Boy, Does Maine Have An Alarming Number of Weird Museums
I came across a NECN article recently about an investigation into the DNA of some shipwreck bones that may belong to the late and infamous Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy off the coast of Cape Cod. That alone is pretty badass, but what really struck me is that there's apparently a whole Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth, MA! It reminded me of Thompson's Point's Cryptozoology Museum, and got me wondering how many other bizarro museums we have in Maine to explore. Turns out, there's quite a few - many of which are just a road trip away! Have you visited any of these curious attractions?
1) The Moxie Museum, Lisbon Falls
Tucked away in Lisbon Falls is a soda museum dedicated to Maine's most (in)famous beverage: Moxie! Curator Frank Anicetti has gathered all the Moxie swag you could think of, and then some.
2) Telephone Museum, Ellsworth
For those of us who remember the era of landlines, this museum will bring back sweet, sweet memories of playing with the cord and not knowing who was calling until you answered. From Strowger Automatic Systems, which were the gold standard switchboard from the 1880s, to a Crossbar model that was still used in Maine as recently as the 1980s, there’s a load of telephonic iterations to explore, as well as some cool antique pieces.
3) Fawcett’s Toy Museum, Waldoboro
Be forewarned: this place is more of a museum for looking at toys than playing with them. It's not a kids' museum. It’s a loving, carefully curated tribute to the movies, radio, television and books from the pre-digital days of the 20th century. Strikes me as a waste of good toys to play with, but it's probably right up Jeff's nostalgic alley.
4) L.C. Bates Museum, Hinckley
This museum was created as part of the Good Will Home founded by George Walter Hinckley and boasts an eclectic collection of culture and natural history. Among its oddities are a handful of terrifying taxidermies, so you can channel your inner Kendall.
5) The Umbrella Cover Museum, Peaks Island
Nancy Hoffman started this museum when she realized that so many umbrella covers were tossed aside by visitors, and she kept them for no real reason. The museum is "dedicated to the appreciation of the mundane in everyday life. It is about finding wonder and beauty in the simplest of things, and about knowing that there is always a story behind the cover."
6) The Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport
As the largest electric railway museum in the world(!), the Seashore Trolley Museum has vehicles from just about every state that has or has had a railway system! And they're not all just sitting there getting dusty; there are always interactive events and exhibits!
7) Musical Wonderhouse, Wiscasset
This museum housed in an old sea captain's mansion has 5,000 chiming, singing mechanical music machines including music boxes, player pianos and organs, spring-powered phonographs, musical birds, porcelains, furniture, clocks, steins, whistlers, and a musical painting. What's not to love about this toe-tapping (albeit potentially creepy) collection?!
8) Maine Coast Sardine History Museum, Jonesport
Ever wanted to know more about the industry of sardines? There's a museum for that. Founded back in 1875, the Maine Coast Sardine History Museum is dedicated to keeping the information alive, including a wall of scissors used by sardine packers and a ferris wheel of canned fish. I cannot speak to the smell of the museum.
Leave it to Maine to come up with some mighty creative ways to attract tourists far and wide. This likely isn't an all-encompassing list of our weird attractions -- where else should visitors venture for a weird but good time?