Maine is renowned for its arts and cultural offerings. Many organizations have found ingenious ways to engage audiences, from virtual tours to special performances. And Maine Public just announced the creation of a Maine Museum Portal to highlight exhibitions across the state at www.mainepublic.org/post/maine-publics-maine-museum-portal.

Here’s a showcase of four organizations that offer coronavirus workarounds.

A bigger museum coming for kids

The new Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine in Portland will be nearly double the size of the former location. Submitted illustration by Patrick Corrigan

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine exists to inspire discovery and imagination through exploration and play. And it’s growing: In early February, the museum and theatre announced the public launch of a $14-million campaign to fund construction of its new facility at Thompson’s Point in Portland. The 30,000-square-foot, three-story museum will be nearly double the size of the former location and feature the 100-seat Maddy’s Theatre, named for philanthropist Madeleine Corson’s mother.

While all in-person programming has been suspended, the museum offers daily online programming, including Facebook livestreaming of programs “At Home Together” (10:30 a.m.) and “Maine Youth Playwriting” (3:30 p.m.). A full schedule is available at www.kitetails.org/online.

In Augusta, a trove of state history

Maine State Militia Flag Canton, 1822, attributed to John Penniman, Boston, Massachusetts, on exhibit at the Maine State Museum through March 2021 in “Regional Struggle – National Story: Maine’s Path to Statehood.” Courtesy photo from MSM

The Maine State Museum in Augusta is one of the nation’s oldest state-funded museums. Its collections focus on the state’s pre-history, history, and natural science. Permanent exhibits include dioramas of Maine’s animals, birds, and plants in different ecosystems; gems and minerals; archaeological artifacts; and the History of Maine Labor mural painted by Judy Taylor. There’s even a working three-story water-powered woodworking mill. This year the museum focuses on the state’s bicentennial through different shows and exhibits.

Although the museum is closed, you can still take a virtual look at a few of its featured exhibitions’ high points and meet its curator, Angela Goebel-Bain, who shares insights and stories about “Regional Struggle – National Story: Maine’s Path to Statehood.”

Moving images in Bucksport

Executive Director David Weiss holds the sheet music for D. W. Griffith’s 1920 silent movie “Way Down East,” part of the Northeast Historic Film archives. Courtesy photo

This nonprofit archive in Bucksport is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing northern New England’s moving image heritage. Northeast Historic Film includes a three-story vault with 10 million-plus feet of film, a public study center, and the 140-seat Alamo Theater. Among its holdings are Maine home movies, 1936 color footage of Mahatma Gandhi in India by social philanthropist Adelaide Pearson of Blue Hill, and “Alpha Centauri,” a science fiction film made in 1967 by an eighth-grade class in Blue Hill.

The Alamo Theatre is closed until further notice, but its archives are up and operating as the small staff practices social distancing and diligent hygiene in shared spaces. They have set up an area for picking up and dropping off film and video. And when the theater reopens, it will feature a state-of-the-art inductive hearing loop that provides a magnetic, wireless signal, thanks to a grant from MaineCF’s Hancock County Fund.

Tours through time in Castine

This collage feature treasures in the Wilson Museum collection. Courtesy photo

The Wilson Museum in Castine opened in 1921 to house geologist Dr. John Howard Wilson’s collection gathered close to home and around the world. The campus has several buildings, including the John Perkins House, where visitors can learn about Colonial Castine and generations of the Perkins family who lived there. The village blacksmith shows what fire can create and the Pump House displays firefighting history.

Even when closed, the museum’s website offers a peek at some of its holdings, including a selection from “Treasures of the Past.”

In addition to sharing a passion for bringing the arts to Mainers of all ages, these four organizations have entrusted their long-term funds to the Maine Community Foundation. As of the beginning of this year, MaineCF manages funds for more than 260 nonprofits totaling nearly $100 million in charitable assets. Organizations from all 16 Maine counties hold agency funds at the community foundation and include public charities, public school districts, religious institutions, and charitable municipal funds. Says Liana Kingsbury, director of MaineCF’s nonprofit agency funds, “We are honored to be a resource for organizations whose collective mission is to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. Stewarding long-term charitable assets and offering access to our pooled investment portfolio is just another way MaineCF partners with nonprofits to achieve this mission.”

For more information about Maine Community Foundation, call (877) 700-6800, email [email protected] or find them on Facebook at www.facebook/mainecf.


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