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Meet Maine here.

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Meet Maine here.

Museum Updates

Update from the Museum – January 4, 2021

What is Going on Here?

Museum worker wearing a mask replaces an artifact in an exhibit.

Linda Carrell, recently retired conservation specialist, carefully removes a large piece of flaked stone, worked 3,500 years ago, from the 12,000 Years in Maine exhibition. All of the artifacts in the exhibition have been packed and stored off-site during the two-year construction project in the museum.

Many are asking this question, and sometimes, we on the museum staff have to ask it ourselves! Basically, the Maine State Museum, Maine State Library, and Maine State Archives were all forced to close in July this year when a catastrophic failure in the building’s aged cooling system brought high summer temperatures to our public spaces and made those spaces unfit for public use. The complexities of the system’s replacement, estimated at over $7 million, is made more difficult by the need to first abate asbestos throughout the building’s mechanical rooms and systems. The work required is difficult, time-consuming, and will mean a closure of the building for at least two years.

How about the Museum Exhibits and Collections – Will they be Safe?

We’ve heard that question from you a lot! The short answer is yes, the collections and exhibits will be safe. In some cases, they will be carefully wrapped to protect them from harm during the construction project. In other cases, museum staff and contractors will carefully move the museum collections out of the building to off-site storage. Organizing and carrying out this collections move is a major focus of staff work now and throughout the next six months.

And how about Museum Staff? What is Happening to Them?

This is another question we’ve often heard! All museum staff are working hard, organizing collections moves; working with the architects and engineers to make sure that the museum’s best interests are served throughout the project; planning for museum exhibit upgrades when the museum re-opens; developing on-line programs; putting the museum’s collections database on-line for public use; working with educators to meet new needs for remote learning; and continuing to receive collections donations. We can honestly say that we have never been busier! In addition, later this winter, we will be temporarily moving our staff offices.

Keeping in Touch

These next two years of the museum’s closure will bring many challenges. One of the biggest will be keeping in touch with you, the thousands of people around the state who have been regular visitors, supporters, and donors. We are committed to providing information to you, continuing to share the museum’s great collections and exhibits, providing fun and educational learning opportunities, and remaining the best place for you to meet Maine.

Maine State Museum