Abbe Museum at Sieur de Monts Spring

220px-Dr._Robert_AbbeThe Robert Abbe Museum of Stone Age Antiquities [1] was founded by Dr. Robert Abbe in 1926, designed by Edmund B. Gilchrist, and opened a few months after its founder’s death in 1928 [2].  Dr. Robert Abbe’s intention was to display his own and other local archaeologists’s (both amateur and professional) collections of local artifacts [3][4][5]; Dr. Abbe is considered one of Maine’s first amateur archaeologists.

When designing the museum, Dr. Abbe uniquely envisioned a museum geared towards the enjoyment and education of tourists and vacationers [6] [7]. To achieve his goal, Dr. Abbe desired a single-room museum and commissioned Gilchrist who was working on Dr. William Otis Sawtelle’s personal museum (now the Acadia National Park Museum) at the time [8].

When entered onto the National Register of Historic Places, along with its relationship to one of Maine’s early archaeologists, the Abbe Museum was thought to be one of only a few “non-domestic Mediterranean” buildings in Maine [9]. The Mediterranean style itself—incorporating Spanish and Italian elements—was popular in the United States in the early 1900’s [10] but with only a few examples in the New England area.

abbe-museum-at-sieur

Today, with a 1967 addition designed by Robert B. Patterson [11] and expansion to a separate building in downtown Bar Harbor [12], the Abbe Museum now focuses on educating the public about the heritage of the local Wabanaki people [13][14]. With this expansion from archaeological collections to include ethnographic information, the Abbe Museum now houses the “largest and best” [15] collection of Maine Native American baskets and an overall collection that according to the Abbe Museum “represents 10,000 years of Maine Native American culture and history.”

By Marisa Higgins

Footnotes

[1] NRHP #83000451

[2] “History of the Abbe Museum”.

[3] “History of the Abbe Museum”.

[4] NRHP #83000451

[5] “Art: Mr. Blaney of Ironbound, and his Distinguished Friends.” The Downeast Dilettante: Tales & Opinions From Maine Regarding Architecture, Art, Books, Design, Landscape, & Occasional Whims. June 27, 2010.http://thedowneastdilettante.blogspot.com/2010/06/art-down-east-mr-blaney-of-ironbound.html

[6] NRHP #83000451

[7] NRHP #83000451

[8] “Three Little Buildings.” The Downeast Dilettante: Tales & Opinions From Maine Regarding Architecture, Art, Books, Design, Landscape, & Occasional Whims. February 7, 2013. http://thedowneastdilettante.blogspot.com/2013/02/today-class-lets-concern-ourselves-with.html

[9] NRHP #83000451

[10] “Italian Villas on the Maine Coast: Partying with Atwater Kent.” The Downeast Dilettante: Tales & Opinions From Maine Regarding Architecture, Art, Books, Design, Landscape, & Occasional Whims. February 25, 2010.http://thedowneastdilettante.blogspot.com/2010/02/italian-villas-on-maine-coast-glamorous.html

[11] NRHP #83000451

[12] “History of the Abbe Museum”.

[13] “History of the Abbe Museum”.

[14] Lenahan, Don. “A Memorial Walk: Bar Harbor to Sieur de Monts”. The Memorial of Acadia National Park. June 24, 2012.

http://acadiamemorials.blogspot.com/2012/06/memorial-walk-bar-harbor-to-sieur-de.html

[15] “History of the Abbe Museum”.

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