Visitors can witness and honor the past at the Maine State Museum in Augusta. Renowned as the Maine's largest history museum, it provides visitors with a clear-cut picture about the Maine's natural and human histories.
The museum exhibits a collection of items related to geology, biology, archaeology, ethnography, and history. Noteworthy among them are archaeological and ethnographic collections that include materials dating from the first Native Americans in the area (circa 12,000 B.C.) and large groups of crafts, including baskets, basket-making tools, beadwork, and birch bark objects.
The biological section includes mounted specimens especially Maine's birds and such smaller items as shells, eggs, and insects.
The historical section covers all areas of human activities. A superb collection includes:
Maine-made woodworking tools,
Maine-related furniture, ranging from a simple turned chair to an elaborate Renaissance Revival bedroom set,
silver, pewter, and glass, and
such archive materials as diaries, journals, account books, newspapers, thousand of images (photographs and negatives), and ephemera representing the State's past.
The museum's exhibit areas include clothing, non-costume textiles, toys and recreational artifacts, and building components.
In addition, the museum holdings include a collection of Maine's flags - battle and parade standards from the Civil War to the Gulf War, an 1812 militia banner, ceremonial flags, governmental flags, house flags, a Japanese friendship flag, nautical and maritime flags, political banners, temperance banners from the 1840s through the 1860s, and the Stars and Stripes.
Permanent exhibits feature natural history scenes; origins of Maine's resource-based industries and agriculture; a variety of home, shop, mill, and factory settings, complemented by displays of Maine-made products; gemstones including tourmaline, aquamarine, morganite, smoky quartz, rose quartz, and amethyst; an 1840s water-powered woodworking mill; history, development, and manufacturing of a variety of different types of glass made and used in Maine; a Paleo-Indian meat cache, a reconstruction of an archaeological dig, and more than 2,000 artifacts and specimens dating from the end of the Ice Age through the 1800s.
Replicas of artifacts from King Phillip's War in 1675, Maine's English, French and Native Americans engaged in their long military struggle; disease, supply shortages, and the ravages of warfare also are on display.
Metal stencil plates created around 1870, rare collections of 238 silhouette portraits made by Galen Jerome Brewer of Brewer, Maine; stained and leaded glass items from Maine homes, businesses and churches; and examples of tools used to create these works of art, are part of the newer exhibits.
The museum also offers educational programs and research activities for groups, by appointment. Items related to museum's collection are available from the museum store.