The Penobscot Marine Museum and the Maine Seacoast Mission collaborated to bring shadow boxes telling Maine maritime stories to seven island communities Aug. 16-19 aboard the Sunbeam. The trip Started in Northeast Harbor and continued on to Isle au Haut, North Haven, Islesboro, Stonington, Swans Island and Great Cranberry. The show went ashore at the end of August to the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland where hundreds more people came to see it before the artwork was sold. The trip was supported in part by grants from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission, the Wyeth Foundation and several private donors.
The show travelled aboard the Sunbeam V, a 79-foot steel vessel that the Maine Seacoast Mission uses to bring healthcare, education, ministers and other services to Maine islands. The Sunbeam is shown here tied up at the pier in Isle au Haut.
Penobscot Marine Museum director Liz Lodge on the stern of the Sunbeam as it leaves Northeast Harbor headed for Isle au Haut.
French artist A. Emmanuelle Marpeau, shown here at the stern of the Sunbeam, made 10 shadowboxes for the floating art show. The boxes, which she calls ex-votos, illustrate stories from Maine Islands, including shipwrecks, boat-building and other historical events.
"Burnt Island" shows a house that once occupied Burnt Island in the Little Fox Island Thoroughfare. It tells the story of a tinker with a monkey who used to visit the family that lived there. A visitor to the floating art show told museum staff that he once lived in the house, which was moved in the early 1900s to downtown North Haven.
Some of the works illustrate true stories, but with a mystical bent. The Jennie Pillsbury tells the story of a schooner that ran aground on a ledge at the entrance to Penobscot Bay. Her crew went ashore to wait for the tide to float the vessel free. But she freed herself and sailed off without them, never to be seen again.
Leslie and Alice tells the story of Albion Morse of Cushing who built very fast boats based on a pond model he made for his son.
Some of Marpeau's works are simple depictions of 19th century scenes, such as this collection of school children on Monhegan in 1884.
A. Emmanuelle Marpeau and Liz Lodge share coffee on the way out of Northeast Harbor on the first day of the cruise.
The Sunbeam leaves the mountains of Mt. Desert Island behind as it steams towards Isle au Haut.
Chef Pat Dutille is a regular Sunbeam crew member. She made sure passengers and visitors ate well during the three day trip.
From left, Polly Saltonstall, Emmnuelle Marpeau, Jack Hanson, Andy Schlebecker and Liz Lodge eat one of many delicious meals aboard the Sunbeam.
The artwork was wrapped in bubblewrap and stored in wooden boxes between ports. The boxes, designed and built by museum curator Ben Fuller and building and grounds supervisor Dennis Hansen, then served as stands when the show was set up.
Penobscot Marine Museum Assistant Curator and Registrar Cipperly Good helped set up the show as the boat arrived in each port.
Between ports the boxes were stored in grey-painted wooden chests which doubled as stands when the display was set up in port for visitors.
Museum Director Liz Lodge helps artist A. Emmanuelle Marpeau set up the show at a port of call.
The show, designed by museum curator Ben Fuller, was installed on tables covered with old sails. The cabin was dark, which meant visitors used flashlights to see details. Here it is all installed waiting for visitors.
At every port, visitors packed into the small galley to view the art.
Many viewers used flashlights to see details in the works. Children especially enjoyed the show.
Viewers here are learning about a Cushing boat builder who built very fast Friendship sloops based on a pond model he built for his son.
By the time the boxes finally came ashore they were smudged with fingerprints from many small viewers getting a closer look!
Marpeau tells a group of youngsters the story of the Royal Tar, a steamship carrying a circus that caught on fire and sank off Vinalhaven in the 1860s. In one of her boxes, she imaged a whole new underwater world after the wreck where the circus performers put on another show.
Capt. Mike Johnson, left, keeps an eye on the dock. First Mate Story King, is on the right. King and Johnson are part of the Sunbeam's regular crew.
First Mate Storey King at the helm, while Captain Mike Johnson takes a break. The boat sails most of the time on auto pilot.
Captain Mike Johnson, shown here at his post, keeps a sharp eye on the instrument panels to make sure the boat is on its proper course.
Videographer Andy Schlebecker interviews museum director Liz Lodge. Schlebecker, a freshman at Emerson college in Boston, documented the trip. As part of his work, he interviewed participants and visitors to the show, asking them to tell their own stories as well as describe how the work affected them.
Despite its size (79 feet long), the Sunbeam travels into some pretty small places. Here, it enters the cozy harbor of Isle au Haut.
Jack Hanson, a passenger on the first leg of the trip, watches as Schlebecker films the boat's arrival in Isle au Haut.
The pier at Isle au Haut as the Sunbeam pulled in.
Maine Boats Homes and Harbors Publisher John K. Hanson Jr. (right) came along for part of the trip. He's shown here on the bridge.
The Sunbeam docked at Isle au Haut awaiting visitors.
A sandwich board let visitors know about the show. Here it is on the dock at Isle au Haut.
Andy Schlebecker preparing for interviews on the dock at Isle au Haut
It's not always easy to get cars out to the islands so many people use old ones like this classic wagon on Isle au Haut.
During the 3-day cruise, the crew aboard the Sunbeam saw fishermen like this lobsterman off Stonington, yachters and lots of wildlife.
The Sunbeam had to moore in the Thoroughfare at North Haven because the water at the dock was not deep enough. Visitors to the show on the Sunbeam came out on small boats. At one point five small boats were tied astern. More than 250 people made the trip out from North Haven. Ashore, North Haven Arts and Enrichment hosted a shadow box workshop, reception and slide show of historic images from the museum's collection at its Waterman's Center.
In the Fox Islands Thoroughfare, a fleet of North Haven dinghies, one of the oldest one-design racing boats in the world, headed out for a race.
While anchored at night in the Fox Islands Thoroughfare, all the lights were on aboard the Sunbeam. The floating art show spent nights in North Haven and Stonington.
The Sunbeam travelled through thick fog between North Haven and Islesboro. But as soon as the boat arrived at the ferry dock by Islesboro's Grindle Point Light, the fog lifted.
At the dock in Islesboro. The Sunbeam never spent more than three hours at any one port and visited 7 islands in three days.
In Stonington, the boat tied up at a private dock next to the Penobscot East Resource Center. PERC hosted one of three workshops for visitors to make their own shadow boxes. The others were on North Haven and in Rockland after the art show came ashore. Also, in Stonington, the museum's photo archivist Kevin Johnson participated in a slide show at the Opera House showing historic photos from the museum collection. The show also included work by Peter Ralston and Jeff Dworsky.
Penobscot East Resource Center Director Robin Alden (with glasses) looks at the boxes in Stonington.
While in Stonington, the Sunbeam was surrounded by working boats. This fisherman took advantage of low tide, to do some work on his boat's bottom.
Fog hovered outside the harbor on Swans.
Capt. Mike ties up the boat at the Quarry Dock in Swans Island where stairs have been installed just for access to the Sunbeam. As the tide rose, the crew moved the boat along the pier so visitors could bypass the stairs.
Cipperly Good helps with the docking at Swans Island.
A close up view of the Sunbeam and its bridge. The boat travels to Maine islands year round.
Special controls on the bridge allow the crew to drive the boat while landing. Shown here is First Mate Storey King.
The Sunbeam tied up on Swans Island next to a small lobster pound. Fishermen unload their catch from their boats. The lobsters are stored in plastic crates in the water which must be aerated to prevent the lobsters from depleting all the oxygen.
The sandwich board announcing the show on Swans Island. Swans Island Librarian Candy Joyce helped publicize the show there and while the boat was in port, took museum staff for a quick tour of the new library.
Heading in to Somes Sound on the last leg of the trip, the Sunbeam cruised past an afternoon sailboat race featuring International One Designs.
Great Cranberry was the last stop of the show. The first aboard were a group of local children who wanted to use the boat as a diving platform. Before long, a dozen youngsters were swimming off the stern, jumping just like the children swimming off a dock in one of the shadowboxes.
Here are a few other swimmers who visited the boat in Great Cranberry.
The Heliker-Lahotan Foundation held a special reception for the show at Great Cranberry under a tent on an adjacent dock. The tent is shown here before the reception began.
Many of the participants in shadowbox-making workshops along the way were adults. But children also enjoyed themselves. Museum educators Susan Henkel and Betty Schopmeyer provided boxes and a wide range of objects such as shells, glass and photos for participants to use in their work.
The museum hosted shadowbox-making workshops in North Haven, Stonington and Rockland. Andy Schlebecker is shown here with a box he made during the workshop in Stonington.
Trip organizer and Penobscot Marine Museum Trustee Polly Saltonstall kept a logbook of the journey. She is shown here writing in it between ports.
After the final show, Marpeau sat back and finally relaxed. Taking her work aboard a boat to islands has been a long-time dream of this artist who lives in France but is fascinated with Maine and its maritime stories.
The crew still aboard as the boat arrived in Northeast Harbor and the trip ended posed for one last photo. From left: Sunbeam chef Pat Dutille, Museum Assistant curator Cipperly Good, Museum Director Liz Lodge, Capt. Mike Johnson, videographer Andy Schlebecker, First Mate Storey King, artist A. Emmanuelle Marpeau and trip organizer Polly Saltonstall.