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Abbe Museum
Abbe Downtown Peter Vanderwarker.jpg
Abbe Museum is located in Maine
Abbe Museum
Location in Maine
Abbe Museum is located in the United States
Abbe Museum
Location in the United States
Nearest city Bar Harbor, Maine
Area 0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
Built 1928 (1928)
Architect Gilchrist, Edmund B.; Shea Brothers
NRHP reference No. 83000451
Added to NRHP January 19, 1983

The Abbe Museum is a museum with two locations in Bar Harbor, Maine, on Mount Desert Island. The museum is dedicated to exploring the history and culture of Maine's Native people, the Wabanaki. It has one location at 26 Mount Desert Street in the center of Bar Harbor, and a second location at Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park. The Sieur de Monts building is an architecturally distinctive structure, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the state's first purpose-built museum buildings, and as a rare example in the state of Mediterranean architecture.

The museum was formerly led by CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, who has been an advocate for decolonizing museums. In 2020, the Abbe board of trustees hired Passamaquoddy tribal citizen Chris Newell to lead the museum under the dual role of Executive Director and Sr. Partner to Wabanaki Nations.

Collections

The museum collections include a large number of artifacts fashioned during prehistoric and historic times by Native Americans and by Europeans who began arriving in the area in the early 17th century. Stone artifacts include projectile (arrow and spear) points; bone artifacts include harpoons, hooks, combs, and a rare flute that may be as much as 2,000 years old. Also included are large number of baskets, and a powder horn attributed to the Penobscot chief Orono. The core of the collection was made the pioneering radiologist Robert Abbe, who retired to Mount Desert Island after becoming enfeebled by the long-term effects of radiation exposure.

Architecture

The Sieur de Monts building was designed by Edmund M. Gilchrist, and was completed in 1928. Stylistically it has elements of both the Spanish Colonial Revival and the Italian Renaissance, and has a unique octagonal space specifically designed in consultation with Dr. Abbe to house his collections. It is believed to be the only non-domestic example of Mediterranean architecture in the state, and was its first purpose-built museum building.

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