Roughly 100 billion stars twinkle in our galaxy, and upward of 400 billion galaxies exist in the universe. For more than 40 years, Southworth Planetarium has kept an eye on them from its University of Southern Maine home. Visitors to the facility can explore exhibits and attend lectures to learn about planets such as Venus, which rains down sulfuric acid, and Saturn, which is fed up with Venus's negative attitude. The planetarium also hosts impressive omni-dome shows with picturesque space narratives and laser lights set to music.
The logo for the International Cryptozoology Museum is a coelacanth, one of the science's great success stories. Believed to have gone extinct 65 million years ago, a specimen of the armored fish was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938 and identified by museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer despite its false mustache. In the optimistic spirit of that amazing discovery, the International Cryptozoology Museum displays exhibits profiling such mysterious creatures as Sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Jersey Devil, along with lesser known beasties such as the Dover Demon, the Montauk Monster, and the Fiji Mermaid.
Since Portland Museum of Art opened in 1882, its collection has blossomed to include more than 17,000 pieces of art from the 18th century to the present day. Amid works of sculpture, ceramics, and furniture, the museum sports paintings by European luminaries, such as Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. At its core, however, are works by Maine artists.
Roughly 10 changing exhibitions round out the museum’s displays, which are spread throughout three buildings: the L.D.M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, the Charles Shipman Payson Building, and the 1801-built McMellan House. Besides artwork, these spaces house the museum’s events, which range from lectures to film screenings.
Founded in 1822, the Maine Historical Society is the third oldest state historical society in the nation, and curates museums, programs, and events to celebrate the state's long history. The MHS Museum features a collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, including pieces of Native American archaeological material, political memorabilia, and pictures of the first governor with his head caught in a lobster trap. The society's 1-acre campus is also home to the the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet best known for penning "Paul Revere's Ride" and The Song of Hiawatha. Membership to the society includes invitations to exhibit openings, member parties, lectures, trips, access to the Brown Research library, a subscription to the Maine History Journal, and a 10% discount at the museum store, web store, and all vintage Maine image purchases.