In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Music in Maine

Music is something we share as humans—non-verbal forms of storytelling and expressions of beauty and emotions through sound.

Music reflects the diversity of cultures, influences of historical events, and vast differences in landscape that contribute to the unique soundscape of Maine. Wabanaki songs reaching back 13,000 years are distinct from Franco chansons. Lumberjack work chants and sailor shanties differ from operas sung by 19th century Maine divas. Yet they are all uniquely Maine sounds.

Music from around the world flooded into Maine through maritime trading ports in the 18th and 19th centuries. When radio and television waves raced across Maine in the 20th century, instead of diluting musical traditions, these influences layered blues, country, bluegrass, and rock and roll. Today, Maine music is a bountiful intersection from around the world.

Reflecting rural villages and bustling cities, Music in Maine includes content from eighteen collaborators, and is organized by the themes of MAKE, HEAR, and PLAY, exploring musical experiences over thousands of years.

Use the navigation tools to the left and explore more of the Music in Maine exhibition.

Curated by Tilly Laskey, curator at Maine Historical Society, and installed at Maine Historical Society from March 8, 2024 to December 31, 2024. Collaborators included Paul Benjamin, Denny Breau, Jane Brooks, Ken Brooks, Chris Brown, Jason Brown, Joe Kennedy, Nellie Kennedy, Cindy Larock, Mike Laskey, Jessi Mallory, Jason Pardilla, Ford Reiche, Chris Sockalexis, Donald Soctomah, Robert Sylvain, and Dwayne Tomah.

Supported by The Elmina B. Sewell Foundation, The Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust, Sam L. Cohen Foundation, Wescustogo Foundation, BHA Foundation Fund, Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, William Sloane Jelin Foundation, and the Phineas W. Sprague Memorial Foundaiton.