Museums display Portland's rich heritage

Portland is an area so rich in history and culture, it is difficult to pinpoint the top ten museums which best interpret this city's character and contributions to the American experience.  However, several museums stand out in this regard.  Some are very familiar to locals and visitors alike. For instance, the Portland Museum of Art has long been celebrated for its impressive holdings of both American and international works by masters from throughout the world. Others, like the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, are regarded as hidden gems which, nonetheless, are well worth visiting. Several of the best museums examine lesser known, but still compelling, aspects of Portland and Maine culture. Consider, for instance, a recent display at the Maine Historical Society highlighting the many snowshoe clubs throughout Maine that were established by French Canadian immigrants. Meanwhile, at the Owls Head Transportation Museum, gear heads will enjoy an impressive collection of pioneer automobiles, airplanes, and engines that are in mint condition. Also worth visiting is the Museums of Old York which offers glimpses into the early colonial settlements of Maine, as well as the Pine Tree State's efforts to establish a just penal system. No matter what your tastes or preferences, Portland's museums are well worth exploring for young and old alike.

Maine Maritime Museum
Photo courtesy of Maine Maritime Museum


The Maine Maritime Museum, which also now includes the Portland Harbor Museum, provides visitors with a comprehensive and compelling chronicle of Maine's rich ship building legacy. It's fitting that this museum is located in Bath, home of the...  Read More

The Saco Museum
Photo courtesy of The Saco Museum


This museum does an admirable job of telling the story of south coastal Maine's growth and prominence through entertaining exhibits and artifacts. The floor plan of this historical museum is well designed. As visitors enter, for instance, they...  Read More

The Museum at Portland Head Light
Photo courtesy of The Museum at Portland Headlight


The Museum at Portland Head Light is situated on one of the most scenic sections of the Portland shoreline. Located in Cape Elizabeth, less than a half hour drive south of Portland, this museum is contained within the former keeper's quarters of...  Read More

Museums of Old York
Photo courtesy of Museums of Old York


The Museums of Old York represent one of the most comprehensive and intriguing collections of homes which detail the origins of York's rich three century history. The museums consist of nine historic buildings, beautiful gardens, and a...  Read More

Tate House Museum
Photo courtesy of Tate House Museum


As one of Portland's few pre-Revolutionary War homes open to the public, the Tate House Museums offers a fascinating glimpse into colonial Maine life and society. This well preserved Georgian-style home was built in 1755 for Captain George Tate,...  Read More

Owls Head Transportation Museum
Photo courtesy of Owls Head Transportation Museum


Fans of early automobiles and aircraft will find much to like about the Owls Head Transportation Museum. This museum features several rare examples of pioneer age cars and airplanes preserved in mint condition. Visitors who explore the museum's...  Read More

Maine Historical Society
Photo courtesy of Maine Historical Society


The Maine Historical Society Museum in Portland offers a fascinating, comprehensive retrospective of more than four hundred years of Maine history. Its collections feature over 15,000 artifacts that extensively depict every aspect of life in the...  Read More

Portland Museum Of Art
Photo courtesy of Portland Museum of Art


The Portland Museum of Art has rightfully earned its place as one of the nation's premier art museums. This museum's wide, spacious and well lit interior invites visitors to explore and linger over its vast collections of distinguished works....  Read More

Children's Museum Of Maine
Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Maine


Looking to spend a few fun filled hours with your children during your stay in Portland? Then the Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine should be near the top of your "things to do" list. This expansive facility features a wealth of exhibits...  Read More

Ogunquit Museum of American Art
Photo courtesy of Ogunquit Museum of American Art


Open from early May until early November, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art offers two impressive highlights for visitors: a first-rate collection of holdings and one of the most scenic locations on the southern Maine coast. This is...  Read More