8 Oddball Maine Museums

From chainsaws to cheese whisks: curious repositories are Reason #155 in our "200 Reasons to Love Maine" special bicentennial issue.

Maine's Oddball Museums
Jamie McCaffrey | Creative Commons via flickr is.gd/Vyj1KY
By Virginia M. Wright

A successful roadside museum needs two things: a tourist-trafficked byway and somebody passionate and/or eccentric enough to collect a whole lot of something. Thankfully, Maine’s got plenty of both — because if Mainers didn’t curate this stuff, who would?

Chainsaws. Woodsman Louie Pelletier displays more than 300 vintage saws — surprisingly colorful and varied — in a shed next to his woodshop, including a rare made-in-Maine model, produced by Bangor’s D.D. Terrill Saw Company in the 1950s. Louie’s Antique Chain Saws, 162 Allagash Rd., Allagash. 207-398-4115.

Farm Machinery. Growing up on a farm left Lawrence Lord with a soft spot for the tools of the trade, particularly curiosities like a pig oiler (designed to keep oinkers cool) and a goat treadmill for powering machines. He’s got two barns full of antiques — carriages, lawn mowers, lanterns, and thousands of iron tractor seats that he’s repainted in brilliant colors. Lawrence Lord’s Old Farm Museum, 1260 Airline Rd., Alexander. 207-214-7811. Open only by appointment.

Seashells. The late Kenneth Stoddard started his collection of thousands of beautiful shells (and sea stars, seahorse skeletons, and other bits of marine life) during a Navy stint in the South Pacific. His son, Lee, who died in 2018, added to the trove, put it in glass cases, and installed it in a handsome covered bridge at his mini-golf course. Kenneth E. Stoddard Shell Museum, 510 Wiscasset Rd., Boothbay. 207-633-4828.

Snowmobiles. In the 1950s, Great Northern Paper’s phone-line crew traveled from logging camp to logging camp in a Bombardier snowmachine that looked like a giant, deep-blue beetle. The Northern Timber Cruisers sled club has one, along with 50-odd other vintage sleds, many of which still work. Antique Snowmobile Museum, Millinocket Rd., Millinocket. 207-723-6203. northerntimbercruisers.com

Tools. Skip Brack became fascinated with old tools while scouring abandoned barns for usable woodworking implements. Pieces in his collection date back to the Red Paint People (stones hewn for arrowheads, knives, and gouges) and include hoes and handsaws, chisels and cheese whisks from the earliest Maine settlements. Davistown Museum, 58 Main St., Liberty. 207-589-4900. davistownmuseum.org

Toys. Artist John Fawcett has packed his 19th-century home (a former tavern) with toys and pop-culture artifacts: 1930s Disneyana, 1950s cereal-box prizes, original comic-book art featuring Felix the Cat, Popeye, Li’l Abner, and more. Fawcett’s Antique Toy & Art Museum, 3506 Rte. 1, Waldoboro. 207-832-7398. maineantiquetoymuseum.com

Umbrella Covers. Is there anything sadder and lonelier than an umbrella cover, forever exiled to the Bin of Forgotten Outerwear? Tongue firmly in cheek, Peaks Islander (and Guinness World Record holder) Nancy 3. Hoffman (yes, “3” is her middle name) presents her collection of nearly 800 sleeves as if they were precious artifacts. Umbrella Cover Museum, 62-B Island Ave., Peaks Island. 207-939-0301. umbrellacovermuseum.org

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July 2020