friendly energy sources has us turning toward the wind yet again.
“Aloft! Topsails to Turbines” is on view from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Nov. 27.
For more than 300 years, wind was the principal propulsion of choice for the masterfully built, world-renowned ships constructed along the coast of Maine. That free but sometimes fickle energy source moved Maine-built fleets and their cargoes among hundreds of domestic and foreign ports.
While oil practically eliminated our reliance on the wind for commercial vessels, history has a way of repeating itself. Today, sails, air-foils and blade-forms are converging in new ways to exploit the most ancient of forces. A new age of harnessed wind has begun on the Maine coast.
New technologies and materials are evolving to capture the power of moving air, drawing upon the techniques, heritage and insight of the past.
Marine engineering, fabrication and logistical systems already set in close proximity to deep water-wind resources in the gulf of Maine have the potential to energize the region. With this new exhibition, Maine Maritime Museum chronicles this world by showcasing sails, spars, rigging and rope work coupled and contrasted with hard wings, composites, floating platforms and nacelles.