Step back in time with a visit to Castine’s unique Wilson Museum. The museum’s quirky and fascinating collection includes prehistoric artifacts from around the globe, plus the historic John Perkins House, a working Blacksmith Shop, Hearse House, and more. All just a short walk or drive away from our Castine bed and breakfast, Pentagöet Inn.
The Wilson Museum is a small and relatively unknown gem of a museum located on the waterfront, just down the road from us, here in Castine. Exhibits in the museum are based around the collections of John Howard Wilson (1871-1936). Wilson was an archaeologist and collector who traveled the globe in search of fossils and other global artifacts.
Wilson opened his museum in Castine in 1921, on land donated by his mother. Three other buildings were added to the property in the late 1960s. These include The John Perkins House, a Blacksmith Shop and a Hearse House.
Though the museum is only open seasonally and with a limited schedule, it is very much worth your time. Those with an interest in local or world history, in particular, will find much to enjoy.
Discover the Wilson Museum
The main gallery displays pieces from Europe, Africa, North and South America, and Oceania. These include rocks, minerals, shells, fossils, and tools and other artifacts from the early Paleolithic era onward. Both the evolution of life across the planet and man’s growing ability to fashion tools are beautifully documented.
You’ll see 270 million-year-old trilobites, early firearms, Peruvian pottery, ship models, ancient writing tablets, detailed dioramas, and much more. Perusing the exhibits will take you on a magical journey across continents, cultures, and through time. Truly fascinating.
The 1763 John Perkins House, located next door, is Castine’s oldest home and part of the museum campus. The home was occupied by the British during both America’s Revolution and the War of 1812. Docent guided tours of the house take you back to colonial Castine and include cooking demonstrations.
You can also visit the working Blacksmith Shop, fashioned to represent an 1860’s era smithy, and watch metal working demonstrations. The nearby Hearse House displays antique wooden hearses. Don’t miss the Pump House display for a look at Castine’s firefighting history. You can even push the button for the alarm bell. Fun!
Visiting the Museum
The Wilson Museum is located at 120 Perkins Street in Castine, ME. As mentioned above, this is just down the road from Pentagöet Inn. Our Maine Coast bed and breakfast is on the corner of Main Street and Perkins, just a little over a half a mile up the street from the museum. It is an easy and pleasant ten minute, water front walk or an even easier drive.
The museum is open from May 27th through September 30th, 10am to 5pm weekdays, 2pm to 5pm weekends. The John Perkins House, Blacksmith, and Hearse House are open July through August, Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm to 5pm.