Curatorial Program

The mission of the curatorial program at Acadia National Park is to preserve the natural and cultural history of Acadia NP and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site and to preserve the history of the administration of the park. Towards this purpose, historical artifacts, archival documents, and natural history specimens will be acquired, preserved both physically and intellectually, and interpreted through educational programs and research.

More than 1.4 million objects and documents are in the collection from both Acadia National Park and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. Items in the collection date from 1596 to 2004 and include the following:

  • Archeological materials (prehistoric and historic) pertaining to Ancestral Wabanaki sites in the park, the Carroll Farm Homestead, Islesford (Little Cranberry Island), and the settlement of Saint Croix Island
  • Historic artifacts and archival documents pertaining to the Cranberry Isles (including town records, genealogical materials, shipping industry); the Carroll Family of Southwest Harbor; the administrative and cultural history of Acadia NP and Saint Croix Island IHS; U.S. Lifesaving station; Islesford Wharf Company; Islesford Collection Inc.; George B. Dorr (the founding father of Acadia NP); the Mount Desert Island Region; and Maine Acadian Culture.
  • Plant and animal specimens collected at Acadia National Park including the William H. Procter invertebrate and Harold White dragonfly/damselfly collections.

William Otis Sawtelle Collections and Research Center
Located in Bar Harbor at park headquarters, the center is dedicated to William Otis Sawtelle, founder of the Islesford Historical Museum on Little Cranberry Island. The center houses historic artifacts, archival documents, and natural history specimens currently not on exhibit at the Islesford Historical Museum or the Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center. The collection represents the natural and cultural history of Acadia NP and Saint Croix Island IHS; the Carroll Homestead of Southwest Harbor; George B. Dorr, one of the founding fathers of Acadia National Park; the Town of Cranberry Isles; "New France;" and the administrative history of Acadia and Saint Croix.

The center is open to researchers by appointment only.

Access to the collection for scientific research, genealogical study, or development of a publication is permitted. Prospective researchers should contact the curator for an appointment.

To arrange an appointment to conduct research contact the curator at:

Acadia National Park
PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609

Archival documents in good condition (determined by the museum technician) may be photocopied for a small fee. Photographs (in good condition) may be reproduced for a fee (contact the curator for current prices). Artifacts may be loaned to other historic institutions for exhibitions.

Islesford Historical Museum: Founded by William Otis Sawtelle in 1919 and located on Little Cranberry Island, the current exhibits explore maritime life on the Cranberry Isles. Admission is free.

Sieur de Monts Spring Nature Center: Exhibits explore the natural history of Acadia and depicts how the park monitors those resources. The Nature Center is open mid-May to early October. Admission is free.


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