As one of the older states in the union, Maine has a long history colored with stories of settlers, revolutionaries, merchants and sea captains. Explore the legends and people who shape our region at one of Maine’s many great history museums and historical homes.
History Museums near Ogunquit
Ogunquit Heritage Museum
Obed’s Lane, Ogunquit
Walk through Ogunquit’s heritage, from the days of fishing, farming, ship building, and sea captains to the town’s world-renowned art colony and summer theater. The museum’s grounds include an open, grassy park and an 18th century Cape-style home that holds its exhibits and artifacts. Look for a replication of an Ogunquit dory in Perkins Cove or in front of the museum.
Brick Store Museum
Route 1, Kennebunk, Maine
The Brick Store Museum tells the history of the people and places of southern Maine, using art, interesting local stories, and artifacts from furniture to food.
Museums of Old York
One of New England’s earliest colonial settlements and the nation’s first chartered city in 1641, York has a rich history from colonial times to the local heights of shipping and trade industries. The Museums of Old York operate several historic sites in York Village, including an 18th century schoolhouse, gaol (jail), tavern and a 17-acre woodland networked with walking trails. Exhibits showcase early New England art, architecture and the stories of southern Maine’s inhabitants as they carved out a settlement.
Historical Society of Wells & Ogunquit
Route 1, Wells, Maine
The Historical Society of Wells & Ogunquit maintains the town’s historic Meetinghouse and church, which dates back to 1862. Now, the Meetinghouse Museum’s exhibits show the tales of Maine’s first settlers, the history of the area’s schools, shipbuilding, locals and visitors and the building itself.
Portland Head Light and Fort Williams State Park
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
The Museum at Portland Head Light is located within the former Keepers’ Quarters. The award-winning museum contains a number of lighthouse lenses and interpretative displays.
Kennebunkport Historical Society
The society represents several locations in Kennebunkport including White Columns (formerly Nott House), Town House School, Clark Shipyard Office, Bensen Blacksmith Shop, Louis Norton Studio and Pasco Center. Please visit the above website for more details and events that the society sponsors.
Strawbery Banke Museum
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Explore four centuries of American history through the eyes of the people who lived in one of New Hampshire’s oldest waterfront neighborhoods.
19th Century Willowbrook Village
You will truly feel as though you have stepped back in time when you visit this unique destination!
Maine Historic Houses
Several houses homes within a 20 minute drive of Ogunquit are on the Historic New England Properties list. Each home offers a chance to tour the mansions of the Seacoast’s wealthy shipping merchants for an in-depth look at early American architecture and the people who lived here.
- Hamilton House – South Berwick, ME
- Sarah Orne Jewette House – South Berwick, ME
- Sayward–Wheeler House – York, ME
- Gov. John Langdon House – Portsmouth, NH
- Jackson House – Portsmouth, NH
- Rundlet-May House – Portsmouth, NH
In Kennebunk, you can drive by a few famous houses (though no tours are offered): the Wedding Cake House on Summer Street, known for its intricate, cathedral-inspired woodwork, and the Bush compound on Walker Point.
Other historic homes that offer tours include:
- First Families Museum — Located in the heart of Kennebunkport village, the First Families Museum is in a Greek revival home that dates to 1853, showcasing exhibits that tell the stories of some of the villages first families — sea captains, merchants, the Bush family — over two centuries of local history. Its architecture and luxurious interiors reflect the time when shipbuilding and the shipping trade made Kennebunkport one of New England’s wealthiest towns. Kennebunkport Village
- Neal Dow Memorial House — Federal-style mansion built by Civil War General and active prohibitionist Neal Dow. The house contains family furnishing and memorabilia. It is now the Maine headquarters of Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. No admission fee; 714 Congress Street, Portland, ME
- The Wadsworth-Longfellow House — The oldest brick house in Maine was also once the home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and is filled with original family artifacts. 487 Congress St, Portland, Maine
- The Tate House — Built before the American Revolution for George Tate, senior mast agent for the British Navy, this home was one of the most elegant of its day. The clapboards are still unpainted. 1270 Westbrook Street, Portland, ME
- Victoria Mansion — Also known as the Morse-Libby house, this home is a fine example of residential design from the pre-Civil War era. 109 Danforth Street, Portland, ME