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Abbe Museum closed while installing new permanent exhibit

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The Museum will reopen on May 1, 2016

BAR HARBOR The Abbe Museum, the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in the state of Maine, will be closed until April 30, 2016, while a new core exhibit is designed and installed in the Museum's main gallery. The exhibit, People of the First Light, is the first large-scale permanent exhibit of its kind for the Abbe.

'The exhibit will occupy approximately 2,100 square feet in our downtown Bar Harbor location,' said Abbe President and CEO, Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. 'During the course of the past year and a half in planning for our new strategic plan, numerous community conversations occurred and some of those resulted in identifying specific financial sustainability strategies that influence our exhibit planning efforts. The conversations all pointed to the need for a permanent exhibit.'

Wabanaki people, their history, and their culture, represent at least a 12,000-year-long experience in their homeland. This continuous narrative for the Wabanaki Nations a historic confederacy between the Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot offers an extraordinary story of resilience with contemporary meaning and relevance.

People of the First Light will use design and content to bring you into the Wabanaki universe. The cyclical nature of time will be strongly reflected in the design of the exhibit, and time depth will be presented in a non-linear pattern. While the exhibit is considered permanent (15-20 year cycle), it will be constructed so that topics can be easily updated to reflect changing events, and the evolving conversations with Wabanaki advisors will guide additional changes as needed. Visitors will find their experience relevant and engaging each time they visit People of the First Light.

'The exhibit's content, artifacts, images and interactive and participatory elements have been informed by the Abbe's recently adopted interpretive framework, as well as input from our Native Advisory Council and Native advisors,' said Julia Gray, director of collections and interpretation at the Abbe Museum. 'When complete, this exhibit will form the new core of our exhibits program and will offer a new dynamic for our educational programs.'

While it will be the Museum's largest exhibit, there will continue to be dynamic and stimulating changing exhibitions like the popular annual Waponahki Student Art Show in the Abbe's smaller galleries and at the Museum's second location, Sieur de Monts Spring, inside Acadia National Park.

The Abbe is planning to share the exhibit's progress on the Museum's new Strategic Plan blog:


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