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Maine Maritime Museum Plans Update of "Lobstering and the Maine Coast"

Maine Maritime Museum Wall of Buoys

The MLA board of directors before the exhibit's wall of buoys at the Maine Maritime Museum. MLA photo.

On June 5 Maine Maritime Museum had the pleasure of hosting the Maine Lobsterman’s Association (MLA) Board of Directors for their monthly meeting. The MLA Board toured the “Lobstering & the Maine Coast” exhibit and offered feedback on how the exhibit can be updated with relevant and up-to-date information. “Lobstering & the Maine Coast” is housed in a 6,200-square-foot, two-story building on the Museum’s campus. The exhibit opened in 2015 and was developed with expertise from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and others.

The two-story "Lobstering and the Maine Coast" exhibit opened in 2015. MMM Photo.

L to r: Former board member Elliott Thomas, Craig Stewart, MMM curator Chris Timms, and museum director Amy Lent. MLA photo.

MLA Board members suggested several additional concepts for the exhibit that the Maine Maritime Museum looks forward to adding in the months ahead. One new item will be near the entrance to the exhibit, where the history of the lobster trap is told, from early lath variants to the modern welded mesh trap. The museum will add an interactive display that explains the welded mesh trap in greater detail. What are its components? What are its characteristics? And what is it like to open one up time after time? In the lower level of the exhibit, a century of changes in lobster boat design is documented through our historical working watercraft collection. This is complemented by a number of videos that show modern lobster boats under construction and in action. We will add information that answer questions such as what are the key mechanical and technological components on a modern lobster boat? We plan on displaying equipment, from pot haulers to VHF, that will educate our visitors about the tools of the trade

Jay and Sue Smith

The exhibit currently displays a wall of buoys donated by lobstermen from throughout the coast. Using a touch-screen kiosk, visitors can view photos and information related to each buoy, including the lobsterman’s name, location, boat name and, in some cases, personal stories contributed by the lobsterman. Our intent is to constantly add more stories from the men and women who fish as ongoing documentation of the lobster fishery. To do so we will need help from all Maine lobstermen to expand both the buoy wall and kiosk.

“Lobstering & the Maine Coast” portrays lobstermen’s increasingly complex roles as harvester-scientist-entrepreneurs, and the skills needed to transport, market, and profit from a perishable seafood. We hope to add to the exhibit materials that reflect contemporary issues in the fishery, including how the industry—and more importantly, individuals—navigate complex regulations and changing ecological conditions

Maine Maritime Museum plans to phase in these updates, and others, through 2020. We would love to hear your thoughts. Please contact me at

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