Monhegan Museum of Art & History preserves and displays the art and history of Monhegan Island, ME. The exhibits are open to the public from June 24-September 30. Curators work year-round and are available for questions and research.
Artists have long provided a visual narrative that helps to describe the history and landscape of the island. The earliest known artist to work on Monhegan Island, was Aaron Draper Shattuck in 1858, marking the beginning of Monhegan’s art tradition.
Over the years, island residents and their families mingled with leading artists of the time, such as Robert Henri, Edward Willis Redfield, Rockwell Kent, and Louise Nevelson. A handful of the foremost printmakers and illustrators of this time lived and worked on the island as well. Milton J. Burns, George Wharton Edwards, and Frederic Dorr Steele all depicted Monhegan scenes in the lithographs, drawings, and etchings. Their work, used to illustrate periodical such as Harper’s Magazine, introduced Monhegan to the rest of the country.
Each season, a new art exhibition is mounted in the Assistant Keeper's House gallery, showcasing the work of an individual artist, or a theme from Monhegan's artistic heritage. The 2019 exhibition featured Maud Briggs Knowlton, a pioneering artist and first director of the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH. Stay tuned for information on the 2020 exhibition.
Exhibits detailing the history of Monhegan are on display in the Light Keeper's House and are enhanced by original artworks created on, or inspired by the island. Each year the artwork changes, this provides an opportunity to view a wide range of art, and to preserve the works by reducing exposure to light and fluctuations in temperatures and humidity. It is well worth visiting the history exhibits every year to see what is on the walls.