The Castine Historical Society continues to follow the state of Maine’s Covid guidelines.  While our offices remain closed to visitors, staff are onsite working Monday-Friday. Please continue to check our 2022 Season Updates page, follow us on Facebook, or sign up for our e-blast communications to get up-to-date information on the 2022 season.  Thank you for your understanding. In the meantime, learn more about Castine by taking our Castine History Virtual Tour

In the meantime, view some highlights from our 2019-2020 exhibit with this virtual tour. Click on the right arrow to begin the exhibit. For best viewing, click the to the right of the page numbers at the bottom of the slideshow to view in full screen, which is best viewed on PCs, Macs and iPads.  Please note that full screen mode may be limited on iphones.

Detail of portrait of Ship Castine, artist Francis Hustwick. Private Collection.With its 2020-2021 special exhibit, the Castine Historical Society invites visitors to step back in time to the 1800s when Castine’s working waterfront thrived on a global market. Shipyards and a dozen active wharves stood along a half mile Castine Harbor. Chandleries and sailmakers on Water and Sea Streets outfitted schooners and square-riggers amidst the smell of tar and fish and wood.

Castine merchants and shipowners ran an effective and largely self-contained international trade in fish, cotton, and salt from about 1820 to 1860.   But not without trouble, hardship, and loss for almost everyone involved. This economic prosperity depended, after all, on men and women sailing wooden ships out into Penobscot Bay and across the open ocean to carry merchandise to distant ports.

The motivation for this exhibit is the extensive research and writings of guest curator Richard Ames whose family history served as a catalyst for his study. The Castine Historical Society has published Ames’ fully-illustrated book, Risky Business: A Maine Village Goes Global, which can be purchased here.

Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of:

Majabigwaduce Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution,
located in Brooksville, Maine

Maine Humanities Council
Thomas Adams and Nancy Marto