Past Exhibitions

Four Elements & Five Senses
2016

The theme of this exhibition asks artists to explore ways in which we perceive, experience, and respond to the wonders of the world around us. Artists will discuss the ideas for their work in a panel discussion on Saturday, February 27 from 12 - 12:45 with a reception to follow from 1 - 3 p.m. The artists in this show teach in Maine's public and private schools and universities and are members of the Maine Art Educators Association.

Definitions: Words Interpreted by Fiber Artists
2015

Definitions: Words Interpreted by Fiber Artists, was the realization of over a year's worth of meetings and work on the part of the Art Quilt Designers. After participating in many theme-related monthly projects and studying from several design books, the members of Art Quilt Designers challenged themselves to interpret one word per month. Each month a different member provided the word challenge, but there were no limitations imposed on the members as to the size of the finished works, the materials used, or the methods employed. Definitions was the culmination of this project and features fascinating, visually stunning, and widely varying interpretations for a single word.

The Language of Art: Student Art Show
2015
"The Language of Art", focused on the principles of art. The principles of art are the guidelines that govern the way artists organize the elements of art. These principles are balance, color, shape, line, texture, form, value, space, unity, contrast, pattern and rhythm.

"Industry and Virtue Joined": Schoolgirl Needlework of Northern New England
2015

After the Saco Museum's successful 2013 sampler exhibit, "I My Needle Ply with Skill," and the book by the same title, the museum was recognized as an important repository for and center of scholarship on northern New England samplers and silk embroideries. in 2015 the museum offered a second exhibition on schoolgirl embroidery.

More than 130 important northern New England samplers were on exhibit including forty-one samplers from Maine and ninety-five from New Hampshire. Notable Maine needlework in the exhibition included two almost identical samplers completed by twins Flavilla and Mary Jane Barker in Portland in 1818, reunited for the first time in nearly 190 years, as well as works from the schools of the Misses Martin and Rachel Hall Neal. "Industry and Virtue Joined" also featured what is most likely the largest group of New Hampshire samplers ever gathered together in a single room. The exhibition included twenty-one samplers from Portsmouth, significant examples of schoolgirl needlework from the Canterbury area and Pinkerton Academy in Londonderry, as well as many beautiful works from small towns across both states.

A full-color catalog of the exhibition is available.


SACO BAY ARTISTS TWENTY YEAR RETROSPECTIVE SHOW
2015

The Saco Museum is pleased to present A Twenty Year Retrospective, organized in cooperation with Saco Bay Artists. This exhibition will be on view October 10 through November 8, 2015. Saco Bay Artists have been active in the area for twenty years. This retrospective will bring together many past and current members to celebrate this achievement. An opening reception for the exhibition will take place at 5:30 Friday, October 9, 2015.

At Home in the Victorian Era
2014

The 19th century was a time of great change. Rapid industrialization and the expansion of commerce led to an explosion in the production of consumer goods. At home people surrounded themselves with what seems to be - at least to modern eyes - an extravagant amount of clutter, creating over-filled and rather claustrophobic spaces. Yet to the Victorians these ornamental objects, and their arrangement, had meaning. They were essential components of the ideal refined home, the center of family and cultural life.

Pastel Painters of Maine 2014 15th International Juried Exhibition for PASTELS ONLY
2014

The International Juried Exhibition for Pastels Only. Nationally-known pastel artists served as jurors, judging awards and conducting demonstrations and workshops.

2013 1st Place - PPOM Award of Excellence
Lyuba Zhdanova, "Water-Lily"

From the Elegant to the Everyday: 200 Years of Fashion in Northern New England
2014

Drawn from the collection of the Saco Museum, as well as other institutions in Maine and New Hampshire, this exhibition focused on the clothing worn by the inhabitants of northern New England from the 18th through the 20th centuries. It included not only examples of "best" dress, but also items of everyday clothing. Fashionable attire was not confined to just special occasion garments or the clothing of the elite; even ordinary clothes reflected the current style of their day. In addition to outerwear such as 18th-century cloaks, ladies' gowns of the 19th century, and 20th-century men's suits and military uniforms, a wide variety of accessories were on view.

An exhibit catalog for "From the Elegant to the Everyday" is available.

"After Hours" Maine Art Education Association Members Exhibition
2014

This exhibition brought together the creative work of Art educators from around the state of Maine to celebrate the studio practice and exploration that takes place outside the classroom "after hours". A variety of mediums were showcased including: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, fiber art, sculpture, ceramics, digital art, and mixed media.

JOHN HALEY'S CIVIL WAR
2013

The University of New England and the Saco Museum teamed up to create an exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Dr. Elizabeth A. De Wolfe, Professor of History at the University of New England, and Camille Smalley, Collection and Research Manager for the Saco Museum, team-taught an exhibition class titled "John Haley's Civil War." The resulting exhibition of the same name was curated by students in the class and featured a treasure trove of artifacts related to the Civil War, including prints by Winslow Homer, decorative arts, Civil War weaponry and uniforms.

"I My Needle Ply with Skill" Maine School Girl Needle Work of the Federal Era
2013

This exhibit took an in-depth look at the complex and lovely needlework created in Maine by schoolgirls of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. At a time when advanced academic opportunities for young women were limited, private academies, often run by women, offered training not only in academic subjects, but also in the fancy sewing skills that were of critical importance to future homemakers of the Federal era. While many of these schools were well established in southern New England states by the late 18th century, Maine developed private academies somewhat later. As these local academies grew and flourished, new styles of samplers and needlework evolved that were unique to Maine. This exhibit explored that evolution and offered a glimpse of a period of blossoming female creativity and accomplishment that transcended the societal limitations on women of the era. Over one hundred samplers and other embroideries as well as related items were on view, drawn from the collections of the Dyer Library/Saco Museum as well as other public and private collections in Maine and beyond.

"I MY Needle Ply with Skill" exhibit catalog is available.

RUGS ALL MARKED OUT: Biddeford's Edward S. Frost
2012

"Rugs All Marked Out" celebrated the hooked rug innovator and entrepreneur Edward S. Frost, who launched a rug-pattern business right here in Biddeford, Maine, in the mid-19th-century. Originally presented at the Maine State Museum in 2006, "Rugs All Marked Out" featured rugs, burlap patterns, and metal stencils from the Maine State Museum collection. The original exhibition was enhanced with Frost rugs and patterns from the Saco Museum's own collections, all recent acquisitions.

THE PAINTERS' PANORAMA OF PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
2012

Last exhibited in the 1890's and long considered lost, 800 feet of the painting were discovered in the collection of the Saco Museum in 1996. After its rediscovery, the painting toured several museums nationally and was described in the New York Times (April 4, 1999) as a "valuable and complex document".

Today it is an absolutely unique artifact. It is one of only a handful of surviving moving panoramas, and the only one to feature enormous, academically posed figure groups. Presumed lost for more than a century, it is a "missing link" to one of the rare moments in history when the pinnacles of the divergent worlds of fine art and popular commercial art were embodied in a single work.


THE 2012 MILL-ENNIAL: Celebrating the Art and Artists of the Cities on the Saco
2012

48 works of art, 20 artists, two great locations, and one amazing community! Our biennial exhibition of work by artists associated with Saco, Biddeford, and Old Orchard Beach tool place simultaneously at the Saco Museum and at Engine in Biddeford. The 2012 Mill-ennial was organized by the Saco Museum in cooperation with Engine (www.feedtheengine.org). Presentation and promotion of the 2012 Mill-ennial was made possible, in part, with an Arts Visibility grant from the Maine Arts Commission.

UNCONVENTIONAL PORTRAITS: Photographs by Charles E. Moody
2011

Charles E. Moody (1859-1915) was one of the most gifted and prolific photographers of the Saco River Valley. This special exhibition was co-organized by the Dyer Library, Saco Museum, and the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford.

RECENT ACQUISITIONS
2011

This special show highlighted some of the standout acquisitions of the past year and a half. Among these were a 19th-century wedding gown, antique hooked rugs by Biddeford entrepreneur Edward S. Frost, and a large collection of glass and ceramics by New England manufacturers, generously given by the former Jones Museum of Glass and Ceramics.

VOYAGES AND THE GREAT AGE OF SAIL
2011

The University of New England and the Saco Museum teamed up to create an exhibition on the great age of sail in Maine.

ART AND NATURE THUS ALLIED: Natural History and the Decorative Arts
2011

Arts and the natural world intersected in this exhibition. Objects from the Saco Museum's natural history collections--shells, minerals, taxidermy--were displayed alongside magnificent furniture, glass, ceramics, and more, demonstrating how motifs in nature have been used in the decorative arts for centuries.

DRAWN FROM THE RIVER: Drawings by Artists of the Saco River Valley
2011

Concurrent exhibitions at the Saco Museum celebrated the art of drawing, presented in conjunction with The Maine Drawing Project (http://chitna.asap.um.maine.edu/mainedrawing/).

CHRISTY BERGLAND: Late Seasons of Great Pond
2011

Two concurrent exhibitions at the Saco Museum celebrated the art of drawing, presented in conjunction with The Maine Drawing Project (http://chitna.asap.um.maine.edu/mainedrawing/).

TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF THE ACADEMY: Thornton Academy Bicentennial Exhibition
2011

A special exhibition presented simultaneously at the Dyer Library and Saco museum in conjunction with the bicentennial celebrations of Thornton Academy. Exploring tradition, mission and history, 200 Years of the Academy celebrated Thornton Academy's place in local history and the nation during the school's Bicentennial year.


POINT OF DEPARTURE: Works by Diane Bowie Zaitlin
2010

Saco artist Diane Bowie Zaitlin attended a residency at Great Spruce Head Island Artweek in Penobscot Bay. In the exhibit "Point of Departure" she provided a view of her creative process and the power of influence from a period of immersion in her artwork in a setting of intense beauty.

Pictured: "Sea Sky II," encaustic on paper, 4 x 10 inches

PRACTICING WHAT WE PREACH: Work by Maine Art Educators
2010

This exhibition brought together the creative work of art educators from around the state and celebrates the studio practice and exploration that takes place beyond the classroom.

THE MILL-ENNIAL: Celebrating the Art and Artists of the Cities on the Saco
2010

Sixty-one works of art, 39 local artists, two great art venues, and one amazing community!

IN A PLACE BY HIMSELF: THE GRAPHIC WORLD OF WINSLOW HOMER
2010

America's most iconic artist finished his career right here on Saco Bay. This exhibition, on the 100th anniversary of his death here in Maine, celebrated his long and illustrious career as a graphic artist. "In a Place By Himself: The Graphic World of Winslow Homer" was made possible by a grant from Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.

A Treasured Ten: A Decade of Collecting at the Saco Museum
2009

A Treasured Ten: A Decade of Collecting at the Saco Museum, featured a dazzling array of additions to the museum's collections since the start of the millennium. Paintings by masters of the Hudson River School, rare and important furniture and silver by 19th-century Saco artisans, and a magnificent selection of folk art sculpture were among the highlights of this exhibition.

Faces of Literacy, Voices of Courage
2009

The special exhibition Faces Of Literacy, Voices Of Courage celebrated hope and success by highlighting people who have changed their lives through the Maine Literacy Volunteers Network. This special exhibition included about 20 photographs of Maine literacy learners, their tutors, and families by students and recent graduates of Portland's Maine College of Art.

Annual Festival of Trees
Festival of Trees is our annual celebration of holiday cheer at the Saco Museum. Purchase raffle tickets to win trees, wreaths, gifts certificates and more. Bring the whole family and everyone you know to support the Dyer Library Saco Museum during our biggest fundraiser of the year. Festival of Trees is a free event/ exhibit with raffle opportunities and events throughout December.

CELEBRATE STUDENT ART!
Every other year, the Saco Museum comes alive with artwork produced by students in our public schools.

PAINTING ALONG THE SACO

2009 
For more than two hundred years, the Saco River Valley has nurtured a unique regional painting tradition. This special installation of works from the Saco Museums permanent collection spotlighted some of the key artists and subjects of that tradition, including portraits, landscapes, and still lifes by Gibeon Bradbury, John Brewster, Jr., William S. Gookin, Charles Henry Granger, William Matthew Prior, Hannah Skeele, and others.

 

FOR PASTELS ONLY: PASTEL PAINTERS OF MAINE TENTH INTERNATIONAL JURIED EXHIBITION

2009
The Pastel Painters of Maine, PPOM, hosted their Tenth International Juried Exhibition, For Pastels Only. This special exhibition and sale displayed works by pastel artists from Maine and beyond. There were 264 entries submitted by 100 artists from 22 states and Canada. Of these, 60 pieces by 50 artists representing 16 states were chosen. Sixteen of the exhibiting artists were from Maine, including Sandy Katz of Saco. The juror of selection for the exhibit was Bob Rohm, a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters, Oil Painters of America, and the author of The Painterly Approach.

   

HEAT STROKE: NEW ENGLAND WAX ARTISTS WORKING IN ENCAUSTIC

2009
This exhibition featured work from New England Wax (N.E.W.), a regional association of artists who work in encaustic (a beeswax-based painting medium). Juried by Katherine French, Director of the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, Massachusetts, the exhibition featured 77 works by 25 artists from throughout New England, including 11 from Maine.

   

A MATTER OF PERCEPTION: JURIED EXHIBITION BY ARTISTS WITH DISABILITES

For more than ten years, VSA Arts of Maine has organized an exhibition of art made by people with disabilities. The goals, then and now, are to provide an opportunity for these artists to exhibit their work, to increase awareness within the general population about the creativity and talent of people with disabilities, and to promote improved accessibility within Maine's arts and cultural facilities. The Saco Museum was proud to be the premiere exhibition venue for the 2009 exhibition, A Matter of Perception: Juried Exhibition by Artists with Disabilities.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: NEW WORK BY PEREGRINE PRESS ARTISTS

“First Impressions: New Work by Peregrine Press Artists” featured the first public showing of a special portfolio of fine prints and other work created by artists affiliated with the Press, a printmaking cooperative located in the Bakery Building in Portland, Maine. The guest curator was Linda Konheim Kramer, Executive Director of the Nancy Graves Foundation in New York City.

   

FOLK ART DOLLS BY MARY ELLEN ROBERGE

2008
In conjunction with the Maine Folk Art exhibit, the Saco Museum presented “A Seamstresss Art: Dolls by Mary Ellen Roberge,” an exhibition celebrating the creativity, culture and influences of a woman who touched many peoples lives with her art.

 

MAINE FOLK ART TRAIL

2008
The Saco Museum was one of eleven museums across Maine exhibiting folk art collections simultaneously as part of the Maine Folk Art Trail 2008, a coordinated statewide exhibition. The Saco Museum exhibited items from its collection as well as objects on loan from the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk and the Portland Fire Museum.

VICTIM OF SEDUCTION

2008
In April 1850, the body of a young woman was discovered in a stream near Storer Street in Saco, Maine. Investigation revealed that it was murder. Victim of Seduction explored the story behind this murder. The Dyer Library/Saco Museum (DL/SM) collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth A. DeWolfe and the Department of History at the University of New England (UNE) to create this exhibition based upon DeWolfes book, The Murder of Mary Bean and Other Stories. Using the story of Berengera Caswells life and death (Mary Bean was an alias), the exhibition explored several topics, including the changing role of women; competing medical practice and philosophies; the evolution of the criminal justice process; and sensationalism in the press. Newspaper accounts, textile artifacts, ladies accessories and numerous other items were used to tell Berengeras story.

 

"IN THE SHADOW OF INTOLERANCE"

2008
In honor of Black History Month, the Saco Museum presented the exhibit “In the Shadow of Intolerance,” a remarkable collection of high quality, black and white photographs assembled by businessman Sam Zaitlin. The collection included rare and powerful images of the U.S. Civil Rights movement and key people associated with that movement, as well as a series of images documenting the Nuremberg Trials. 

MERIT IS BETTER THAN FAME: THE CIVIL WAR & THE WOMEN & MEN OF MAINE

2007
Private John W. Haleys journal is both an engaging and heart wrenching account of the Civil War. A Saco resident, Haley kept a detailed account of his time serving in the Union Army during the War. The Saco Museum worked with private individuals and other institutions to compile an extraordinary exhibit focusing exclusively on Maines role in the conflict - How were the women and men of Maine influential in turning the tide of the War? Who were these people? The display showcased musket balls, rifles, swords, daguerreotypes, photographs, diaries, letters and uniforms to tell the story of Maine people and the war.

 

TWO GREAT EXHIBITS: WRINKLES IN TIME: HISTORIC QUILTS TO ART QUILTS AND VSA MAINE: A MATTER OF PERCEPTION

2007
A Matter of Perception, was a juried exhibition organized by VSA arts of Maine, part of the VSA arts international network, dedicated to promoting education and lifelong learning opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities.

The Saco Museum and Art Quilts Maine (AQM) presented Wrinkles in Time: Historic Quilts to Art Quilts. Using quilts from the Museums collection, the history and tradition of quilts was explored in order to provide a context for appreciating how quilting has evolved into an art form. Over 80 art quilts from AQM members were on display, including interpretations of the traditional patterns “Log Cabin” and “New York Beauty.” 

 

PEREGRINE PRESS ARTISTS: 15 YEARS OF PRINTMAKING

2007
Peregrine Press celebrated 15 years as a thriving printmaking collaborative. The work of all 30 Peregrine Press members was represented in the show. A broad spectrum of printing techniques, including lithograph, etching, intaglio and monotypes, were displayed. The exhibit coincided with the major statewide initiative Maine Print Project: Celebrating 200 Years of Printmaking in Maine.

   

A CEMTURY OF JEWISH LIFE IN BIDDEFORD –SACO

2006
This exhibition examined Jewish life over the last century through six aspects of history. Prepared by Jennie Aranovitch, a descendent of one of the first Jewish families in the area, the collection included community photos, historical documents, cultural artifacts, and films of synagogue events.

CHAUTAUQU BY THE SEA: OCEAN PARK CELEBRATES 125 YEARS

2006
This exhibit focused on the history, religion, culture, and leisure activities of this local community. A part of the greater Chautauqua movement of the late 1800's, Ocean Park has remained a distinct and active aspect of our local heritage.

THE BEST & THE BIZARRE: SACO MUSEUM JUBILEE

2006
140 years of history, curiosities & decorative arts were on view at the Saco Museum. This major exhibition celebrated the museums rich history and its remarkable collection of decorative arts, textiles and furniture as well as some of the bizarre or unusual items. Founded in 1866 as the York Institute, the Saco Museum is one of the oldest museums in Maine and houses an outstanding collection of 18th and 19th century paintings, furniture, decorative arts and natural history artifacts. With over 11,000 objects to choose from for the creation of this exhibit, the museum staff selected some of the best items in the permanent collection in specific areas, including furniture, costume, glass, ceramics, and natural history, as well as unusual or curious items. The exhibit featured items from the collection that have regional and national significance, such as the Johnson-Wolcott camera, the first working camera patented in the United States in 1840 and portraits by John Brewster, one of the finest early American folk art painters. The Saco Museum has the largest known collection of Brewster paintings. In addition, the exhibition included rare 19th century bird's eye view lithographs of Saco and Biddeford - the "Google Earth" of their day 

GARDEN ARTISTRY: THE LOST GARDENS OF NEW ENGLAND, ARTISTS IN YOUR GARDEN, AND SACOS HISTORIC PARKS & GARDENS

2006
This show featured three different exhibitions. The Lost Gardens of New England was an exhibition organized by Historic New England and presented by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Boston, MA. It drew upon the wealth of images – drawings, watercolors, and historic photographs – in Historic New Englands collection. 

Artist in Your Garden was a collaborative exhibit between Saco watercolorist Judith Kinsman and Saco garden designer Carol Galli.

Sacos Historic Parks & Gardens was an exhibition developed by museum staff and volunteers that used historic photographs, postcards, maps and landscape plans to explore how some of Sacos public and private landscapes and gardens have changed or vanished through the years. Pepperell Park and Laurel Hill Cemetery were two of the featured landscape spaces in this exhibit. 

 

SIMPLE GIFTS - THE ALFRED SHAKERS 1787 - 1931

2005
This exhibition brought together some of the most celebrated pieces from the Alfred (Maine) community. Over 300 historic images, drawings, furniture, smalls, and fancy goods were used to explore all aspects of Alfred Shaker community life, including industries and religion.

This was the first major exhibit in many years of Maine Shaker items outside Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine. Sabbathday Lake is the only active Shaker community in the world and is where the Alfred Shakers moved in 1931. Simple Gifts was a collaborative effort between the Saco Museum and Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum.

NEW ENGLAND WATERCOLOR SOCIETY - REGIONAL SHOW

2005
This juried show featured 100 of New England's finest watercolor artists from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Any artist in New England was eligible to submit artwork for the juror to review. Fifteen artists from Maine had work in the exhibit which encompasses three galleries at the museum. A wide range of artistic styles are represented from traditional to abstract contemporary. 

 

BARN AGAIN! CELEBRATING AN AMERICAN ICON

2005
This Smithsonian traveling exhibit examined the origin and fate of the barn in its various roles as an agricultural building and icon. The exhibit explored how barns were built and how their uses have changed.