Museum Roundup

News & Updates from the Maine State Museum

April 2023

The Latest...

The Friends Want to Know What’s In Your Attic

Now is your chance to find out more about what’s in your attic! On Friday, May 5th, from 1-4 PM, the Friends of the Maine State Museum, in partnership with Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, invites you to the What Ya Got There? Appraisal Fair and Silent Auction. Learn about your heirlooms, enjoy the historic Viles Mansion, and bid at a silent auction featuring special items from local merchants, including a beautiful Continuous Arm ChairTM from Maine’s iconic furnituremaker, Thos. Moser.

The event takes place at Viles Mansion, 71 Stone Street in Augusta. For a small donation participants may sign up for up to three appraisals or to be a spectator. Parking is limited so all attendees must register for a time slot. Reserve your spot online or call 207.287.2304.

The Maine State Museum Helps Fight Fires on April 18

April 16-22 is Wildfire Awareness Week in Maine. To learn how you can prevent wildfires in your community, please join Maine’s Forest Rangers and Maine State Museum educators for a special event at the Maine State Library at 242 State Street, Augusta on April 18 from 10 AM to 1 PM.

Smokey Bear will be there, as well as several Smokey Bear paintings that are part of the Rudy Wendelin Collection. This family-friendly event will feature natural science touch tables, educational displays, and outdoor activities (weather permitting). A Ranger will read the story of Smokey Bear.

Hope to see you there, and remember, “Only You can prevent wildfires….” 

A Flag, A Cane, and A Governor’s Best Friend

Governor Percival Baxter and Garry II, 1926

by Joseph B. Kahill MSM 72.19.87

June 1, 2023 is the 100th anniversary of the death of then-Governor Percival Baxter’s beloved Irish setter, Garry II. The death of a Maine governor’s pet seems an unlikely event to note 100 years later. But Baxter’s actions following Garry’s passing made headlines around the country and are still remembered today.


Garry was Baxter’s constant companion in the State House, and even had his own couch in the governor’s office. When Garry died, Baxter ordered the flag atop the State House to be lowered to half-staff. State and national military veteran groups protested this act, decrying Baxter’s order as a sign of disrespect to those who had sacrificed to serve under the flag. Baxter firmly defended himself in nationally published newspaper stories.  

Cane with carved dog’s head, ca.1910  MSM 2023.3 

Garry’s important place in Baxter’s life during his time as governor is captured in one of the most popular stops for visitors to the Maine State House – an official gubernatorial portrait that shows Baxter with Garry at his side.


The Maine State Museum recently acquired a cane that belonged to Baxter. With its decorative carved handle in the shape of a dog’s head, the cane, like the portrait, reminds us of the Maine governor who took an extraordinary public action to honor a dog's unselfishness and loyalty.  

 Click here for the full story

Museum Collections on the Move

(above) The museum's objects conservator Teresa Myers cleans and prepares the quartz crystal cluster for exhibit. The cleaned specimen is shown below.

The Maine State Museum is pleased to announce the inclusion of several items in the new Maine Historical Society exhibit, CODE RED: Climate, Justice & Natural History Collections. The major exhibition reunites historical items from the former Portland Society of Natural History with contemporary objects, images, and art to explore topics around the climate and biodiversity crisis.

Among the Maine State Museum specimens on loan is a remarkable cluster of quartz crystals weighing 110 pounds. Originally on display at the Portland Society of Natural History, the specimen was donated to the Maine State Museum in 1975 following the Portland Society’s closure. Other items on loan for the CODE RED exhibition include Maine’s moon rock (collected during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission) and biological specimens: a snowy owl, whooping crane, Canada goose, egret, mounted caribou and bison heads, and a monarch butterfly.

Did you miss last month's Roundup? You can always read back issues here.


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