The entrance of the “SeaChange” exhibit. Maria Skillings / The Times Record

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath partnered with Gulf of Maine EcoArts to build an immersive oceanic exhibit, highlighting climate change and the hidden fish oasis called Cashes Ledge — an underwater mountain range located 70 miles off the coast of Maine.

Over 20 Maine painters, potters, photographers, videographers, composers, filmmakers and woodworkers have contributed to the underwater seascape. The exhibit, “SeaChange: Darkness and Light in the Gulf of Maine,” feels like an educational theme park ride, wading through the Gulf of Maine and exposing threats to its ecosystem, shining a light on people trying to save the planet and what hope there is for the future.

Walking into the exhibit, you immediately notice the audio track of whales, dolphins and narwhals chatting during their annual migration filling the entire space. It is fitting when you see the giant right whale sculpture suspended from the ceiling above, made entirely out of recycled materials. The creature is shrouded in red light and surrounded by canvases depicting natural disasters, overfishing and facts about climate change.

The exhibit celebrates activists of the planet. Maria Skillings / The Times Record

As you make your way through the darkness and latch onto the fact that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 96% of the world’s ocean, you feel a wave of relief stepping into the next part of the exhibit. You are greeted by a forest of fabric kelp, illuminated by glowing jellyfish and plankton sculptures that are suspended from above. You’ll then find a trail of paintings and quotes from famous activists like Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg and Rachel Carson lining the walls to inspire you. The bold use of color and active facial expressions will make you smile.

Filled with inspiration, this is where the exhibit introduces you to Cashes Ledge with a 16-foot, 3D structure of the highest point of the ledge, called Ammen Rock. The sculpture dazzles with paintings of colorful fish and detailed mollusk and coral ceramic pieces.

The highlight of the exhibit is a peek at underwater footage from the ledge, displayed on screens in a spiral formation, creating the illusion of a scuba diving experience. Those inspired by the exhibit can sign a petition to help protect Cashes Ledge for future generations.

The collaboration between the museum and EcoLabs brings an engaging educational element to the exhibit using reading material, video footage and crafts. In the museum’s education center, guests can build a sea creature of their choice using recycled materials and put it on display.

The show opened in February and runs through the end of the year.

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Dozens of guests have built their own sea creatures with recycled materials. Maria Skillings / The Times Record

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