A young museum visitor explores the Maine Maritime Museum exhibits. Children under 18 will now be able to enter the museum for free through December 2026. Photo courtesy of the Maine Maritime Museum

Children ages 17 and under can now visit the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath for free through the end of 2026.

Director of Development Rebecca Roche wrote the museum ultimately hopes eliminating admission fees for children will make the museum more accessible.

“We are committed to making the museum accessible to all, and we understand that admission fees are a barrier to many in our community,” Maine Maritime Museum Interim Executive Director Christopher Timm wrote in a statement. “We hope that welcoming children to visit the museum free of charge will provide more families with the opportunity to explore this special place. We are so grateful for Central Maine Power’s support of this important initiative.”

Prior to this change, which was supported financially by Central Maine Power, admission for children under 5 was free, ages 6-12 were $11 each, and ages 13 and up were $18 each.

Though the number of children that typically visit the museum fluctuates month-to-month, Roche said an estimated 5,000 kids and teens visit each year. In November 2021, 381 children visited the museum.

The museum estimated 30,000 children under 18 will visit the museum between now and December 2026, according to Roche.


“We hope this partnership will encourage more Mainers to visit the museum to learn about our deep and rich maritime heritage,” CMP President and CEO Joe Purington wrote in a statement. “CMP has a long history of giving back to our surrounding communities and we’ve enjoyed our relationship with the museum over the past few years.”

CMP also donated to the museum’s First Impressions Project in 2019, which helped redevelop the museum’s front entrance and south side of the campus, according to a news release from the museum. CMP’s donation supported an eco-friendly landscape by using LED lighting to illuminate its new outdoor section.

The museum also partnered with Museums for All, a national access program, to give free admission to visitors with an electronic benefit (EBT) transfer card.

Museums for All is a partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Association of Children’s Museums that aims to ensure that every family and child has access to a high-quality museum experience, regardless of economic standing.

Since the initiative launched in 2014, Museums for All has served more than 3 million visitors nationwide at more than 700 museums, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to a 2018 report from the program, dropping admission fees had only positive impacts on participating museums. Of the museums that responded to a survey, more than 25% reported increased attendance, membership subscriptions and development revenue, and 20% reported “significant shifts in visitor demographics.”


Roche said the museum has seen an “incredible response” from the community when the museum has taken on accessibility initiatives in the past, and the organization hopes this offer “makes all families feel welcome.”

The Maine Maritime Museum previously offered free admission to all visitors in January 2020 with a donation from the Davenport Trust in honor of Maine’s bicentennial.

“Maine has some of the most rich maritime heritage and culture in this country — let alone the world — and through this partnership with CMP we hope to connect more of our youth with the history of the land and waterways that surround them,” said Roche.

Founded in 1962, the Maine Maritime Museum on Washington Street in Bath delves into Maine’s maritime culture through dozens of indoor and outdoor exhibits. The 20-acre campus sits on the site of the former Percy and Small shipyard. The museum’s two latest installations — Arthur Beaumont: Art of the Sea, and Cotton Town: Maine’s Economic Connections to Slavery — are on view through spring 2022.

The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round.

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