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“Fascinating shipbuilding history” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Maine Maritime Museum

Maine Maritime Museum
Ranked #1 of 18 things to do in Bath
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Maine Maritime Museum is located on a beautiful 20-acre campus on the banks of the Kennebec River in Bath, Maine. Indoors, visitors enjoy air-conditioned galleries with exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages. Outdoors, visitors can join a guided tour or stroll through the historic Percy & Small shipyard and see how many of the world's largest wooden sailing ships were built, learn about lobstering in the Maine Coast and Lobstering Exhibit, enjoy lunch under the towering sculpture of the schooner Wyoming (the largest wooden sailing vessel built in North America), watch wooden boats being built in the Museum boat ship, or play on a pirate ship. Seasonally, visitors can get the best view of the area's lighthouses and spectacular scenery on daily cruise boats, learn the story of Bath Iron Works from shipyard insiders who then guide a windshield tour of views of the shipyard, and tour the Victorian-era home of the Donnel shipbuilding family.
Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
92 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Fascinating shipbuilding history”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 28, 2013

I visited the Maine Maritime Museum on an off-day from a consulting project I was on in the area near Bath. Since I knew of Bath's long history of shipbuilding, I was hoping to find something interesting in the town that would speak to that craft, both in the past and in the present day. The museum turned out to be that destination.

The museum sits on the grounds of the former Percy & Small Shipyard, in what amounts to a residential neighborhood along the banks of the Kennebec River. Close by is the famous Bath Iron Works. The museum touts itself as one of the last remaining, intact shipyards that built large wooden sailing vessels. Many of the craft buildings have been preserved on the site, and a pair of large metal "skeleton" sculptures - approximating the size of the "Wyoming" (one of the premier sailing vessels to have been built there) - holds a prominent spot on the grounds where she would have been constructed.

The various craft buildings and boat houses are quite interesting to tour, and much of them are exhibited as they would have been during the height of shipbuilding operations. The building that was of greatest interest to me was the design building, where you could fully appreciate how the drafts, models, and templates were created. There was an interesting lobster exhibit in one of the boathouses. Also, the Grand Banks schooner, "Sherman Zweicker", is moored on a pier that can be toured. Around on the other side of the main museum building, a smaller building houses the wreckage of the "Snow Squall", a famous clipper ship that was recovered and brought back to Bath.

Tours of the Bath Iron Works shipyard are available, and highly recommended. Cameras are not allowed on those tours, so all the quite interesting sights as United States Navy vessels are being built have to remain in one's memory banks.

During my visit, there was also a featured exhibit in a gallery in the main museum building that highlighted the naval history of the War of 1812. Among the very interesting artifacts from that era was an original letter of marque and reprisal signed by President Madison. As a fan and student of history, that document alone was almost worth the price of admission.

Speaking of admission, the rates are very fair and reasonable. That would make it easy for families to visit. I will say, though, that while the museum does have a few attractions and rides to keep young children entertained, the museum probably is not something that young children would truly appreciate.

The museum grounds are much like a park. While they do have some paved or dirt paths that link some of the buildings, my observation was that it would be somewhat difficult for wheelchair-bound guests to get around and access some of the buildings. However, the main museum building is completely accessible and easy to move around.

Overall, as far as attractions go in coastal Maine, this was a very good place to visit and spend a couple of hours. You will learn quite a bit about the craft - make that art - of shipbuilding, and come away with a better appreciation for the work that went into crafting beautiful seagoing vessels.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank Generic90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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447 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Brunswick, Maine
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A look into Maines past”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 20, 2013

Located in Bath Maine, this museum is colorful, interactive and full of open spaces..........there is room for little ones to run, and enough to keep anyone interested, there are exibits inside and out and that makes this a wonderful place to visit if you are going to be in Bath

Thank Marie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
148 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
“not to be missed in Bath”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2013

This is a small museum, but very beautifully organized. It's full of many types of educational materials, with models, paintings, curios etc from Bath's very famous marine history. I went in winter, so the outdoor exhibits were not open. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my visit. They allow people to return a second day, which is a nice option if you feel that you're getting tired and rushing through. They have a very nice gift shop, with a nice array of books, souvenirs and items suitable for children. Unfortunately, they don't have a coffee shop. I would recommend, The Cabin Restaurant, for handmade pizza, down the street back towards Bath, opposite the Bath Iron Works.

Visited December 2012
Thank kits0u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walpole, Maine, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Enjoyed our visit.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2012

Took my brother who is an and engineer who visited from western NY for TG. He was very impressed and would like to return. It"s a bit overwhelming on a short visit,

Visited November 2012
Thank Carolyn R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Well worth the stop!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 2, 2012

We were unsure what we would find at this museum, but were fascinated by the large cranes and ships nearby. We loved it! It was so interesting to learn the story of ship building, and to live the lives of the ship builders. How did they ever do it? The creativity of man, the hard labor involved, the risks taken to do their job, were just mind boggling. You'll be glad you stopped.

Visited October 2012
Thank dhplanome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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