BAR HARBOR —The Abbe Museum has begun making its non-archaeological items available online with the goal of uploading all such items to its searchable database over the course of the next 12 months.
“We have been looking forward to sharing our collections online for a long time,” said Julia Gray, director of collections and interpretation. “With only a small portion of our collections on exhibit at any time, this gives people a chance to see so much more and to learn about Wabanaki history and culture through art and objects from anywhere in the world. We are also excited to use this as a platform to welcome Wabanaki community input and perspectives on our collections.”
The museum has been using PastPerfect museum software since 2000 to manage its collections, and they are now using their online platform to share its collections with everyone, near and far. The database allows users to browse the collections, carry out a general keyword search and even dig a little deeper with a more targeted advanced search. Images and detailed information about each piece are available. Virtual visitors can share what they find with friends through email and social media, as well as share feedback with the museum directly from the website.
To start, approximately 100 of the roughly 1,800 records in the museum’s local database have been uploaded, and more will continue to be added until all of the non-archaeological collections can be seen on the site. Work to put the archaeological collections online is scheduled to begin in 2018.
Visitors can check out everything from an etched birch bark box by Tomah Joseph that illustrates Passamaquoddy life to mid-19th-century Penobscot baskets that are still vivid with indigo and other natural dyes. Intricate porcupine quill boxes created by Mi’kmaq artists during the late 1800s and some of the most outstanding work being done by Wabanaki artists today also can be viewed. Visit abbemuseum.pastperfectonline.com.
The launch of the Abbe’s online collections database was made possible by the outstanding work of summer intern Katy Matthews, who spent the past several months preparing records for upload and gathering information that was missing from the database.
This project is funded by grants from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Community Foundation.
The mission of the Abbe Museum, Maine’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate, is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit. With two locations – in downtown Bar Harbor and inside Acadia National Park at Sieur de Monts Spring – the Abbe works closely with the Wabanaki people to share their stories, history and culture with a broader audience. With a collection of over 70,000 archaeological, historic and contemporary objects, the museum’s collections conservation program is recognized nationally as a model for museums. The Abbe also holds the largest and best-documented collection of Maine Native American basketry in any museum. Visit www.abbemuseum.org