The Maine Coast Sardine History Museum is located in the historic seaport town of Jonesport, Maine. Jonesport was home to as many as 15 canneries. The canneries ranged from small family operated to large company owned, such as the William Underwood Company. The museum currently covers the industry along the Maine Coast from Robbinston to South Portland. The exhibits include hundreds of photographs, original cans, labels, packaging, crates, letterheads, and billheads. Exhibits also include original fishing, processing, and canning equipment. The museum covers the entire process from fishing, processing, and canning to shipping. Every cannery documented is presented in displays grouped by the towns in which they were located. The displays are not limited to just sardines as the canneries often processed other Maine seafood products. The main floor area holds displays of actual equipment utilized in the processing and canning, such as the one pictured above.
Your museum hosts are Ronnie and Mary Peabody. Ronnie grew up on Beals Island across Moosabec Reach from the shoreline of Jonesport. Life revolved around the calls of the sardine factory whistles; and carriers going day and night up and down the Moosabec Reach. As Ronnie grew up, all of his family was involved in the sardine industry, either on the water or in the factories. In the 1970's, Ronnie, himself, worked six years for the L. Ray Packing Company in Millbridge, Maine. Ronnie's life-long interest in the sardine industry grew as the factories throughout Maine were disappearing. In 2001, this interest grew into a vision and a passion for a museum that would document that history. Ronnie wanted to preserve atrifacts before they were lost forever. Mary also joined in that vision and commitment. Together they traveled throughout Maine, tracking down and saving artifacts. They were able to visit factories before they were torn down and left with armloads or truckloads of memorabilia. Their vision was contageous. As people learned about the museum dream, it was not unusual to return home to find boxes of donated items on the doorstep or hanging from the mailbox. Others mailed Ronnie and Mary boxes of artifacts or photographs that came from as far away as Minnesota, Utah, and beyond. The collection filled the basement, garage, closets, and every nook and cranny in their home.
The museum was a great personal financial undertaking, not just in the aquisition of exhibit material, but also in establishing of a building that could house the exhibits. For over eight years the Peabodys have raised funds through the sale of antique, vintage, and craft items on Ebay. Their dedication to quality is reflected in their Ebay status as a top-rated Power Seller, and has resulted in the highest of Ebay customer feedback ratings. Donations to the museum quest also assisted greatly along the way. Despite health and financial setbacks, the Peabodys forged ahead. In 2005, they were able to construct the museum building adjacent to their home. In 2007, the museum was registered as a 501©(3) non-profit organization, which made it able to receive tax deductable donations. On July 4, 2008, the museum doors were opened to the public for the first time.
We are proud to announce that the Maine Coast Sardine History Museum has won a 2010 Editor's Choice Award for The Best Place To Be Canned In New England.