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Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage

Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage

Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage

Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage
Fairgrounds Lane
Union, ME 04862
Phone: 207-542-2379
Email: Click here


14 miles from Camden

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Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage - Providing access to an agricultural museum with more than 10,000 exciting artifacts

Matthews Museum of Maine HeritageThe Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage is located on Fairgrounds Lane in the Union Fairgrounds in Union, Maine, about a twenty-minute drive from Rockland. The Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage, often referred to as "the area's best-kept secret," has been acclaimed as one of New England's finest museums. This museum offers visitors a unique peek into the lifestyles of the 18th and 19th centuries. For the most part, this is largely considered an agricultural museum, with more than 10,000 artifacts, including agricultural tools and equipment, carriages, musical instruments, books, a collection of photo prints and a research library.

The roots of this museum can be connected back to an original 900-piece collection that was purchased from Union native, Edwards A. Matthews in the early 1960s. It included antique tools, vehicles and kitchen utensils dating back more than 100 years. It also included a Cameragraph, a 35 mm silent motion picture film projector that was first operated at the old Union Town Hall. This collection also boasts many more innovative, homemade inventions that lend credence to the term "Yankee ingenuity." The museum has evolved over time, accepting loaned and donated items, as well as adding a well-rounded collection of over 10,000 colonial Maine-based artifacts.

Matthews Museum of Maine HeritageInterior space is sectioned into booths that display similar-usage artifacts. The background of the museum is characterized by weathered-board walls, an 18th century blacksmith shop, Cooper shop, cobbler shop, Country Kitchen, and a library that may look the same as they one hundred years ago. What other items are visitors likely to see? Spinning wheels, a Weaving Loom, a folding tin bath tub (complete with heater unit), cradles, sleighs, sleds (including a twelve-foot sled used at Union to take six or more riders down the hill across the common to Depot Street and on to the cemetery in the winter), carts, wagons, carriages, a horse-drawn hearse, clothes, film-making equipment, rope beds, stoves, an organ (played regularly during Union Fair and on special occasions), jewelry, and dolls are just a few items that will transport people back through time.

Visitors may especially enjoy a special section that holds Moxie memorabilia honoring the Union man, Dr. Augustin Thompson, who, in 1876, invented the one-time patent medicine, Moxie Nerve Food, which is now sold as a soft drink.

With farm wagons, sleds and a variety of horse-drawn vehicles, the carriage barn features the "one-horse shay.” With only two in existence (one here and the other at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.), it is worth taking a look. Both carriages, stenciled by a native Union man, were built in 1850 by Collins, Wingate, Little & Co. The firm later became known as Wingate & Simmons Carriage Shop, Union, Maine.

As one last sight to see, the Hodge School is located adjacent to the museum. This one-room schoolhouse (operational from 1864-1954) is still in its original structure and interior décor that is fascinating for guests.


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