The Abbe Museum continued its partnership with Acadia National Park and Dawnland, LLC in 2016 to offer the popular Cultural Connections in the Park program series. Featuring more than a dozen Wabanaki artists, this series provided visitors with the opportunity to learn about Wabanaki history, culture, and traditions—from the perspectives of contemporary Wabanaki people. Each visitor was not only invited to learn about the Wabanaki and their deep-rooted connection to their homelands, but also how collaboration plays an important role in the preservation of culture.

Penobscot jewelry designers and artists Jason and Donna Brown, owners of the label Decontie & Brown, launched the season at the Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center with a demonstration of their techniques and explained what informs their artistic process.

Eldon Hanning, Mi’kmaq, demonstrated the intense labor involved in ash preparation and utility basketmaking.

Martha Newell, Passamaquoddy, returned to demonstrate contemporary beadworking styles and techniques.

John Dennis, Mi’kmaq musician and storyteller, entertained and informed audiences on the Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center lawn.

Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, demonstrated the labor intensive process of preparing ash and showed firsthand how his beautiful and functional utility baskets are created.

Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot, shared with audiences how she crafts both fine baskets and intricate beadwork.

Sarah Sockbeson, Penobscot, returned to demonstrate the detailed process of fancy basketmaking on the lawn at Jordan Pond House.

Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy, treated audiences at the Jordan Pond House to samples of traditional Passamaquoddy recipes.

Gina Brooks, Maliseet, works in many art forms, including pen and ink, acrylic paint, ash baskets, quillwork, moosehair embroidery, and countless more. She demonstrated her wide-ranging work over the course of a week as part of an artist-in-residence program at both Sieur de Monts Spring and the Schoodic section of the Park.

Gerald “Butch” Jacobs, Passamaquoddy, returned to demonstrate the traditional Passamaquoddy method of ash preparation that thoroughly captivated visitors.

An extra special program to help celebrate the Acadia Centennial was the Transformer Tales: Stories of the Dawnland performance put on by the Penobscot Theatre Company in collaboration with the Penobscot Nation. Part of their youth theater program involved both Wabanaki and non-Native students, and the performance interpreted Wabanaki oral traditions in a blend of Penobscot and English. It was hosted in the spectacular 1932 Criterion Theatre, relocated from Blackwoods Campground due to weather.

Annual favorite Burnurwurbskek Singers, a Penobscot men’s drum group, wrapped up the season from the top of Cadillac Mountain.

This program series was made possible through the generous support of Dawnland, LLC and Acadia National Park.