Boothbay’s rich fishing history will be on display in an exhibit of historic and contemporary photographs at the Boothbay Harbor Opera House from Aug. 6 through Sept. 30. The exhibit is drawn from a research collection of fishing-related photographs from various organizations and community members and hosted in an online database. The Boothbay Regional Maritime Foundation (BRMF) was formed in 2018 to preserve working waterfront but also to educate the public on the region’s important maritime history. As part of this effort, the foundation has collaborated with the Boothbay Region Historical Society (BRHS) and the Penobscot Marine Museum (PMM) to build a research collection of photographs and make them available to the public. Photos from the Historical Society collection have been digitized as well as hundreds of photos and negatives from the Department of Marine Resources, historical photos from the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library and the Boothbay Register and many individuals.
The Research Collection is an online archive of stunning photos that will give you a glimpse into the colorful maritime history of the Boothbay region. You will find photos of shrimping, herring and mackerel seining, pogy fishing, lobstering, Fishermen’s Festival, the Boothbay Harbor tuna tournament and more. There are photos of the fishing industries that long ago dominated the inner harbor and outlying areas and include canneries, smoke houses, cold storage facilities, sail makers’ lofts, boat shops, and fertilizer and fish oil factories. These photos document the lives and livelihoods of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
A selection of 38 photos will be sold by silent auction at the Boothbay Harbor Opera House exhibit. High resolution photo reprints will be framed in 16x20 frames, five will be reproduced as 30” x 40” prints on gator board. Photos will be on display starting Aug. 6 through the month of September. The public is invited to a reception at the Boothbay Harbor Opera House upstairs gallery on Thursday, Aug. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. The Opera House Gallery is open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in addition to being open for ticket holders on the evenings of performances. The photo show is sponsored by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation.
This is a community-sourced collection that relies on individuals and organizations from the Boothbay region for photos as well as background information. Photos and artifacts loaned for the project will be returned to their owners or may be donated to the Boothbay Region Historical Society or the Penobscot Marine Museum. Recent donations include 399 photos taken by Alden Stickney, a talented artist, avid photographer and scientist who worked at the Department of Marine Resources. The Stickney photos were donated by sons William Stickney and Christopher Stickney and include some amazing shots of local fishermen and fishing wharves.
BRMF is excited about this opportunity to work with PMM, BRHS and the community to preserve and provide access to photos that are of vital importance to the region’s culture and identity. This is a unique opportunity for people to share their photos while still maintaining ownership of them and for the community to work together to create a digital photo archive reflective of our way of life. This is an ongoing project and your donations or loans are welcome. Your personal memories and reflections are also appreciated and can be added to the photo records.
The Boothbay Region Maritime Foundation is a 501 (c) 3, nonprofit organization formed in 2018. Its mission is to preserve working waterfront and the maritime heritage of the Boothbay Region. Contact them at BRMaritimeFoundation@gmail.com. More information about their projects and programs is available at https://www.boothbayregionmaritimefoundation.org/ The Penobscot Marine Museum is located in Searsport. Visit their online photo collections at https://penobscotmarinemuseum.org/photography-collections/