Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Abbe Museum and Dawnland, LLC Announce Fellowship Program

The fellowship will allow Wabanaki artists more opportunities at Indian art markets 

The Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine, is pleased to announce a new Wabanaki artist fellowship. Thanks to the support of Dawnland, LLC (the concessioner in Acadia National Park), the Museum will be awarding three fellowships intended to provide support for travel, lodging, and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico.
“In our efforts to foster and promote contemporary Wabanaki art in both a regional and national context, these fellowships are designed to help Wabanaki artists promote their work within the greater artistic communities,” said Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Abbe Museum President and CEO.
Two fellowships will be awarded to artists attending the 2015 Southwestern Association for Indian Art’s Santa Fe Indian Market, and one shall be awarded to an artist attending one or more of the four annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance shows:

  • Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market in Bar Harbor - July 11, 2015
  • Maine Native American Summer Market & Demonstration in New Gloucester - August 22, 2015
  • Common Ground Country Fair in Unity - September 25-27, 2015
  • Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market in Orono - December 12, 2015.

All applicants must provide proof of acceptance or eligibility to participate in said markets for the 2015 year. Each applicant is also expected to attend the Abbe’s Annual Meeting on August 12, 2015 to offer a demonstration and meet the donors (travel accommodations will be provided). In addition, they will provide a closing report by no later than December 20, 2015. Ten percent of the grant award will be held until this report is filed.

Visit www.abbemuseum.org/shop for eligibility details, including an application. Fellowship applications received before the deadline of July 1, 2015 at midnight will be added to the pool of applicants. The application will be entered into a lottery system where eligible applications will be pulled randomly from the pool. Award notification will be made on or before July 8, 2015.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Greatest Mountain on Display at the Abbe Museum

The exhibit, a vision by Penobscot artist and historian James Francis, is a tribute to Mount Katahdin 

The Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine, is pleased to announce the opening of Greatest Mountain, a tribute to Mount Katahdin. Curated by Penobscot artist and historian James Francis, the exhibit is a combination of research, both through Penobscot histories and accounts of non-Native travelers and writers, with images, music, stories, and the Penobscot language, all of which bring this sacred mountain to life. Greatest Mountain will be in the Abbe’s main gallery through August 2015.

“Greatest Mountain is the fascinating and engaging result of James's unique perspective as an artist, historian, guide, and Penobscot tribal member,” said Julia Clark, director of collections & interpretation at the Abbe. “Together, these result in a view of Katahdin unlike any other.”

Katahdin translates from Penobscot to English as “Greatest Mountain.” While some say this reflects the fact that Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine, Francis points out that when the mountain was given this name by the Penobscot people, Maine and its boundaries did not exist, and the Wabanaki people were certainly familiar with higher mountains in their traditional territory, in what is now New Hampshire.

Images move and flicker across Greatest Mountain, a compilation of time-lapse photographs taken by Francis at night back in November 2014. The images were captured from Millinocket Lake, looking toward Katahdin’s south face. Francis went to the mountain and set up his camera to take repeated 6-second exposures. When he came back to the camera in the middle of the night, he discovered a wonderful, additional gift: the northern lights had come out to frame the mountain. Along with these time-lapse photographs, there is a song composed by Francis, various other video and still imagery, and spoken word pieces of Penobscot people sharing stories.

Greatest Mountain will be in the main gallery of the Museum’s downtown Bar Harbor location through August. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, admission is $8 per adult, $7 for senior citizens, $4 for children ages 11 – 17, and children 10 and under are free. Admission is free to Native Americans and Abbe members.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Abbe Trustee Featured in The Bangor Daily News

Image courtesy of Matthew Polstein

Abbe Trustee Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot, is featured in The Bangor Daily News! An excerpt from the article is below.

Jennifer Sapiel Neptune — artist, anthropologist, educator and member of the Penobscot Nation — has integrated her myriad skills to intertwine the past and the present, giving life to the future of her community. Her most recent reproduction from Penobscot history was a ceremonial headdress, cuffs and a collar, hand-decorated with intricate beadwork. It took Jennifer hundreds of hours to make the pieces, but the craft was only part of the job. It also was important to infuse the three garments with the spirit of their heritage. So Jennifer embarked upon a journey with them, all over the state of Maine.

I first met Jennifer four years ago, when I wrote a story about her basketry. Jennifer has been interested in artifacts and historic, native craftwork since her youth.

“As a teenager I went to the [University of Maine] library and read Native American books about my tribe and others,” she said. “There were these amazing black-and-white photographs of beadwork and baskets. I wanted to see them in color. I wanted to make them.”

Jennifer enrolled at the University of Maine as an anthropology major with the express purpose of being allowed access to the native artifacts in the collections of the Hudson Museum.

“I could see and touch them and really study them,” she said.

To read the article in its entirety, please visit the Bangor Daily News.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Haunted Bar Harbor Walking Tours

Looking for something to do this weekend? Dawnland Tours, LLC is now offering Haunted Bar Harbor walking tours, and you can purchase your tickets at the Abbe Museum shop! The tours operate seven days a week through Labor Day.

“We are a 100% Native owned company with a staff of all-Wabanaki tour guides," said Jennifer Pictou, President and CEO, and a member of the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. "I’m looking forward to bringing a cross-cultural look to the ghostly side of Bar Harbor’s past, as well as tell some of the more fantastic tales of our Wabanaki heritage.” 

Prices are $15 per adult, $10 per child (6-12 years old), and children five and under are free. For tour times and ticketing, please stop by the Abbe Museum or visit www.dawnlandtours.com. Dogs are welcome!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wabanaki Antiques Expo

During the Wabanaki Antiques Expo held on Saturday, May 9th, four Master artists from the Wabanaki communities assembled to allow Abbe visitors to pick their brains for knowledge on pieces that wereor in some cases, were notmade by Wabanaki people. The panel included Master Basketmaker and beadworker Jennifer Neptune, Penobscot; Master Basketmaker Richard Silliboy, Micmac; Master Birchbark worker David Moses Bridges, Passamaquoddy; and Master Basketmaker and Museum Educator George Neptune, Passamaquoddy.

A wide range of objects were brought before the panel in hopes of having them identified. Tucked among several beaded "flapper" adornments and a few pieces of southwestern pottery were a few objects that piqued the panels' interest: the first object being a seal-skin belt, likely dating back to the Indian Encampments of Bar Harbor, making it easily one hundred years old.

While other objects were identified as "non-Wabanaki," including a shaker-style basket and several pieces of Southwestern pottery, many Wabanaki basketsboth utility and fancy styleswere brought in to be identified. While it's difficult to identify work by specific artists, the panelists were able to identify which tribes the baskets came from based on aesthetic trends from each community. The basket that brought up the most discussion: a red "sweetgrass flat" style purse with woven ash handles. A Potawatomi flute that dates back to the early 1800s also garnered a lot of discussion, and even some playing!

Hawk Henries, a member of the Nipmuck tribe, brought the flute in for the panelists to inspect. Hawk has a lot of experience enchanting audiences with flutes; he also crafts his own eastern woodlands flutes (out of a single piece of wood!). 


The final object discussed by the panel was a beaded leather jacket. According to the oral histories around the item, it was constructed nearly two-hundred years ago, with the beadwork eventually being added by an Ojibwe beadworker. Jennifer Neptune confirmed that the beadwork was in the Ojibwe style, however, the presence of thread in the seams and use of trade-cloth and "greased" beads led panelists to believe that the jacket was made after the Civil War when thread became much more accessible for Native peoples.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Abbe Museum Educator is a Published Author

Abbe Museum Educator, Jen Heindel, is a published author! Her article, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Drag Forces: Estimating Floodwater Speed from Displaced Riverbed Boulders, was just published in The Physics Teacher. The article is currently free online for a limited time.

The paper stems from an idea Jen had for an activity to include in the Front Range Flood curriculum she developed for Rocky Mountain National Park. Co-author Kenneth Pestka realized there was an opportunity to expand on the original idea to create an activity for introductory physics students. The outcome is an activity where physics students are asked to examine images of riverbed boulders after a flood and estimate the water velocity needed to carry the boulders downstream. The activity provides an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of the physics of natural phenomena with applications to environmental science and environmental engineering, to gain a stronger appreciation for physical modeling and estimation, and to become environmental detectives!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Abbe Museum Educators Take to the High Seas

On a blustery day in March, the Abbe Museum's education team met with Maine Sea Coast Mission's Douglas Cornman in the sunny wheelhouse of the M/V Sunbeam to discuss an exciting opportunity: was there a way to bring a bit of the Abbe to the outer island communities? Yes! Once all the logistics were hammered out, Museum Educators George and Jen grabbed two pack baskets and filled them with all kinds of interesting objects - from fancy baskets to stone arrow heads - and hopped aboard. Destination: Isle au Haut and Frenchboro!

They never expected the huge turnout that greeted them as they set up at the Isle au Haut community center, where George regaled the crowd with legends of Gluskap and how rabbit came to look the way he does today. At the end of the program, Jen and George answered questions about all the objects they brought with them. Later that afternoon, Douglas, George, and Jen searched out the famous Black Dinah Chocolatiers, where they scored some free samples before purchasing some goodies to take home. Isle au Haut residents spent the evening visiting aboard the Sunbeam where Jillian, the ship's steward, cooked a fabulous dinner with help from some eager sous chefs. After visiting well into the night, George and Jen retired to their boat beds.


Early the next morning, George and Jen shoved off for Frenchboro and another great reception at the island's school. They talked about what life was like for the Wabanaki 400 years ago before launching into more storytelling. After George captivated everyone with the feasting song, they all ventured to the Sunbeam for lunch, including cookies for dessert.

Where will the Sunbeam take Jen and George next?