Historic photos will focus on New England’s maritime heritage

PORTLAND – A new exhibit of maritime photographs will open at the Maine Historical Society’s Center for Maine History Museum on Friday, Feb. 20.

Called “The Camera’s Coast: Historic Photographs of Maritime New England,” the exhibit features more than 60 historic images chosen by Maine scholar Bill Bunting from the collections of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.

It also will include historic artifacts such as ship models, nautical instruments, paintings and other materials from the historical society’s collections to provide insights into Maine’s maritime history.

“Beginning with the earliest period of European settlement in the 1600s until today, the sea has fundamentally influenced the lives of the people of Maine and New England,” said John Mayer, museum curator.

“Over time, with changes in technology, economics and natural resources, the nature of this relationship has been remade, but it still dominates our experiences and shapes our sense of New England and its history.”

Taken between the 1870s and 1920s, the photographs provide a vivid look at maritime activities that were common during this period when ships and the sea were a vital part of the New England economy.

Included are views of dockworkers and fishermen unloading their catch from Grand Banks fishing schooners, as well as images of shipwrights and carpenters repairing or building vessels.

Views of steam-powered ferries, three-masted ships, fishing schooners and trawlers, and recreational sailboats show the range of activities along the New England coast.

The exhibit will run through May 30. The Center for Maine History Museum, 489 Congress St., is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Beginning May 2, it also will be open Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.) Information about the museum is available at (207) 774-1822 or at www.mainehistory.org.

The admission is adults, $4; children ages 5 to 17, $2.00; and free for historical society members.

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