Photograph of Rangeley Lakes Region, ca. 1890-1900, gift of Helen Moses Shaugnessy, 68.2515. Courtesy of Maine Maritime Museum

Maine Maritime Museum opened its new exhibition, “Upta Camp,” on Tuesday. The exhibit, which runs through November 2025, investigates the rise of Maine’s sporting and leisure camp tradition (mid-1800s through post-WWII) and how the state’s inland waterways have contributed to their popularity.

The exhibition will explore the various forms of transportation used to get individuals and families to rural camp locations, including lake-bound steamers; the types of activities available to visitors at camps, such as fishing and canoeing; and the architecture and amenities created by camps and their proprietors to produce a uniquely Maine experience.

Historic photograph of people in a canoe, Maine Maritime Museum Reference Collection. Courtesy of Maine Maritime Museum

“Associate curator Catherine Cyr’s substantial research grounds this exhibit,” Amanda Pleau, marketing and communications manager, said in a prepared release. “She dives deep into the origins of going ‘Upta Camp’ well before it was a catchphrase or the subject of a reality television show. It is our hope that visitors will take from this exhibit a better appreciation for the role of camps in shaping Maine’s identity as a popular travel destination.”

Executive Director Chris Timm said the museum has featured Maine lakes and rivers in many exhibits, including “Meeting the Boat: Steam Travel Along Maine Waters” and “Frozen Kingdom: Commerce & Pleasure in the Maine Winter.”

” … we are a maritime museum not on the ocean, but on a river, 12 miles inland,” he said. “We must always look inland and out to sea.”

In addition to historic artifacts on display, the exhibition will include a hands-on, kid-friendly cabin replica, complete with reading nook, kitchenette and fly-tying imagination station.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.