Explore the Rich History and Culture of Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park
Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park’s beauty are well known — from the charming coastal scenes of our downtown to the rolling mountains and craggy coastlines of the park. What is less well known, however, are the stories behind that beauty, many of which live on and are celebrated today. These museums, experiences, and organizations bring a new dimension to your favorite vacation destination.
(Photo Credit - Dobbs Productions)
- The Abbe Museum: For 12,000 years, Native American peoples have lived on the lands that are considered present-day Maine. Today, the Wabanaki (meaning People of the Dawnland) include four tribes — the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot — who live throughout the state. Their history and present-day legacy are rich stories of resilience and innovativeness. Today you can learn about the Wabanaki Nations at the Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine. It’s a place that will engage the senses with interactive exhibits but also offers space for reflection. Their annual Indian Market offers the chance to support Native American artists from across the U.S. — offering traditional and contemporary works — from jewelry to handwoven baskets.
- Museums in the Streets: Craving some sightseeing around town, but with something a little extra? The historic walking tour Museum in the Streets may be just what is called for, taking you through historic sites, inns, and locations. Follow along on our app for a backstory of each location, or keep an eye out for the placards.
- Acadia National Park’s Historic Buildings and Bridges: Explore some of the architectural highlights that represent the earliest days of (and in some cases, predate) the park. Take the time to stop and admire the historic bridges that expand through forests, streams, and roads. The intricate stonework of the bridges on the Carriage Roads is a testament to craftsmanship and time.
- Bar Harbor Historical Society: 18th-century Bar Harbor was full of glitz and glam — as this on-site mansion, La Rochelle, will showcase. Built in 1903, the lavish, 13,000-square-foot- "home” had twenty bedrooms and ten full bathrooms sprawling across two acres of land. Today you can learn about the stories of the past as you tour the property, the mansion, and an impressive array of historic objects.
- Seal Cove Auto Museum: Whisk yourself back in time — from 1895 to 1920, to be specific. This museum houses antique automobiles that will engage car and history enthusiasts. More than cars, it’s also a place of stories and history, showcasing invention and innovation, art, design, women’s rights, and social and economic changes.