The cities and towns in Maine’s Lakes and Mountains were once a place of discovery, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge engineering. It is hard to imagine now, but Maine’s western mountains were once an American frontier. It is a beautiful and challenging place to eke out an existence. Those who came and stayed discovered and assembled great catalogs of creations, now found in the region’s eclectic collection of art, cultural, science, and living history museums.

In Lewiston, the Bates College Museum of Art has always been a showcase for art from Maine and around the globe; across town, in a converted mill space, the recently rededicated Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning, and Labor (MILL) celebrates the stories and artifacts from the manufacturing era of Lewiston and Auburn.

At the other end of the spectrum (and the region), outdoorsmen and women will find Oquossoc’s Outdoor Heritage Museum both captivating and immersive. Visitors can take a deep dive into Maine’s natural resources, wildlife, and the longstanding traditions of outdoor recreation. Geologically speaking, rock hounds digging their way through the region, anywhere from Mt. Apatite to Kezar Lake, should visit the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum. Its outstanding collection of specimens includes many unique and fascinating extraterrestrial items.

We encourage you to put aside some time while in the region to visit both the popular and the less well-known museums, delight in the gardens, explore our libraries, and wander through our historic sites. 

can't miss museums

Exhibit at Bates College Museum of Art, Olin Arts Center, Lewiston

Bates College Museum of Art

The Bates College Museum of Art exhibitions include four temporary shows and several rotating permanent collection shows per year, as well as student-curated projects.

The permanent collection is comprised of over 5,000 objects, including the Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection of 99 drawings and archival material, as well as work in all media by a wide range of artists associated with the state of Maine and beyond. Educational programming connects to a wide range of curricula at Bates and schools in surrounding communities.

Olin Arts Center, Lewiston

Maine Mineral and Gem Museum exhibit

Maine Mineral & Gem Museum

A unique Geology museum located in the gorgeous foothills of western Maine where visitors can discover millions of years of mineralogic history, from Maine to Mars and more. Learn why meteorites can teach us how our solar system was created, understand the dynamic process of how crystals are formed, and find out why Maine is home to some of the most incredible gemstones on planet Earth.

The museum’s special exhibits showcase new and relevant topics of interest from the worlds of mineralogy, meteorites, and more.

99 Main Street, Bethel

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, New Gloucester

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village

Many life-long Shaker experiences begin with a tour of the Shaker Museum. Our staff will treat you like family, our story will have you yearning to dig deeper, and the landscape will keep you dreaming of your return.

Home to the last active community of Shakers the village includes the Shaker Museum and the Shaker Store. The museum offers village tours and special events, including crafts workshops, demonstrations, Open Farm Day, Maine Native American Summer Market, and Harvest Festival.

707 Shaker Road (Rt. 26), New Gloucester

The Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc

Outdoor Heritage Museum

Maine’s rich outdoor sporting traditions come alive in this museum named “Best Sporting Museum in New England” by Yankee Magazine.

The rustic museum space, is modeled after a 1900’s taxidermy shop, paying homage to our past, present, and future. The voices of sporting icons Carrie Stevens, Herb Welch, Fly Rod Crosby, Ed Grant and Shang Wheeler reawaken the sense of adventure and excitement of a ten-pound wild brook trout, the beauty of a Ghost Streamer, or the lifelike mounted brook trout.

Corner of Rt. 4 and Rt. 16, Oquossoc

Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning, and Labor

Maine MILL

Maine MILL (Museum of Innovation, Learning + Labor) is a history and culture museum that preserves and celebrates stories of work and the region’s diverse heritage. Through exhibits, educational programming, and events, we invite visitors to explore how life, labor, and culture shape the present and influence the future.

Our unique collection comprises over 10,000 artifacts, including industrial ingenuity like a Jacquard loom, original bedspreads, and industrial-sized silkscreens from the famed Bates Manufacturing Company, and roughly 300 recorded interviews and oral histories. 

35 Canal St, Bates Mill Complex, Lewiston


Maine State Building at Poland Spring Preservation Park

Poland Spring Preservation Park

Many years ago, the legendary Poland Spring Hotel and the world-renowned Poland Spring Water transformed a scenic western Maine town into a state and national landmark. The Maine State Building and the All Souls Chapel have become a part of our national heritage.

Today, the buildings house the museum, art gallery, weddings, and musical concerts in the summer months. Visit the Museum and Gift Shop in the Maine State Building and enjoy the many Monday night musical concerts held either in the All Souls Chapel or on the grounds of the Poland Spring Resort.

37 Preservation Way, Poland Spring

more museums

ways to adventure

Plan Your Trip

Maine’s Lakes and Mountains offers a variety of resources to help you plan your next visit, including an annual visitor’s guide, stand alone map, and the new Adventure Guide App.

Visitor's Guide

Our Free Visitor's Guide will help inspire your next adventure along our mountain trails, lakes, scenic byways, bustling towns and more.

Map of the Region

Companion to the Visitor Guide, our dual-sided planning map will help you find your way to adventure in every season throughout the region.

Adventure Guide App

The App will point the way to all kinds of adventures, experiences and destinations in Maine’s Lakes and Mountains with GPS location maps and alerts.

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