December 27, 2012

Maine Maritime Museum's exhibit is ship shape

The display features about 150 objects, including tools, journals, cooking utensils, scrimshaw, maps, models and paintings galore.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Maine Maritime Museum in Bath opens a new exhibit that includes this model of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, best known for sinking the Confederate sloop Alabama off the coast of France during the American Civil War.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Maine Maritime Museum exhibits a foremast cap from the schooner Luther Little, one of the two ships that lay quietly for years in the harbor of Wiscasset. The museum’s “Ahead Full at Fifty: 50 Years of Collecting at Maine Maritime Museum” runs through May 26.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


WHEN: Through May 26; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily except New Year's Day

WHERE: 243 Washington St., Bath

HOW MUCH: $15 adults, $12 students and seniors, $10 children age 6 to 16; free 5 and younger

INFO: 443-1316 or

Another personal favorite is the ship's medicine chest, which came from the Loring apothecary in Portland. It consists of a solid wooden box divided into compartments, which house small glass bottles. It dates to the late 19th century.

Merchant ships were required to carry medicines to deal with common ailments. Pharmacies in shipbuilding towns sold medicine chests as a matter of routine.

Burden bought it from a nautical antiques dealer and donated it to the museum.

In the catalog, he writes, "Many of the medicines thought to be important enough to be included 150 years ago, such as tincture of rhubarb or mercury compounds would not be employed today. Others, such as opium pills and quinine had proven effectiveness, though have been improved upon. ... Note the catheter used to relieve urine stoppage, a common malady resulting from seamen's sexual indiscretions in port."

The gallery is full of beautiful paintings and other art objects. Among the most intriguing is a three-dimensional realist painting of the Percy & Small Shipyard, which is now part of the Maine Maritime Museum complex. The Maine-based artist R. Valentine Gray made an oil-and-wood depiction of the shipyard using small pieces of wood and just a little paint to give a sense of the buildings at the time the museum acquired them.


Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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Additional Photos

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A three-dimensional painting of the Percy & Small Shipyard by Maine artist R. Valentine Gray.

Courtesy of Maine Maritime Museum

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“Coastguardsman Walking His Beat” by Morgan Rhees.

Courtesy of Maine Maritime Museum


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