Preble-Marr Historical Museum
The handicap-accessible museum is on the first floor of Cranberry House, about ¼ mile down the main road from the Great Cranberry Island town dock.
- Admission: FREE – donations greatly appreciated
- Telephone: (207) 244-7800
- Annual Exhibits
- Permanent Display Panels
- Rachel Field and Hitty Corner
- Finding Aid (list of archived items)
In the museum you will learn the unique aspects of life on an island. In years past the mostly self-sufficient islanders had to supply their own needs and wants. Many were captains with their own vessels. They made their living by transport, moving anything from one place to another by sea. Of course there were also merchants, carpenters, woodsmen, and housewives. This is their story too.
Our museum is casual, not stuffy. The host or hostess, an islander themselves, will tell you anything you care to ask about current-day island living.
The museum is in one large room on the first floor of Cranberry House. Hand-painted permanent display panels grace the walls, with artifacts tastefully arranged in alcoves.
You will find an eclectic assortment of items, most displayed in groups with a common theme: quilts, Indian sweetgrass baskets, braided rugs, antique household items, old photos and marriage certificates, a shark harpoon, duck decoys, lobster buoys, ship models, farming tools, old bottles and electrical insulators, shipwright’s tools, shipwreck remains, and even the original rusticator’s sitz bath, complete with personalized towel.
Rachel Field and Hitty
Rachel Field (1894-1942), a summer resident of the Cranberry Isles, wrote her popular Newbery award-winning children’s book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, while staying at her house on nearby Sutton Island. But the first chapters of Hitty are clearly set on Great Cranberry Island. We did have a Preble family living here, and their house is just as described in the book. So we claim that Great Cranberry Island is Hitty’s Home.
Many people still read and love Hitty and collect replica Hitty dolls and accessories. Be sure to visit our Hitty City, a wonderful display of Hittys and accessories donated by generous doll makers and owners, featuring BIG Hitty. We also have a complete collection of Rachel Field’s books, poems, and articles.
One corner is devoted to an exhibit which changes each year:
|2017||Charting Their Course – Clues from the Colllection
From 1874 to 1884 islanders Meltiah and Carrie Richardson crisscrossed the Atlantic in their three-mast schooner. Their nautical Charts and journal tell their story.
|Anne Grulich; layout by Willoughby Hastings|
|2016||Continuation of the 2015 exhibits||Anne Grulich and Jessi Duma|
|2015||The Agricultural Heritage of the Cranberry Isles||Jessi Duma, Island Institute Fellow;
Design by Jill Piekut
|180-year-old Concealed Shoes and Cape Houses on GCI
See Down East Magazine, April 2015
|Stanley Cemetery Preservation||Anne Grulich|
|Images on Glass, Iron, and Paper: 19th Century
Photographs from the GCIHS collection
|2014||180-year-old Shoes and Cape-style Houses||Anne Grulich, Design by Wini Smart|
|Images on Glass, Iron, and Paper||Anne Grulich, Design by Wini Smart|
|2013||GCI Preble House Virtual Exhibit on the Maine Memory Network||Anne Grulich|
|Three Heroines of Great Cranberry Island
The Maine Sea Coast Mission
|2012||Baker Island||Wini Smart|
|2011||The Prebles & Sammy Sanford
An Original Church Pew
|2010||History of the Cranberry Islands||Wini Smart|
|2009||Vessels and Shipbuilding||Wini Smart|
|2008||Enterprising Islanders||Wini Smart|
|The following exhibits were in the original temporary museum
in the Longfellow Schoolhouse.
|2007||The Prebles of GCI||Wini Smart|
|2006||The Circle of Life: Birth, Marriage, Death||Susan Shoemaker|
|2005||The Sea Around Us||Wini Smart|
|2004||Winter: Work and Play||Wini Smart|
|2003||Home Sweet Home||Wini Smart|
|2001||Wedding Trousseau||Wini Smart|
The museum has a large screen TV. Ask to see:
- Storm at Sea – a hair-raising trip around Cape Horn
- Ice Cutting – lake ice is cut and stored for the summer
- GCI: Hitty’s Home – why we believe Hitty was carved here
- any of the other videos made by GCIHS
The original museum was opened August 6, 2000 in leased quarters in the Longfellow School. It was re-opened June 15, 2008 in Cranberry House, its permanent home.