The 1811 Lincoln County Museum & Old Jail in Wiscasset opens on July 3 for tours of the granite jail and jailer’s house, plus an exhibit of mounted and framed photos of Lincoln County at the beginning of the 20th century. The images were retrieved from glass plate negatives that belonged to Eastern Publishing Company, a publisher of postcards.

A small crew of photographers employed by the publisher focused their lenses on locally known landmarks, street scenes, country stores and businesses. A few years ago, some 50,000 glass plate and film negatives were saved by Kevin Johnson, photo archivist for the Penobscot Marine Museum.

The old jail is open for tours from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 3 except for July 4 when the site is closed. Lincoln County Historical Association’s volunteer docents allow visitors to step back in time to a period when scofflaws found themselves in cold cells with bars on the windows, but no glass to hold out winter winds.

The tour also includes the kitchen where the jailer’s wife prepared meals for as many as 50 inmates on an open hearth and bake oven. A shed off the kitchen has an extensive exhibit of tools of the trades that were plied by Lincoln County residents in the 19th century.

The parlor and dining room of the jailer’s house contain furnishings appropriate to a middle class family in the Victorian era. In addition, a special exhibit of photographs on loan for the season from the Penobscot Marine Museum, offers views of Lincoln County at a time in the early 1900s when the jail was in full-time use.

The Old Jail is located at 133 Federal St. (Route 218) in Wiscasset, about a half mile north of Route 1.

The Lincoln County Historical Association is a non-profit organization that provides stewardship for the 1754 Chapman-Hall House in Damariscotta, the 1761 Pownalborough Court House in Dresden, and the 1811 Old Jail and Museum in Wiscasset. For more information, please visit or Facebook at Lincoln County Historical Association.

The new bridge, Wiscasset. Courtesy of Penobscot Marine Museum

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