121 Ferry Road, Swan’s Island
The Swan’s Island Lobster and Marine Museum tells the story of commercial fishing in Maine, through the history of fishing on Swan’s Island. It is history unearthed and preserved by two brothers, Theodore (Ted) and Galen Turner, who lived on Swan’s Island their entire lives. As they worked on and around boats, Ted and Galen became aware of the rich maritime history of their community, and of the fact that it was rapidly disappearing. Over a couple decades of preservation work, they searched out models and artifacts from island attics, talked to island old-timers, dived in the harbor to retrieve old equipment, restored old motors, built models, and researched newspapers and historical archives for details about fishing and boat building in their community. The Turner brothers had an extraordinary depth of knowledge about the artifacts they gathered, and about the men and women who depended on the sea for a livelihood.
At the Museum, you can trace the history of fishermen, fishing and boat building; learn about fishing for cod, haddock, mackerel, halibut, swordfish, herring and lobster from vessels as diverse as schooners and sailboats, wherries and chebaccos, pinkies, steamships and early power boats, including one of the last hand-made wooden lobster boats on the island. An hour spent at the museum learning about the Swan’s Island lobster and marine heritage is an unforgettable experience. The museum is entirely supported by volunteers who celebrate the legacy of the Turner brothers. There is no fee but donations are gratefully accepted.
207-526-4423 or 207-526-4282 | swansislandmarinemuseum.org
Seasonal (June-Sept) Mon-Fri from 11-3 or year-round by appointment. Museum is 100 yards from Swan’s Island Ferry Dock. Donations. Parking. Restrooms (not handicap accessible). Gift shop.
Sources & Links
Burnt Coat Harbor Lighthouse Also a site on the Downeast Fisheries Trail
A great short history of the lighthouse and island fisheries: Burnt Coat Harbor Light Station, Swan’s Island, Maine, by John M. Bryan with Oral Histories and Archival Photography by Donna A. Wiegle
Swan’s Island: Six Miles East of Ordinary, Maine Memory Network online exhibit
Swan’s Island Ferry, Maine State Ferry Service