Northern New England: Maine Art Museums

We’re proud to be a Northern New England IT Staffing and Technical Consulting company, which is why we’re continuing our series of blog posts on the area.maine art museums

Today, we’ll be exploring what Maine has to offer in the area of art museums.

Art museums? I know. It’s not exactly what you think of when you hear Northern New England. But that’s the point. Not many people realize that you don’t have to drive to Boston to find a nationally recognized art museum. We’ve got the likes of artists such as Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, and Edward Hopper in museums all over Maine. There are seven well-established art museums in the Pine Tree State which attract people from all over the country.



Located in Lewiston, the Bates College Museum of Art concentrates on paper works as well as pieces by Maine artists. Understanding the need to diversify, however, Bates College Museum of Art also houses:

  • Old Master Prints
  • 19th & 20th century European Pieces (Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Rouault)
  • 20th Century American Works (Mary Cassatt, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, John Sloan, and George Bellows)
  • Contemporary Paper Work (Anne Harris, Charlie Hewitt, Robert Indiana, and Alison Saar)
  • Contemporary Photography
  • Non-Western Holdings (contemporary African and Chinese photography, Japanese woodblock prints)

The Museum is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. To find out more about the museum, follow this link:



The donation of 70 paintings and a portfolio of Old Master drawings from James Bowdoin III in 1811 started the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. It is now one of the oldest college art collections in the country.

At the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, there are 14 galleries, including a media gallery, which together house over 20,000 objects. At the museum, you can find:

  • Decorative Arts (American, Ancient, European, Non-Western, Pre-Columbian)
  • Paintings (American, European, Non-Western)
  • Sculpture (American, Ancient, European, Native American, Non-Western, Pre-Columbian)
  • Works on Paper (American drawings, American prints, Euopean drawings, European prints, Non-Western drawings, Photographs, Stencils)
  • Illustrations
  • Portraits of Presidents of Bowdoin College 
  • Winslow Homer Collection (Letters, Objects & Memorabilia, Paintings)

The Bowdoin College Museum of Art is open Tuesday – Saturday (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) with hours extended until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings. To find out more about the museum, follow this link:


Since it’s inception in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art has gathered over 7,000 pieces. Although considered an American and Contemporary art museum, Colby also has European prints, drawings, and paintings as well as the Bernat Collection of Asian Ceramics.

At Colby, you can find the works of artists such as:

  • John Singleton Copley
  • Winslow Homer
  • Mary Cassatt
  • Robert Henri
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • John Marin
  • George Bellows
  • Marsden Hartley
  • Alex Katz 
  • Richard Serra 
  • Adolph Gottlieb

The museum is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and from 12 – 5 p.m. on Sunday. To find out more about the museum, follow this link:


Located in Rockland, the Farnsworth Art Museum is nationally recognized for it’s American art. Their permanent exhibit, Maine in America, is filled with the works of artists like Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, Thomas Eakins, Eastman Johnson, and Fitz Henry Lane.

At the Farnsworth, you can find the second largest collection in the United States of Louise Nevelson’s sculptures as well as a gallery dedicated to the Wyeth family.

Their hours vary depending on the season. For more information about the museum, follow this link:


This 1,600 piece collection is the only one in Maine dedicated solely to American art. These paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and photographs date back to the 1800s and include the works of Will Barnet, Edward Hopper, John Marin, Charles Demuth, and Margaret Bourke-White.

With its glass wall that overlooks the water, this is a museum that is not to be missed. For more information about the museum, follow this link:


The Portland Museum of Art was founded in 1882 and currently holds over 17,000 objects. The date of inception and its size makes it the oldest and largest public art institution in the state.

The art, some of which dates back to the 18th century, includes American and European artists alike. There are three major collections: State of Maine, European and American. Here you can find works by Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and George Bellows. There are many educational programs for visitors to partake in.

The Museum is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. though it does have extended hours on Friday, when it closes at 9 p.m. For more information on the Portland Museum of Art, follow this link:


The University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor opened its doors in 1946 with the purpose of teaching Maine residents about art. Today, with its 7,000 pieces from all over the world, it does just that.

The museum houses contemporary art by Jim Dine, Kara Walker, and Elizabeth Murray as well as Maine art by Winslow Homer, Bernice Abbott, and John Marin. The museum also has works by Pablo Picasso, Louise Nevelson and Max Beckman. For more information about visiting the University of Maine Museum of Art, follow this link:


While we might not be known for being an art center, Maine certainly can boast an impressive number of art museums with big name artists. Maine is certainly an outdoor hub but it has other cultural perks.

What have your experiences been at these museums? Would you recommend them? Let us know in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!


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Northern New England

Thanks to Cara StHilaire for the use of their respective photographs.