Past Exhibitions

At Home in the Victorian Era
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.

From the Elegant to the Everyday: 200 Years of Fashion in Northern New England
March 15 - May 3, 2014
From the Elegant to the Everyday: 200 Years of Fashion in Northern New England
Opening reception, Friday March 14 at 5:30 pm
March 15 through May 3, 2014

Drawn from the collection of the Saco Museum, as well as other institutions in Maine and New Hampshire, this exhibition will focus on the clothing worn by the inhabitants of northern New England from the 18th through the 20th centuries. It will include 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, there will be a wide variety of accessories on view as well.

"After Hours" Maine Art Education Association Members Exhibition
January 14 through February 28, 2014
This exhibition will bring 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 will be showcased including: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, fiber art, sculpture, ceramics, digital art, and mixed media.

The Ninth Annual Festival of Trees: The Holly and the Ivy
November 29 through December 29, 2013
Join us for the ninth annual Festival of Trees at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum! The Festival of Trees is a community event to benefit the programs of the Dyer Library and Saco Museum.

May 4 through November 10, 2013
The University of New England and the Saco Museum have teamed up this 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, is curated by students in the class, will feature a treasure trove of artifacts related to the Civil War-prints by Winslow Homer, decorative arts, Civil War weaponry, uniforms, and much more. On the Dyer Library/Saco Museum Facebook Page, daily updates from Haley's diary are posted to track his adventure 150 years ago.

For more information on other Civil War Exhibitions happening this year, see the Maine Civil War Trail Website HERE:

"I My Needle Ply with Skill" Maine School Girl Needle Work of the Federal Era
January 12 through March 2, 2013
Join us for an in-depth look at the complex and lovely needlework created in Maine by schoolgirls of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

January 14 through March 24, 2012
January 14 through March 24, 2012
Cozy up with some hooked rugs this winter with two warm and wonderful exhibitions at the Saco Museum! "Rugs All Marked Out" will celebrate 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. Also on view will be modern hooked rugs by members of the Maine Tin Pedlar, a group of local hooked rug artists named in honor of Frost.

Pictured: "Stained Glass Magic" by Deb Arcaro, photo courtesy The Maine Tin Pedlar.

RUGS ALL MARKED OUT: Biddeford's Edward S. Frost
January 14 through March 24, 2012
Cozy up with some hooked rugs this winter with two warm and wonderful exhibitions at the Saco Museum! "Rugs All Marked Out" celebrates 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" features rugs, burlap patterns, and metal stencils from the Maine State Museum collection. The original exhibition is enhanced with Frost rugs and patterns from the Saco Museum's own collections, all recent acquisitions. Also on view are modern hooked rugs by members of the Maine Tin Pedlar, a group of local hooked rug artists named in honor of Frost.

Pictured: Pattern for Hooked Rug, ink on burlap, Edward S. Frost pattern #92, 1870s, collections of the Maine State Museum.

THE 2012 MILL-ENNIAL: Celebrating the Art and Artists of the Cities on the Saco
April 6 through June 10, 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 takes 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 ( 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
January 15 through February 26, 2011
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Charles E. Moody (1859-1915) was one of the most gifted and prolific photographers of the Saco River Valley. Come and find out more in this special exhibition co-organized by the Dyer Library, Saco Museum, and the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Humanities Council.

January 15 through February 26, 2011
From gorgeous gowns to impossibly intricate treasures of glass and ceramics, see what we've been collecting for the past year and a half!

March 5 through April 23, 2011
Every other year, the Saco Museum comes alive with artwork produced by students in our public schools. This year student artwork is on display at both the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. Presented in conjunction with National Youth Art Month, "Celebrate Student Art: RSU 23 Art Show" will be on view March 5 through April 23, 2011.

Image: "Pop Art Food Sculpture" by Abby Dubois, Loranger Middle School, Old Orchard Beach, 8th Grade

May 7 through September 4, 2011
The University of New England and the Saco Museum will team up this summer to create an exhibition on the great age of sail in Maine. Dr. Elizabeth A. De Wolfe, Professor of History at the University of New England, and Camille Smalley, Program and Education Manager for the Saco Museum, will team-teach an exhibition class titled "Voyages and the Great Age of Sail." The resulting exhibition of the same name, curated by students in the class, will be on view at the Saco Museum May 7 through September 4, 2011. Voyages and the Great Age of Sail is made possible, in part, by a major grant from the Maine Humanities Council to the University of New England.

POINT OF DEPARTURE: Works by Diane Bowie Zaitlin
In June 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 provides 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. "Point of Departure" will be on view at the Saco Museum May 7 through September 4, 2011.

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

HAPPY CAMP OF THE FREEBOOTERS: Playing Through Time, 1750-1950
June is BIG at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum with tons of great events all inspired by Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as part of “The Big Read.” The Big Read is a program funded through the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest, which gives communities the opportunity to come together to read, discuss, and celebrate a single great work of literature. As part of The Big Read, one of the period rooms on the Saco Museum’s second floor has been completely re-done with children’s toys, furniture, and paintings from 1750-1950. For more information about The Big Read, please contact Camille Smalley at (207) 283-3861, ext. 115 or

DRAWN FROM THE RIVER: Drawings by Artists of the Saco River Valley
September 17 through November 13, 2011
Concurrent exhibitions at the Saco Museum this fall celebrate the art of drawing, presented in conjunction with The Maine Drawing Project ( "Drawn from the River: Drawings by Artists of the Saco River Valley" uses drawings from the Saco Museum's permanent collection to explore how drawing was part of the artistic process for 19th-century local artists like Gibeon Elden Bradbury and Charles Henry Granger. Presentation of the Saco Museum's Maine Drawing Project exhibitions has been made possible with the support of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.

Pictured: Gibeon Elden Bradbury (1833-1904) Two Pears, circa 1870, gouache, ink, and graphite on toned paper, Saco Museum, Gift of Kitty Tonis;

CHRISTY BERGLAND: Late Seasons of Great Pond
September 17 through November 13, 2011
Two concurrent exhibitions at the Saco Museum this fall will celebrate the art of drawing, presented in conjunction with The Maine Drawing Project ( "Christy Bergland: Late Seasons of Great Pond" will highlight a 16-piece series of drawings in a variety of media by Biddeford Pool artist Christy Berland. Presentation of the Saco Museum's Maine Drawing Project exhibitions has been made possible with the support of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.

Pictured: Christy Bergland, "Late Summer, Western Quadrant," 2008-09 from the series "Late Seasons of Great Pond," chalk pastel on paper, 24 x 18, photo courtesy of the artist.

TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF THE ACADEMY: Thornton Academy Bicentennial Exhibition
A special exhibition presented simultaneously at the Dyer Library and Saco museum this fall will be presented in conjunction with the bicentennial celebrations of Thornton Academy. Exploring tradition, mission and history, 200 Years of the Academy celebrates Thornton Academy’s place in local history and the nation during the school’s Bicentennial year. The exhibition will be on view at both the Dyer Library and the Saco Museum September 15 through November 13, 2011.

LET HEAVEN AND NATURE SING: Seventh Annual Festival of Trees
through December 31!
Join us for the seventh annual Festival of Trees at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum! The Festival of Trees is a community event to benefit the programs of the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. Dozens of gorgeously decorated trees and wreaths based upon this year's theme of "Let Heaven and Nature Sing" will fill the Saco Museum. Among the other highlights of the Festival are the Gala Reception on Saturday, December 17; a raffle of designer trees and wreaths concluding at the Gala; the popular Gingerbread Village; a Drawing Contest for area school children on view at the Dyer Library; visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus; Children's Crafts Day; and more. The Festival of Trees is free and open to the public, thanks to our sponsors, beginning Friday, November 25 at 5 p.m. through Saturday, December 31.

PRACTICING WHAT WE PREACH: Work by Maine Art Educators
January 16 through March 19, 2010
You've seen what the students can do in our biennial student art show, now take a look at the top-notch work being created by Maine's art teachers!

THE MILL-ENNIAL: Celebrating the Art and Artists of the Cities on the Saco
April 3 through June 13, 2010
Sixty-one works of art, 39 local artists, two great art venues, and one amazing community!

June 26 through November 14, 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, clebrates 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.

HOLIDAYS PAST: Sixth Annual Festival of Trees
November 26, through December 31, 2010
Our sixth annual holiday exhibition and fundraiser! Dozens of magnificently decorated trees and wreaths will be displayed and raffled off to benefit programs at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. The Festival also includes a gingerbread village, visits with Santa, and many other events and activities for all ages throughout the month of December. Admission to the Festival of Trees is FREE thanks to the generosity of our many sponsors. The Festival opens on Friday, November 25 at 5 p.m. with a public tree-lighting ceremony at the Saco Museum. Don't miss this much-anticipated community event!

A Treasured Ten: A Decade of Collecting at the Saco Museum
July 5 through November 15, 2009
This summer, the Saco Museum's major exhibition, A Treasured Ten: A Decade of Collecting at the Saco Museum, will feature 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 are among the highlights of this exhibition, on view July 5 through November 15, 2009

Faces of Literacy, Voices of Courage
October 2 through November 15, 2009
The special exhibition Faces Of Literacy, Voices Of Courage celebrates hope and success by highlighting people who have changed their lives through the Maine Literacy Volunteers Network. This special exhibition includes about 20 photographs of Maine literacy learners, their tutors, and families by students and recent graduates of Portland's Maine College of Art. The project will premiere with a special event in Portland on September 17 and will then travel to different venues throughout the state. The Saco Museum is proud to be the premiere exhibition venue for this thought-provoking and wide-ranging project. Faces of Literacy, Voices of Courage will be on view at the Saco Museum through November 15, 2009.

VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS: Fifth Annual Festival of Trees 2009
Our fifth Annual Festival! Please join us for a month of gorgeous decorations, music, and fun for all ages! Silent auction concludes December 12, but the Festival remains on view through December 31.

Pastel Painters of Maine 2014 15th International Juried Exhibition for PASTELS ONLY
May 17 - June 14

The International Juried Exhibition for Pastels Only has been an annual event since 2000 with nationally-known pastel artists serving as jurors, judging awards and conducting demonstrations and workshops.

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

10th Annual Festival of Trees
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
November 29th - December 31, 2014
Closed December 24th and 25th

Join us for holiday cheer and decorations 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. For details click more.

If you'd like to participate in the planning process for the festival, sponsor a tree or wreath, or help with the decorating, email

Definitions: Words Interpreted by Fiber Artists
Definitions: Words Interpreted by Fiber Artists
January 17 through February 28, 2015
Opening reception at 5:30 on Friday, January 16

Presented by Art Quilt Designers in cooperation with the Saco Museum.

The Language of Art: Student Art Show
March 7 - April 25
Don't miss our biennial student art show! This year theme, "The Language of Art", focuses 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
May 9 - October 4, 2015
May 9 - October 4, 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 has been recognized as an important repository for and center of scholarship on northern New England samplers and silk embroideries. This summer, the museum offers a second exhibition on schoolgirl embroidery.

More than 130 important northern New England samplers are on exhibit including forty-one samplers from Maine and ninety-five from New Hampshire. Notable Maine needlework in the exhibition includes 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 features what is most likely the largest group of New Hampshire samplers ever gathered together in a single room. The exhibition includes 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 catalogue of the exhibition will be published mid to late summer 2015.

October 10
October 10 - November 8, 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.


June 5 through September 27, 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 Museum’s permanent collection spotlights 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. Come celebrate these scenes of Saco, on view now through September 27, 2009.

Beginning around 1800, the twin cities of Saco and Biddeford were centers of industry, with the mighty falls near the mouth of the Saco providing power for mills and factories. As the economic power of the area grew, so did the wealth of the individuals who lived here. By the middle of the nineteenth century, citizens of the Saco River Valley had money to spend on fine things for their home and the desire to participate in a nationally growing interest in the fine arts. At the same time, the population of artists grew, establishing a local creative economy that continues to this day.

Portraits were in particularly high demand in the 1800s. In the years before photography—invented in the 1840s—painted portraits were the only way that families had to capture a likeness of their loved ones. Portraits were also a sign of status. The larger a portrait and the more skillfully it was done, the more expensive it was; therefore, a particularly fine portrait announced the wealth and importance of whomever it depicted. Some of the most celebrated portraits of Saco’s early residents were painted by John Brewster, Jr., whose work is on view in this gallery as well as in the gallery near the museum’s front entrance.

Landscape became an increasingly popular subject for painting, as well. In the second half of the 19th century, a concern emerged that the American wilderness was being taken over by industry and urbanization. This was of particular concern along the Saco, where factory life and the logging industry dominated the lower half of the river. Some artists celebrated the blending of nature and industry on their canvases, while others—like the area’s most renowned resident landscape painter, Gibeon Bradbury—painted scenes that strove to capture the purity of the southern Maine landscape.

Image credit: Charles Henry Granger, (1812-1893), Reading Room Discussion, 1840-45, oil on canvas, Saco Museum Collection


Pastel Painters of Maine Tenth International Juried Exhibition

June 5 through June 28, 2009
The Pastel Painters of Maine, PPOM, is hosting their Tenth International Juried Exhibition, For Pastels Only, at the Saco Museum. This special exhibition and sale displays works of 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 are 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.

Maggie Price will judge the exhibit and award over $5000 in prizes. She is a signature member of The Pastel Society of America, The Pastel Society of New Mexico, and the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico. Ms. Price is also the co-founder of the magazine Pastel Journal, as well as the author of Painting with Pastels: Easy Techniques to Master.

Ms. Price will conduct a demonstration at the Saco Museum following the opening reception, and she will also lead a 5-day plein air workshop in Freeport from June 15-19. Pre-registration is required for both the June 11 demonstration and for the workshop. For more information contact Suzanne deLesseps at

The Pastel Painters of Maine was established in 1999 by a group of southern Maine artists interested in soft pastels. The mission of PPOM is to promote the medium of soft pastel, to unite local and regional artists, and to heighten the public’s awareness of the medium. Since its founding, membership has grown to over 170 with members from throughout the United States and Canada.

Member shows are held annually. Regular “paint outs” are offered as well as life painting groups. Membership is $25.00 per year, which includes the newsletter. General meetings are held several times during the year. For further information about the Pastel Painters of Maine and the For Pastels Only exhibit at the Saco Museum, please contact Caren Michel, or visit PPOM’s website at

Image credit: Diana Johnson (Freeport, Maine), "Marsh in the Autumn," pastel on paper, 8 x 9 inches. Photo courtesy Pastel Painters of Maine.


 New England Wax Artists Working in Encaustic

Join us for this special exhibition featuring 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 features 77 works by 25 artists from throughout New England, including 11 from Maine. It will be on view at the Saco Museum April 3 through May 30, 2009, with an opening reception this Thursday, April 2 at 5:30 p.m.

Encaustic, which translates as “to burn in” in ancient Greek, is a time-honored painting medium using hot wax that dates back to the fifth century B.C. The art form regained currency in the American art scene with the work of Jasper Johns and other postwar painters. Today, encaustic artists combine traditional techniques with contemporary media and materials, contributing to its resurgence. N.E.W. brings together artists in this region who are dedicated to investigating this challenging medium. The works on view demonstrate the unique quality of encaustic painting—luminous and translucent layers of color and a sensuous surface—as well as the variety of approaches to the technique.

Asked about her selection process for this exhibition, Ms. French noted, “While ancient Egyptians created portraits, contemporary artists now use the medium to experiment wildly. . . . Their ideas are endless, and this sense of unlimited possibility is what makes Saco’s N.E.W. show exciting.”

The Saco Museum joins many national and international institutions recognizing the growing popularity of the encaustic medium in contemporary artworks. This exhibition will provide a venue for the public and regional artists to learn more about encaustic and about our contemporary regional artistic traditions. A public lecture and encaustic demonstrations will provide the opportunity to meet the artists and talk about their process. Connections will also be made to the Saco Museum’s historical collections on view, which include traditional waxworks and mourning wreaths made of wax flowers.

Heat Stroke was organized by New England Wax in collaboration with the Saco Museum. The exhibition was supported by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts commission.

Artists included in the Exhibition
Sarah Bartlett*
Dawna Bemis*
Kim Bernard*
Binnie Birstein
Jeanne Borofsky
Diane Bowie Zaitlin*
Debra Claffey
Pamala Crabb Burnham*
Kimberly Curry*
Laura Dunn*
Ken Eason*
Patricia Gerkin
Jeanne Griffin
Lynette Haggard
Sue Katz
Annette Kearney*
Deborah Kruger
Louise Lamontagne
Diane Langley*
Nancy Natale
Jeanne O’Toole Hayman*
Julie Shaw Lutts
Catherine Weber
Kellie Weeks
Gregory Wright

* denotes Maine artist

Katherine French has curated numerous exhibitions exploring Boston Expressionism, including Jack Levine: Political Discourse and Hyman Bloom: A Spiritual Embrace. Other notable shows include John Walker: Passing Bells and George Nick: Spirit of Place. In February 2007, Ms. French received an award for curatorial excellence for Joan Snyder, A Painting Survey, 1969-2005 from the New England chapter of the International Association of Art Critics. Under her direction, the Danforth Museum of Art was recently named Outstanding Cultural Organization for 2008 by the Massachusetts Arts Education Collaborative.

New England Wax (N.E.W.) is a professional organization of more than 70 artists who live and work in the six New England states. N.E.W. seeks to enhance creative and professional development for its members by providing opportunities for exhibitions, exchanging technical information and promoting excellence in encaustic painting and sculpture. Through exhibitions and workshops, N.E.W. encourages interest in encaustic in the art world and by the general public. For more information and news about this organization, visit

Image credit: Gregory Wright, "Congregation IV," 2008, encaustic. Photo courtesy New England Wax.


Every other year, the Saco Museum comes alive with artwork produced by students in our public schools. Presented in conjunction with National Youth Art Month, Celebrate Student Art: Saco/Dayton K-8 Art Show will be on view February 27 through March 28, 2009.

This year, every single student from C. K. Burns School, Young School, Governor John Fairfield School, and Dayton Consolidated School created artwork for the exhibition, including paintings, pastels, sculpture, and more. Many works by students at Saco Middle School are also included, totaling some 1,800 objects on display. Almost every square inch of the museum’s galleries will be covered. The exhibit is organized and curated by local art teachers Debra DiGregorio, Joanne Matusko, Diane Noble, and Judy Puiia. All student artists and their guests will receive complimentary admission to the show.

Youth Art Month is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art education for all children and to encourage support for quality school art programs. It was created in 1961 by Art and Creative Materials Institute, a non-profit association of art and craft materials manufacturers, in cooperation with the National Art Educators Association. In 1984, ACMI created the Council for Art Education to administer the national Youth Art Month program and encourage funding for the program. Find out more at

Image credit: "Pop Art Heart," Cray-pas, by Samuel Legere, grade 7, Saco Middle School


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 is proud to be the premiere exhibition venue for the 2009 exhibition, A Matter of Perception: Juried Exhibition by Artists with Disabilities, on view January 9 through February 22, 2009.

Four hundred pieces of art were submitted for inclusion in the exhibition, from every corner of the state and in many media: stained glass, sculpture, fiber art, photographs, watercolors, paintings, and more. The artists come from a wide range of artistic training and backgrounds, representing the spectrum of what it means to have a disability. During 2008 every piece of art submitted was shown at least once in fifteen exhibitions across the state. At each exhibition, groups of jurors selected a small number of works to go into this 2009 juried exhibition. After its debut at the Saco Museum, this juried show travels across Maine throughout 2009.

This exhibition is the most recent in a series of collaborations between The Saco Museum and VSA Arts Maine. The Saco Museum also hosted A Matter of Perception in 2007 as well as The Wild and Ordinary Faces of...Transition...Wonder, a special exhibition highlighting the work produced by students in the fall 2007 Saco Transition Program.

VSA arts of Maine is a non-profit organization affiliated with the VSA Arts international network, promoting education and lifelong learning opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities. Founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, VSA Arts is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The letters reflect the Vision of an inclusive community, Strength in shared resources and Artistic expression that unites us all. VSA Arts of Maine provides arts, educational and cultural opportunities for children and adults with disabilities in Maine. Programs include artist residencies in schools, workshops for teachers and artists, mentoring for adult artists with disabilities, exhibitions of work by artists with disabilities, and partnerships with cultural venues throughout the state to improve accessibility.

A Matter of Perception: Juried Exhibition by Artists with Disabilities is organized by VSA Arts of Maine.

Image credit: Jennifer Blake, "Acadia Path," oil, 18 x 24 inches.

First Impressions: New Work by Peregrine Press Artists

“First Impressions: New Work by Peregrine Press Artists” features 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 is Linda Konheim Kramer, Executive Director of the Nancy Graves Foundation in New York City. The exhibition is on view October 3 through November 16, 2008.

Member artists were invited to contribute an original print to the inaugural portfolio project, titled “First Impressions,” which is to be exhibited for the first time at the Saco Museum and will then be available to travel to other museums and galleries in the United States and Canada. Each artist submitted an 11 x 15 inch work, printed in an edition of ten on various papers, using different kinds of printmaking techniques. The prints are housed in a container designed and constructed by David Wolfe of Wolfe Editions in Portland, who has also hand-set and printed a colophon for each boxed set of prints.

Along with the Portfolio Project, additional work by Peregrine artists will be exhibited in the Saco Museum’s main gallery space. Linda Konheim Kramer writes: “As guest curator, I had the privilege of viewing new prints submitted by Peregrine artists and selecting some work from each printmaker for inclusion in the exhibition. The diversity of styles and techniques found in this show is amazing, considering how closely these printmakers work together.”

Founded in 1991, Peregrine Press offers a group of like-minded printmakers in the community a viable situation in which to share equipment, pool technical expertise, and exchange ideas. Printmaking is a primary medium for the associated artists. All the members are experienced printmakers who work in a wide variety of media and styles but have in common the desire to experiment with various techniques and print their own work. Their prints are often produced in unique or in small editions. The work in the exhibition ranges in technique from traditional woodcuts and etchings to Xerox lithographs and monotypes, frequently enhanced by other media. Peregrine Press has provided many printmakers with an affordable and accessible way to continue their practice of printmaking. The studio at the Bakery Building in Portland is run cooperatively by its 28 members and features an acid room for intaglio printing, a newly built darkroom for non-toxic photo-polymer etching, and two printing presses. Members use a wide variety of printmaking methods, including woodcut, collography, monotype, and etching.

This is the second exhibition at the Saco Museum of prints by Peregrine artists. As part of the 2006 statewide Maine Print Project, the University of Maine at Presque Isle curated a group exhibition of the work of Peregrine artists, which opened in Presque Isle and traveled to the Saco Museum.

Peregrine Press Artists
Judy Allen Efstathiou
Susan Amons
Christine Beneman
Mary K. Brennan
Jessyca Broekman
Sissy Buck
Stephen Burt
Kate Cheney Chappell
Blair Folts
Anne Garland
Alison Hildreth
Tyson Jacques
Andrew Jaspersohn
Noella Kingsley
Soozie Large
MaryLou Lipkin
Robin McCarthy
Frankie Odom
Jeanne O’Toole Hayman
Kit Pike
Liz Prescott
Sandra Quinn
Debbie Schmitt
Dorothy Schwartz
Alice Spencer
Phil Stevens
Andrea van Voorst van Beest
Richard Wilson

First Impressions: New Work by Peregrine Press Artists has been organized by the Peregrine Press in association with the Saco Museum.


Join us for the 2008 Festival of Trees at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum! Dozens of magnificently decorated trees and wreaths, as well as artist-designed ornaments and stockings, will fill the galleries of the Saco Museum. Now in its fourth year, the Festival of Trees is a community event to benefit the programs of the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. Deck the Halls: 2008 Festival of Trees is free and open to the public, thanks to our sponsors, beginning the evening of November 28 through Saturday, December 13.

Come drink in the spirit of the season and place a silent bid on a your favorite tree or holiday decoration. Trees, wreaths and holiday decorations are available for bidding through the Gala on Saturday, December 13. Ornaments, stockings, and silk table arrangements will be on sale throughout the festival. All proceeds benefit the educational and community programming efforts of the Dyer Library/Saco Museum.

One of the highlights of the festival every year is the drawing contest, open to students in Saco, Biddeford, and Old Orchard Beach schools. The drawing contest entries will be on view at the Dyer Library throughout the Festival of Trees, with special recognition for the contest winners.

You’re sure to find something you like on our lively schedule of events. The festival opens at 5 pm on Friday, November 28 with a tree lighting and ribbon cutting ceremony. Join us for hot chocolate and a first glimpse of the Festival of Trees! Other great family events include:

Teen Coffee House
Saco Museum
Friday, December 5, 6:30 - 9 p.m.
Light refreshments

Children’s Crafts Day
Deering Room, Dyer Library
Saturday, December 6, 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Mrs. Claus’s Gingerbread Tea
Deering Room, Dyer Library
Sunday, December 7
Seatings at 1 and 2:30 p.m.
Call 283-3861, x 102 to reserve a spot.

The Gala
Saco Museum
Saturday, December 13, 6 - 9 pm
Tickets are $30/person; space is limited
Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Dyer Library or Saco Museum

Extended hours for Deck the Halls: 2008 Festival of Trees are: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 12 – 5: Tuesday and Thursday: 12 – 8; Saturday: 9:30 – 6; and Sunday: 12 – 5. Admission is FREE thanks to the generous sponsorship of local businesses and individuals. For more information call 283-3861, press 2 for the museum and then press 0.

Happy Holidays!

Folk Art Dolls by Mary Ellen Roberge

In conjunction with the Maine Folk Art exhibit, the Saco Museum is pleased to present “A Seamstress’s Art: Dolls by Mary Ellen Roberge,” an exhibition celebrating the creativity, culture and influences of a woman who touched many people’s lives with her art.

The exhibition opens on Thursday, June 12 with a reception from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The public is invited to join us for this very special evening and light refreshments will be served. “A Seamstress’s Art” will be on view at the museum through Sunday, August 17, 2008.

Mrs. Roberge’s dolls tell a story not only of art and function but also immigration, economic survival and influence on future generations. Mary Ellen was an extraordinary seamstress and doll making was her artistic outlet. Her creativity deeply influenced several of her children, who have gone on to become artists in their own right. The exhibit will showcase her dolls and the stories they represent and offer a glimpse into everyday life of Franco-American life in Biddeford in the mid-20th century.


Maine Folk Art Trail

The Saco Museum is one of eleven museums across Maine exhibiting folk art collections simultaneously as part of the Maine Folk Art Trail 2008, a coordinated statewide exhibition. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for people to see some of America’s best folk art and explore various museums and their communities. The Saco Museum is exhibiting items from its collections as well as objects on loan from the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk and the Portland Fire Museum. The Maine Folk Art exhibit will be on display at the Saco Museum May 15 through September 28, 2008.

Folk art is a genre that combines art, craft and functionality. If you were to ask a room full of collectors, curators, museum directors and antique dealers to define “folk art,” a lively discussion would be sure to follow. Folk art is represented in many forms including portraiture, landscapes, still life, decorated furniture, schoolgirl art, trade signs, pottery, marine arts, weathervanes and other sculpture. The Maine Folk Art exhibition at the Saco Museum includes fantastic hand carved/painted signs, toys, portraiture, weathervanes and furniture. The magnificent wood carvings of Adelard Cote (1889 – 1974), a French-Canadian folk artist who lived in Biddeford, are an important part of the Saco Museum collection that will be featured in the exhibition.

The Maine Folk Art Trail collaborative exhibition was organized by Dr. Charles Burden, a Maine native and co-founder of the Bath Maritime Museum (now the Maine Maritime Museum), and Ray Egan, a collector and former board member of the American Museum of Folk Art in New York City. The other museums participating in the folk art trail are:

Bates College Museum of Art
Colby College Museum of Art
Farnsworth Art Museum
Maine Historical Society
Maine Maritime Museum
Maine State Museum
Museums of Old York
Penobscot Marine Museum
Rufus Porter Museum
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum

The exhibition dates vary at each venue so please visit the web site for more details. The Maine Folk Art Trail sponsors are: Davis Family Foundation, Carl M. Lindberg Family Foundation, American Folk Art Society, Northeast Auctions, Bill and Sally Gemmill, Maine Antique Digest, Maine Antique Dealers Association and an anonymous donor. The exhibition specifically at the Saco Museum is made possible, in part, thanks to the sponsorship of Island Point.


In the fall of 1906, two teenaged Saco girls were found guilty of “falling into habits of vice and immorality.” Both girls were sentenced by Judge John Deering to the “custody and guardian ship of the Maine Industrial School for girls.” To learn more about this pair of Saco’s bad girls and the Maine Industrial School for girls at Hallowell, please join us for a presentation by Camille Smalley at 7pm on Tuesday, April 15th in the Deering Room of the Dyer Library. The presentation is free and open to the public. Suggested donation is $5.

Camille Smalley is graduating this spring with a Batchelor’s degree in English from the University of New England. Saco’s Bad Girls and the Maine Industrial School for girls is the focus of her Women’s Studies thesis. Smalley began pursuing this topic in the fall of 2006 during a class taught by Dr. Elizabeth A. De Wolfe. The idea grew out of two snippets from the Biddeford Daily Journal of September and October 1906, and evolved into a longer research project. Smalley presented this research at the 21st Annual Maine Women’s Studies Conference at the University of Maine, Orono. Camille Smalley is a member of the Exhibit Team that developed and installed the current exhibition at the Saco Museum, Mary Bean: The Factory Girl or the Victim of Seducation. Ms. Smalley will be pursuing a Graduate Degree in American and New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine this fall.


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. The exhibition Mary Bean: The Factory Girl or the Victim of Seduction explores the story behind this murder. The exhibit will be on view at the Saco Museum from Feb. 29 – May 24, 2008. A special thanks to our sponsors who have helped to make this exhibition possible: DeWolfe & Wood Rare Books, The Kent State University Press, Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution and University of New England.

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 a fascinating exhibition based upon DeWolfe’s recently published book The Murder of Mary Bean and Other Stories. Using the story of Berengera Caswell’s life and death (Mary Bean was an alias), the exhibition explores 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 will be used to tell Berengera’s story.

Andrea Cochrane, Saco Museum Director, and DeWolfe team taught a course at UNE in Fall 2007 where 15 students learned about museums and public history through the design and development of an exhibition about the Mary Bean story. Seven students are continuing to work with the museum the Spring 2008 semester through internship/citizenship to install the exhibition and develop and manage programs and assist with school tours.

"In the Shadow of Intolerance"

In honor of Black History Month, the Saco Museum is pleased to present the exhibit “In the Shadow of Intolerance,” a remarkable collection of high quality, black and white photographs assembled by businessman Sam Zaitlin. The collection includes 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. The exhibit is on view through March 1.

“In the Shadow of Intolerance” includes the work of four photographers: Danny Lyon
(b. 1942), E.O. Goldbeck (1892 – 1986), Yevgeny Khaldei (1917 – 1997) and Ernest Whithers (1922 – 2007). Lyon, recognized as a photographer, filmmaker and writer of the late 20th century, became involved in the civil rights movement in 1962 when he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). His powerful images from this era are recognized for documenting the “behind the scenes” aspects of the movement. Goldbeck is known for his large-scale group portraits and is often referred to as the unofficial photographer of the U.S. military during World War II. Khaldei worked as photographer with the official Soviet press agency and covered the Nuremberg Trial of Nazi war criminals.

Whithers, an African American who worked as a photographer in the Army during World War II and opened his own studio upon his return from the war, documented numerous historic moments of the civil rights movement in America during the 1950s and 1960s. Whithers traveled with some of the movement’s legendary leaders, like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many times he was the first, if not the only, photographer to capture a poignant and historic moment on film. While Whithers may have been had unprecedented access, his photographs were used by the African-American papers, but not the national wire services.

Mr. Zaitlin says that he collected these images because “history fascinates me and maintaining a memory of historical events is important. Otherwise we won’t learn from the past.” Universality of intolerance is the common theme that links these photographs. When asked what he hopes people will take away from this exhibit, Zaitlin replied that there are several things, including “That they understand the damage and pain intolerance inflicts on societies and individuals alike. But at the same time, that they see the beauty and dignity of Martin Luther King, both at Medgar Evers’ funeral and as he sits contemplatively before delivering his eulogy at the funeral for the four girls killed in the Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.”

Join us for Mr. Zaitlin's Gallery Talks on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 1:30 pm and Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7 pm. Both talks are free and open to the public.

Join us Thursday, Feb. 14 for a talk by Gerald Talbot, author and leader in the Maine Civil Rights movement. Talk begins at 7 pm - Main Gallery in the Saco Museum.

All programs are free and open to the public. Suggested donation: $5

The Wild and Ordinary Faces of... Transition...Wonder.

There will be some new faces hanging around at the Saco Museum for the next couple of weeks. The Wild and Ordinary Faces of...Transition...Wonder is an exhibition of masks created by students and faculty of the Saco Transition Program in partnership with VSA arts of Maine Artist Residency Program, led by artist Marita Kennedy Castro. The display runs through Saturday, January 26, 2008.

The Saco Transition Program is a nontraditional, innovative high school setting that promotes academic and social emotional development for at-risk students with special needs. This program is designed for students who require a more intensive, supportive, educational environment to access their academic potential in order to work toward a high school diploma.

VSA arts of Maine is a non-profit organization providing arts, educational and cultural opportunities for children and adults with disabilities in Maine. Through innovative and inclusive arts programs, VSA arts of Maine promotes the creative power in people with disabilities. Artist Residencies and Community Arts Programs are designed to provide unique learning experiences through the arts for all students in K-12 inclusive and special needs classrooms.

Winter Wonderland at Saco Museum

The Saco Museum is filled with a festive holiday atmosphere with over 50 custom decorated trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses! Don't wait -- the Festival of Trees is only on display through Sat. Dec. 8!

Trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and great gift certificates are available for silent bidding through Sat. Dec. 8. All proceeds benefit the Dyer Library/Saco Museum.

For more information call 283-3861, press 2 for the museum and then press 0.

Great family events related to the Festival are:

Acoustic Teen Coffee House
Friday, Nov. 30 6:30 - 9 pm
Guitar Raffle
Light refreshments

Kids Krafts at the Library
Deering Room
Sat. Dec. 1 9:30 - 2

Teddy Bear Tea
Deering Room, Dyer Library
Sun. Dec. 2
Seatings at 1 and 2:30
RESERVATIONS Required; Space is limited
Call 283-3861 x 102 to reserve a spot.

The Gala
Sat. Dec. 8
6 - 9 pm
Tickets are $25/person
Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Library or Museum.
Space is limited.


Civil War exhibit at Saco Museum

Merit is better than fame: The Civil War & the Women & Men of Maine

“There we stood in the drizzle, all orders given in whispers, and although we knew we faced a dreadful battle, we were not sorry to hear the voice of Chanticleer, announcing the dawn of a new day. There was something terribly weird in this massing of troops at this time of day, in the hooting of owls as the dark figures of men moved through the pines, in the sobbing of the wind through the wet trees. The order to move to the attack wasn’t half so disagreeable as one might think.” – Excerpt form the diary of Private John W. Haley, 17th Maine Regiment, May 12th, 1864, describing the beginning of the battle of Spotsylvania

Private John W. Haley’s 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 Maine’s 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 will showcase musket balls, rifles, swords, daguerreotypes, photographs, diaries, letters and uniforms to tell the story of Maine people and the war.

The exhibit is on view now through Sunday, November 11, 2007.
Special thanks to our exhibition sponsor General Dynamics.

Two great exhibits: Wrinkles in Time: Historic Quilts to Art Quilts and A Matter of Perception, art from VSA Arts of Maine

Wrinkles in Time: Historic Quilts to Art Quilts and
A Matter of Perception - presented by VSA Arts of Maine.

Both exhibitions were on view through July 8, 2007.

For more information, read on...

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

VSA arts of Maine is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization providing arts, educational and cultrual opportunities for children and adults with disabilities in Maine.

Wrinkles in Time
The Saco Museum and Art Quilts Maine (AQM) were pleased to present Wrinkles in Time: Historic Quilts to Art Quilts. Using quilts from the Museum’s 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.”

Long viewed as merely a functional necessity, historic or antique quilts are increasingly recognized for the expressions of creativity or insights into community life that they represent. The type of material, batting or lining, pattern and colors offer many clues about the woman (or women) who made a particular quilt. Selections from the Saco Museum’s wonderful crazy quilt collection were on display as well as other styles of quilts.

Founded in 1998, Art Quilts Maine is part of the state-wide guild, Pine Tree Quilters Guild. AQM supports its members in their exploration of quilting as a contemporary art form through demonstrations, workshops and exhibits. With roots in traditional quilting, artists may utilize a myriad of visual art techniques, including painting, printing, photography, graphic design, assemblage and sculpture to create an art quilt. Currently, AQM has about 45 members throughout the state of Maine.

In conjunction with the quilt exhibit, contemporary embroidery pieces by members of the Southern Maine Chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild were on exhibit for the month of May at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. Like quilting, embroidery has rich traditions associated with it. Embroidery and needlework from the museum’s collection were on exhibit in various galleries in the museum during the course of the quilt exhibit.

Student Art Show Best Ever!

Raw talent! Fresh ideas! Fantastic! Awesome! Colorful! Inspiring!

These are all words that visitors have used to describe the current K - 8 Student Art Show. Celebrate Student Art, a biennial exhibit, features artwork from almost all the students from Young, Fairfield, Burns, Dayton Consolidated and Saco Middle School.

From 3-D wooden figures, to colorful flowers to friendly paper mache spiders -- this exhibition is bound to make you smile!!!

Perfume bottles on display

In the spirit of Valentine and romance, stop by the museum to see our new display of perfume bottles from the museum's collection. This small exhibit was organized by Sara Vandeventer, a junior at University of New England, who is working with the museum staff as an intern this semester.

Peregrine Press celebrates 15 years

This year Peregrine Press celebrates 15 years as a thriving printmaking collaborative. The work of all 30 Peregrine Press members is represented in the show. A broad spectrum of printing techniques are featured including lithograph, etching, intaglio and monotypes. The exhibit coincides with the major statewide initiative Maine Print Project: Celebrating 200 Years of Printmaking in Maine.

Come “Home for the Holidays” with the second annual Festival of Trees!

The Saco Museum is proud to present their second annual Festival of Trees. Visit the Dyer Library and Saco Museum this holiday season and be delighted by our fifty decorated trees of all sizes, wreaths, and a gingerbread village complete with a train, vintage ornaments, and teddy bears. In addition, drawings by local school children will fill the walls of the Dyer Library. This year the festival will be open from Saturday, November 25th through Sunday, December 10th. The Festival will be free of charge thanks to the generosity of over 80 supporting businesses and individuals.

In celebration of the Festival, the Dyer Library and Saco Museum will be enjoying special extended hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday 12-5; Tuesday and Thursday 12-8; and Saturday 9:30-6.

Trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses will be available for bidding during a week-long silent auction that culminates at the Gala on Friday, December 1st. For your convenience, large trees purchased from the auction will be delivered, decorated, free of charge within a 25-mile radius.

Several free programs are being offered in conjunction with “Home for the Holidays”. These programs are:

Progressive Outdoor Tree Lighting
Friday, November 24th.
Join us downtown to kick-off the holiday season. First tree lighting is outside at the Dyer Library / Saco Museum at 5pm; the second, at Main/Storer Streets in Saco at 5:45pm; and the third, at Biddeford City Hall at 7pm.

Join Santa for a parade beginning at Main/Storer Streets at 6:15 and leading to Biddeford City Hall for the final tree lighting of the evening.

Children’s Crafts
Saturday, December 2nd and 9th
In the Deering Room of the Dyer Library.

Teddy Bear Tea*
Sunday, December 3rd (snow date December 10th)
seatings at 1:00, 2:30, and 4:00
In the Deering Room of the Dyer Library.
*Reservations are required.

Teen Coffee House
Friday, December 8th (snow date December 9th)
At the Saco Museum.
There will be a raffle drawing for a guitar at this event!

Congregation Etz Chaim in Biddeford marks 100th Anniversary with Exhibition at Saco Museum

Congregation Etz Chaim in Biddeford marks 100th Anniversary with Exhibition at Saco Museum.

Join Congregation Etz Chaim and the Saco Museum as we celebrate 100 years of Jewish life in Saco and Biddeford!

Visitors to the exhibit will be able to examine 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 includes community photos, historical documents, cultural artifacts, and films of synagogue events.The exhibition runs through Sunday, November 12th, 2006.

Ocean Park Celebrates 125 Years

The Ocean Park Association and the Saco Museum are pleased to present "Chautauqua by the Sea: Ocean Park Celebrates 125 Years", on display at the Saco Museum until August 27th. The exhibit combines 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.

In addition to the exhibit, a variety of programming will be presented:

July 20th "The History of the Chautauqua Movement", presented by Frank Gwalthney in the Deering Room of the Dyer Library, 371 Main Street, Saco. Admission is free.

July 27th "Music of the late 19th Century", a lecture and demonstration by conductor William Fred Scott in the Temple, 50 Temple Avenue, Ocean Park.

August 1st "Stories of Ocean Park", a lecture by OPA Business Manager Richard Skillin in Jordan Hall, 48 Temple Avenue, Ocean Park.

August 3rd "A History of the Free Will Baptists", presented by Frank Gwalthney in Jordan Hall, 48 Temple Avenue, Ocean Park.

All programs start at 7:30 pm and have a suggested donation of $5 (excluding the July 20th lecture).

The exhibition The Best & The Bizarre:

Saco Museum Jubilee - 140 years of history, curiosities & decorative arts is on view at the Saco Museum. This major exhibition celebrates the museum’s rich history and its remarkable collection of decorative arts, textiles and furniture as well as some of the bizarre or unusual items. The breadth of the museum’s permanent collection means that there is something for everyone to enjoy from birds, antiques, beautiful costumes, a sword made out of Chinese coins and a 21-pound lock!

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 features 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 includes rare 19th century bird's eye view lithographs of Saco and Biddeford - the "Google Earth" of their day. These enhanced perspective colored prints of the cities show a detailed view of every building in the downtowns in 1875.

Thanks to students in a television production class at Thornton Academy, the exhibition will include a video about the Johnson-Wolcott camera. A slide show about the Pilgrim’s Progress panorama, another treasure in the museum’s collection, will also be part of the display. Historic images, original documents and objects will be used to capture the story of the museum’s history. The Best & The Bizarre will be on view through October 1, 2006.

Garden Artistry: Past & Present Exhibition

Garden Artistry: Past & Present is on display from February 16 - May 14, 2006. This show features three different exhibitions. The Lost Gardens of New England is an exhibition organized by Historic New England and presented by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Boston, MA. It draws upon the wealth of images – drawings, watercolors, and historic photographs – in Historic New England’s collection.

Artist in Your Garden is a collaborative exhibit between Saco watercolorist Judith Kinsman and Saco garden designer Carol Galli. In conjunction with Artist in Your Garden, the Saco Museum is offering a 4-part watercolor class taught by Ms. Kinsman and a 3-part garden design class led by Carol Galli.

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

Making Spirits Bright: A Festival of Trees

The Saco Museum presents the first annual Festival of Trees. Making Spirits Bright is open December 3rd through December 11th. Families will enjoy vintage holiday ornaments, 21 designer trees, 10 youth trees, children's trees, a gingerbread village, and a teddy bear display.

Thanks to the support of our sponsors the entire Festival is FREE!

Be sure to stop by and vote for your favorite tree and gingerbread house and bid on a tree in the Silent Auction. Bid on a tree for yourself or give it as a gift to another organization or family. Trees will be delivered within a 25 mile radius. Delivery time will be arranged with the winning bidder. All proceeds benefit the Saco Museum.

Special Museum HOURS:
Saturday Dec 3 & 10 - 9:30 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday Dec. 4 & 11 Noon - 6 pm
Monday Dec. 5 Noon - 6 pm
Tuesday Dec. 6 Noon - 8 pm
Wed. Dec. 7 Noon - 6 pm,
Thurs. Dec. 8 Noon - 8 pm
Friday Dec. 9 Noon - 8 pm

Simple Gifts - The Alfred Shakers 1787 - 1931

The exhibition at the Saco Museum, Simple Gifts: The Alfred Shakers 1783-1931, brings together some of the most celebrated pieces from the Alfred (Maine) community. Over 300 historic images, drawings, furniture, smalls, and fancy goods are used to explore all aspects of Alfred Shaker community life, including industries and religion.

This is 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 is a collaborative effort between the Saco Museum and Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum.

For more information, photos and a lecture schedule, follow this link.

New England Watercolor Society - Regional Show

The Annual Regional Show of the New England Watercolor Society was on display at the Saco Museum from June 30 - August 7, 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

The Saco Museum is pleased to be one of three Maine venues to host "Barn Again! Celebrating an American Icon." This Smithsonian traveling exhibit examines the origin and fate of the barn in its various roles as an agricultural building and icon. The exhibit explores how barns were built and how their uses have changed.

Additional exhibits and programming developed by the Saco Museum will highlight the region's farming history and explore how it has changed over the last 40 years. Artifacts from the Museum's permanent collection, as well as items on loan from community residents, will be used to help tell the story of dairy farming, marsh haying, and ice harvesting. Timber framing, a common construction technique for many older and historic barns, will also be explored in the exhibit.

EXHIBITION DATES: April 7 - June 8, 2005

Barn Again! was created by the Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Barn Again is made possible in Maine by the Maine Humanities Council.

Celebrations of Student Art!

The creativity, color and variety of artwork created by the K - 8 students in Saco and Dayton was the focus of this exhibit. With art from hundreds of students included in the exhibit, almost every square inch of wall space was covered!

The Painters' Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress

The gigantic "Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress"--known as "The Painters' Panorama" because of the participation of painters from the Hudson River School of landscape painting -- is one of the Saco Museum's most extraordinary artifacts.

The panorama was a popular 19th century entertainment combining elements of painting and theater. Giant scenes would move across the front of a hall in this precursor to cinema. The "Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress" was considered the greatest panorama of its day (the mid 19th century) because it was executed by well-trained artists and included designs by Daniel Huntington, Jasper Cropsey, and Frederic Edwin Church, still considered one of America's best landscape painters.

In 1848 two aspiring young artists connected with the National Academy of Design in New York conceived of the idea of creating an eight-foot high, 1200 foot long panorama illustrating John Bunyan's religious allegory in 54 scenes. For Edward Harrison May (1824-1887) and Joseph Kyle (1815-1863), the panorama was a logical step in following recent trends in popular art and entertainment. Panoramas were at the crest of their commercial success in the 1840's and 1850's.

The project was a runaway success, selling $100,000 in tickets in just six months. The artists decided to make another, this time painted by Kyle and Jacob Dallas. With great reviews and high praise publicized along the route, the second version of the panorama toured the U.S. throughout the 1850's. In its day, it was the Cadillac of panoramas, the product of the finest artists and illustrators working in America.

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.

John Brewster, Jr: Itinerant Portrait Painter

This exhibition showcased the largest known collection of paintings by John Brewster, Jr. (1766 – 1854). Born without the ability to speak or hear, Brewster earned a living as a traveling painter. Brewster’s straightforward, precise, and profoundly expressive style makes him one of the masters of American primitive painting.