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Wilson Museum

Wilson Museum Facts

The Wilson Museum was founded by Dr. John Howard Wilson who first came to Castine with his mother, Cassine Cartwright Wilson, in 1891. In 1921 Mrs. Wilson gave the west end of her lot to build a museum for Dr. Wilson’s collections. Three other buildings were added to the property in the late 1960s: The John Perkins House, Blacksmith Shop and a small exhibit building.

Building on the legacy of its founding family, the Wilson Museum uses its diverse collections and learning experiences to stimulate exploration of the natural history and cultures of the Penobscot Bay region and the world.

The Blacksmiths shop has been fully furnished in the manner of an 1860 workshop, though it does not attempt to recreate any one specific shop.

The John Perkins House has been restored and fitted to resemble the way in which it stood in 1783.

The Wilson Museum has an extensive array of collections, dealing with both natural and man-made history. The collections include: rocks, minerals and shells, prehistoric artifacts from North and South America, exhibits of early tools from Europe and Africa, six dioramas, displays of Oceanic, African and North and South American cultures, early weapons and firearms, local history, ship models and nineteenth century tools and equipment. The Museum also features a reconstructed kitchen and parlor as well as archival materials on Castine and the local area's history. Special exhibits are shown in the museum during the summer.

The land was given for the Wilson Museum, which is the compound's main holding, in 1921. Since then two other buildings have been added to the grounds: the John Perkins House and the Blacksmith Shop.

The Perkins House was originally built in 1763 as a one story home. By 1783 it had been taken down so that two-story house could be erected in its stead. However over time the building fell into disrepair and by the 1960s was condemned as afire hazard. In 1968 the Castine Scientific Society bought the building and proceeded to take it apart and move it to the grounds of the Wilson Museum. The portions that were sound enough were reconstructed.

Much of the Perkins house that couldn't be reconstructed as was went instead towards building the Blacksmith's shop. Several other old buildings in the area contributed materials to the project as well. The shop is built to resemble one from 1860.