The Portland Museum of Art is offering a “digital opening” featuring a wide array of objects and voices from its Maine Bicentennial exhibition, Stories of Maine: An Unfinished History, created in collaboration with the Maine Humanities Council. Given the inclusive and interactive nature to the exhibition, the the museum is uniquely positioned to share this wealth of research, contributions and objects from throughout the state online here, according to a news release from the museum

The museum hopes to offer a welcome sense of normalcy in abnormal times through the thoughtful and inspiring stories of the exhibition, new programs throughout the coming month, and an end-of-week chance to relax and reflect with a virtual opening that began May 1.

Stories of Maine will be on view in the PMA galleries when the museum reopens — on a date yet to be determined — but for now, it appears in digital form at as part of the gallery’s online Art at Home suite of art, activities, and stories during the closure period, which aims to uplift museum audiences, expand their worlds, and spark their imaginations through dynamic digital content, videos made in collaboration with creative partner p3, and much more.

Stories of Maine: An Unfinished History centers on the question: What is the story of Maine’s history and who gets to tell it? Beginning in summer 2019, the PMA and the Maine Humanities Council collaborated with partners and advisors throughout the state to select 20 stories about Maine’s past and present. The resulting exhibition includes objects such as an oil lamp from the Monhegan lighthouse and a 1906 Old Town canoe, as well as artworks such as David Driskell’s painting Pine and Moon.

To interpret these objects, 19 Mainers from a wide range of regions and backgrounds share their perspectives about how these objects reflect life in Maine. The 20th story in this exhibition is yours — through a recording studio, you can record and share your own Maine story, helping us to better understand our state.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to open in the museum’s Palladian Gallery on March 28 with a free day, so that everyone could come to celebrate the opening of the show. With the PMA’s closure on March 13 becasue of safety concerns around the COVID-19 virus, the museum had to cancel this opening. The Stories of Maine online premiere will make the show accessible to audiences throughout the state, country, and world, and can be a rallying moment for our community.

During this temporary closure, Mainers can’t access the museum, but also can’t access much of the state’s natural, cultura, and community resources. When everything feels far away, the PMA hopes Art at Home and Stories of Maine: An Unfinished History brings art and culture closer to those confined to everyone, wherever they may be.

For more information, contact Graeme Kennedy, director of Strategic Communications and Public Relations, at [email protected] or 699-4887.

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