BATH – The Maine Maritime Museum is having a birthday. The museum on Washington Street celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer.

In the season ahead, the museum will host visits by four tall ships and mount two exhibitions in the museum and two others off site — one in Portland, one in Rockland.

The schedule of events begins this weekend with the opening of an exhibition about the War of 1812 in its bicentennial year. The exhibition, “Subdue, Seize and Take: Maritime Maine in the Unwelcome Interruption of the War of 1812,” will be on view through Oct. 28.

The conflict with Britain lasted from 1812 to 1815. The museum exhibition chronicles the nation-building hubbub in the district of Maine (then part of Massachusetts), from the Eastport “Flour War” and the sacking of Hampden to the frolics of the Royal Navy threatening the partially built USS Washington at Kittery.

Artifacts and original archival documents from four Maine museums and numerous private collections present the story of how this often-overlooked war affected Maine. Among these are a rarely seen model of the privateer Dash, a cannon from the HMS Boxer that was captured by the American brig Enterprise in a battle off the coast of Monhegan, and two gowns worn at the 1815 Saco Peace Ball.

“We focused our efforts on gathering original artifacts and documents for the exhibit so that visitors would get a feel for how the people of Maine viewed the war at that time, not how some later generation envisioned it might have been,” curator Chris Hall said in a news release. “Our goal is that people will come away with a very good idea of what it must have been like to have lived in Maine during that period.”

Two off-site exhibitions curated by the museum are also part of the anniversary celebration.

“The Sea Within Us: Iconically Maritime in Fashion and Design” will open on July 20 at the Portland Public Library on Congress Street. It explores the connections between historical maritime culture and imagery to modern objects and everyday aspects of our present-day culture. The exhibit will remain on view through June 14, 2013.

The other off-site exhibit is already in place. In April, the Maine Maritime Museum opened “Honing the Edge: The Apprenticeshop at 40.” It tells the story of the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, which teaches traditional boatbuilding and seamanship. The school began in 1972 on the grounds of the museum in Bath. It’s on view in Rockland throughout the year.

Two of the four tall ships that will call during the summer arrive in June. Fame, a full-scale replica of the famous War of 1812 privateer, will be open to visitors June 23-24. The Arctic schooner Bowdoin, the historic vessel of famed Arctic explorer Donald R. MacMillan, will be open June 29-30.

The Grand Banks fishing schooner Sherman Zwicker, which docks at the museum during the summer, will arrive in late June and be a part of the museum’s ongoing exhibits until late October.

On July 14-15, the 177-foot barkentine Gazela Primeiro will be dockside and open to visitors. Built in Portugal and launched in 1901, the three-masted vessel crossed the Atlantic each summer until 1969 with the Portuguese White Fleet to fish in the Grand Banks. The boarding fee for Gazela Primeiro will be $5 per person.

Pride of Baltimore II, a reproduction of an 1812-era topsail schooner often called a Baltimore Clipper, will be open Aug. 11-12.

For details, visit