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Celebrating 400 Years of Shipbuilding

maines first ship

Maritime artist Ken Hendrickson's image of Virginia leaving the Kennebec River


In 1607, thirteen years before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, an expedition of settlers came ashore at the mouth of the Kennebec River and made one of the earliest attempts at colonization by the English in the New World. It was here at Popham Colony that they created the Virginia, the continent's first ocean going ship built by the English and began Maine's 400 -year-old shipbuilding tradition.

Beginning in May and running through October, the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath will host an exhibition of artifacts from the archeological digs at Popham Colony conducted by Jeffrey Brain of the Essex Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts over a period of years beginning in 1997. These digs were sponsored by the Maine State Museum. Also on site at the Museum, Maine's First Ship will mount a VIRGINIA exhibit at Maine Maritime Museum from the end of June to Oct 15 as an active and engaging maritime link to the Popham Colony exhibit. There will be shipwright and volunteers demonstrating process, techniques and tools, and educational displays and activities, all under tents on grounds of Museum.

The Museum will be constructing a traditional "Wattle and Daub" shelter as a participatory activity throughout the summer.

The highlight of the anniversary will be held August 23-26 when the village of Popham and the Town of Phippsburg host a full schedule of events and celebrations at Popham.



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