2017 At a Glance

  • 11,134  individuals impacted by the Abbe's programs
  • 11 tours were given, reaching 373 visitors traveling via cruise ships and tour buses
  • 32 schools, 1,813 students, and 74 teachers were educated by Abbe staff
  • 14 dialogue-based programs
  • 153 programs held at the Museum
  • 23 programs held outside the Museum
  • 10 programs presented inside Acadia National Park drew a total of 1,800 visitors

Teacher Workshop

In November 2016, our Director of Collections & Research participated in a teacher in-service day for the MDIRSS, focusing on resources available for teaching about the Wabanaki in K-12 classrooms. Tools for evaluating resources were also discussed. This training was part of more extensive ongoing work the Abbe is doing with the school district to more effectively integrate Wabanaki studies into the social studies curriculum.


March on Mount Desert Street

The Abbe joined our Mount Desert Street neighbors to host a segment of the annual March on Mount Desert St. community gathering in March, 2017. Students from Conners-Emerson School performed a short play at the museum, followed by a progressive dinner at the YWCA, St. Saviour’s Church, Jesup Memorial Library, and the Congregational Church.


School Groups and Organizations

The Abbe education Team worked with a wonderful variety of schools and organizations across Maine to further learning about the Wabanaki. Some of these groups came to the Museum, while others welcomed Abbe staff into their school and communities.

Acadia National Park
Acadia Senior College
American Alliance of Museums
American Association for State and Local History
Arctic Council
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co
Beech Hill School
Belfast Homeschool Coop
Belfast Public Library
Blue Hill School
Boston University
Brooklin School
Brunswick School
Bucksport School
Children’s Museum of Maine
Coastal Studies of Girls, Freeport
Cobscook Experiential Program for High School Students, Trescott
College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor
Daughters of the American Revolution
Dawnland LLC
Downeast Fisheries Trail
Downeast Institute
Ellsworth Elementary and Middle School
Elm Street School
Ft. O’Brien School
George B. Weatherbee School, Hampden
Girl Scouts of America
Granite YMCA, New Hampshire
Holbrook School
Lamoine School
Lincoln Academy
Leadership Maine
Lexington- Montessori School
Maine Antique Dealers Association
Maine Archives and Museums, Maine Museums Day
Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance
Maine Indian Education
Maine Council for Social Studies
Mast Landing School, Freeport

Messaonkee High School
Mount Desert Island Regional Schools
Portland Public Schools
Pemetic School
Peninsula School
San Diego Museum of Man
Trenton School
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Southern Maine
Woodlawn Museum



Lecture on Decolonizing Museums

Dr. Amy Lonetree, Ho-Chunk, gave a free lecture on Decolonizing Museums: New Directions, Ongoing Challenges at the Abbe on February 1, 2017. Lonetree is a leading scholar on Indigenous history, visual culture studies, museum studies, and decolonization.

“We are incredibly honored that Amy is giving this talk at the Museum, especially since decolonization has been our touchstone and guiding principle for many years,” said Abbe President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “We’ve been a resource and a model that the museum field turns to for ideas, solutions, and strategies for comprehensive museum decolonization.”

As applied to the relationship of institutions such as museums to the Native people of the United States, “decolonization” means, at a minimum, sharing authority for the documentation and interpretation of Native culture. Traditional museum practices of exhibiting, collecting, and programming have informed the collective memories of museum-goers while dehumanizing Native history and creating colonizing museum spaces. Emotional, spiritual, and physical harm is done when these colonized spaces and practices are not acknowledged and addressed. As explained by Lonetree in her 2012 book Decolonizing Museums, “Museums can be very painful sites for Native peoples, as they are intimately tied to the colonization process.” 

Lonetree’s talk focused on the current state of contemporary exhibition practice with, by, and for Native Americans at both national and tribal museums. Central to her analysis is exploring how museums can serve as sites of decolonization by privileging Indigenous knowledge and worldview, challenging the stereotypical representations of Native people produced in the past, and discussing the hard truths of colonization in exhibitions in an effort to promote healing and understanding.  

“As a scholar focusing on the history of the relationship between Indigenous communities and museums, I am heartened to see the amazing work happening at the Abbe Museum,” said Lonetree. “Their willingness to discuss the knowledge they have gained with other museum professionals is impressive, and I would be honored to assist them in these endeavors based on my academic background in museum studies and Native American history. I am confident that the important conversations that take place at the Museum will enable all to arrive at new understandings of how best to move forward with efforts to decolonize museums.”


Basketmaking Workshops

The summer of 2017 featured two workshops led by accomplished Wabanaki artists. Molly Neptune Parker, Passamaquoddy, offered a two-day fancy basket workshop, and Gabriel Frey, Passamaquoddy, offered a two-day utility basket workshop, providing visitors with an opportunity to get hands-on experience with the two main styles of Wabanaki basketmaking.


Outreach Programs

In what has become an annual favorite, Starr Kelly shared Wabanaki stories of the night sky on an Acadia Night Sky Festival cruise with Bar Harbor Whale Watch in September.

Julia Gray, director of collections & research at the Abbe, gave a talk at the Belfast Free Library in May about the ways in which the Abbe has been building collaborative relationships with Wabanaki people and communities, leading up to the decolonization work that guides the Museum today. Examples of collaboration through collections, exhibits, and programs were viewed through a framework of decolonizing museum practice and connected to the broader work of decolonization in contemporary American society. 

In April, Starr Kelly, Curator of Education, and Angela Raup, Manager of Guest Experience, participated in College of the Atlantic's annual Earth Day celebration. While this student-run event varies from year to year, visitors can be sure to find a day filled with knowledgeable speakers, interesting workshops, tasty food, and foot-tapping music.