With mud season just about over, it’s time to turn our attention to Maine’s museum season.

Between now and early summer, Maine’s many seasonal museums will be opening for the year. These include institutions that deal with art, history, transportation and a variety of other fun or quirky topics. There’s an umbrella cover museum on Peaks Island, for instance.

But they are only here for a limited time, usually until Labor Day or October.  So before it’s hot enough to hit the beaches or go out on the boat, you can tour a museum.

Here’s a sampling of what Maine’s seasonal museums offer.


The Umbrella Cover Museum on Peaks Island has a mission statement that says it’s “dedicated to the appreciation of the mundane in everyday life.” Specifically, it’s dedicated to the lowly umbrella cover, the fabric or plastic coverings that come on new umbrellas and are almost always discarded. Curator and founder Nancy 3. Hoffman (yes, 3) picks up those unwanted covers and gives them a home in her storefront museum space.


She started the museum in 1996 and now has more than 2,000 covers from 73 countries, including Botswana and New Zealand. She has movie-themed covers, including “The Lion King,” and some “sexy” covers which she says are rated PG-13. She writes or prints out text cards to explain each cover’s individual story. The museum will open for the season on May 27. Suggested donations are $5 for adults, $2 for children under 12. Hoffman asks that people check her website for hours, as they might change, before coming out to the island. The museum is open through Labor Day. For more info, go to umbrellacovermuseum.org.

Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport opened for the season May 6. Photo courtesy of Maine Mountain Media LLC


Turn back time faster than Cher with a visit to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, which opened Saturday for the season. Ride on a vintage trolley and explore three car houses’ worth of trolley cars. You’ll also see the restoration shop where trolleys from the early 1900s are being restored back to their original state. Subway cars, locomotives, buses and more will transport you through history, and dogs are welcome on the campus and all trolleys. Mothers, including dog moms, get free admission this Sunday for Mother’s Day. Admission is $13, $11 for over 60 and ages 6 to 15, $6 for ages 3-5. The museum is open through October and for a couple weekends in December. For more information, go to trolleymuseum.org.


The Ogunquit Museum of American Art opened for its 70th season on April 29, and this year is offering free admission on the first Friday of every month, from 5-8 p.m. On view through July 16 is “Shifting Sands: Beaches, Bathers, and Modern Maine Art.” The exhibition looks at the unique places beaches hold in modern art. Also this season, the museum will host site-specific murals from artist Joe Wardwell, an installation of land art by Meg Webster, and the first solo museum exhibitions from artists Liam Lee and Ever Baldwin. The museum grounds include more than 3 acres of gardens on the ocean, with stunning views. The museum’s season runs through Nov. 12. For more information, go to ogunquitmuseum.org.

“In America-Spring #3” by Ni Rong is one of the works on view now at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. Image courtesy of Ni Rong

The Monhegan Museum of Art & History on Monhegan Island is another seasonal spot focusing on art and Maine’s rich history as a haven for artists. It’s open this year from June 24 to Sept. 30. Starting July 1, the museum will present the exhibition “Counterpoint: Monhegan’s Artist Couples,” focusing on four couples who formed the core of Monhegan Island’s art community in the mid to late 20th century. It will include works by Reuben and Geraldine Tam, Marvin Oberman and Arline Simon, Jan and William McCartin, and John Hultberg and Lynne Drexler.


The museum also manages and arranges tours of the Rockwell Kent/James Fitzgerald Historic Artists’ Home and Studio. The studio was built by Kent around 1910 and later both the home and studio were bought by Fitzgerald, who died in 1971. Admission to the museum is $10, $5 for students, $2 for ages 10-18, and $20 for a family of two adults and two children. The ferries from Port Clyde take about an hour. For more information, go to monheganmuseum.org.

Also open for tours now, for the first time since 2019, is the Winslow Homer Studio on Prouts Neck in Scarborough. The studio has been reinterpreted with new narratives, stories and experiences, according to the Portland Museum of Art, which owns and runs the property. Homer used the studio from 1884 until his death in 1910. Tours are available through Nov. 12. For more information, go to portlandmuseum.org.

The Winslow Homer studio in Scarborough opened for tours May 4. It had been closed to tours since 2019. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer


The home of one of Maine’s best-known historic figures is a museum that opens for the season on May 26. The Brunswick building that houses the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum was Chamberlain’s home for 50 years. He was a hero of the battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War and a four-term governor of Maine. Touring the home’s nine rooms, visitors can see the boots Chamberlain wore at Gettysburg (which have a small patch where a bullet passed through), his horse’s saddle, and his governor’s desk and chair. Tours run through Oct. 25 and admission is $15, $12 for students and seniors, and $10 for ages 5-13. The Pejepscot History Center also offers tours of the nearby Skolfield-Whittier House, which was donated with all its contents by the family who had lived there since the 1860s. For more information, go to pejepscothistorical.org.

The Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum in Brunswick opens for the season on May 26. Photo by Troy Ancona

The properties of the Old York Historical Society will open for the season on Memorial Day, with free admission that day. The Old York Museum Center complex hosts the Remick Gallery, featuring objects from the museum’s collection, as well as the 1750 Jefferds Tavern and the 1745 York Corner Schoolhouse. Separate properties include the Old Gaol, a jail built in 1656, and the Perkins House Museum. The properties are open through Oct. 28. General admission is $10, free for 18 and under, and includes the Old Gaol, Museum Center and Remick Gallery. Tours of the The Perkins House Museum are $10, $5 for children. For a complete list of properties and more information, go to oldyork.org.

The Poland Spring Museums give people a look at the unique history of the place that shares its name with one of Maine’s best-known exports, Poland Spring bottled water. The museums will be open May 27 through mid-October. They include the Maine State Building and the All Souls Chapel, owned by the nonprofit Poland Spring Preservation Society, and the Poland Spring Bottling Museum & Spring House, owned by the Poland Spring company. The Maine State Building was built in 1893 for the World’s Fair in Chicago, brought back to Poland Spring by the Ricker family, and is now a museum of the history of Poland Spring Resort. The Poland Spring Bottling Museum is housed in the company’s original bottling plant and spring house, built around 1907. Admission to both the Maine State Building and All Souls Chapel is $10, $8 for seniors. Admission to the bottling museum is free. For more information, go to polandspringps.org.

The Maine State Building, built for the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair, is one of the Poland Spring Museums. Photo by Joe Gromelski

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