ORONO — The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center on March 15 presented a 3D-printed Dirigo star to the Maine Bicentennial Commission, to be the core component of the Maine Bicentennial Time Capsule.

During the ceremony at the UMaine Composites Center in Orono, UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy presented the star to Sen. Bill Diamond, chairman of the commission. The event was livestreamed, and the recordings are available on the Maine200 YouTube page and Maine200 Facebook page.

“It was my grandfather, a potato farmer from Ashland, who taught me as a young girl to turn my eyes to the stars in the night sky. Still today, it is not a book or a map that I rely on to find those constellations or to find my way through life. It is the experience, resilience and, most importantly, the perseverance of an Aroostook County farmer,” said Gov. Janet Mills, according to a UMaine News release. “The Dirigo Star is a beautiful tribute to the ways we have been tested as a state and as a nation, and a timeless reminder that the perseverance of Maine people will guide us through the challenges of our times, as true as the North Star.”

The Dirigo Star and banner, elements of the Maine state seal, are the unifying symbols for the Maine Bicentennial, chosen as the core component of the time capsule design.

“The North Star that this capsule is modeled after has been a constant guide to the people who lived on this land before and since statehood. It’s meant to symbolize our state’s leadership, but today, it also shines a light on the talent and innovation that has been produced by our flagship university since 1865 and increasingly is elevating Maine in our nation and around the globe,” said President Ferrini-Mundy, who is also the University of Maine System Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, according to the release.

The staff and students of the UMaine Composites Center created the star in coordination with commission representatives over several months.


“3D printed using aerospace-grade composites, the Dirigo Star created by our outstanding staff and students honors our past while ushering in our technological future,” said Habib Dagher, executive director of the Composites Center, according to the release. “We thank the Maine Bicentennial Commission and state leadership for joining us on Maine’s Statehood Day, and for the opportunity to present the time capsule in front of 3Dirigo, the world’s largest 3D-printed vessel.”

The 3-foot wide, three-dimensional beveled gold star will be mounted atop a custom-made tapered cabinet created by Maine Heritage Timber, with a metal Dirigo banner mounted in front. The cabinet’s taper is intended to evoke imagery of Maine’s iconic lighthouses. Its housing will be crafted from Maine wood reclaimed from the Penobscot River. A two-inch thick polished Maine granite slab will be placed on the top of the cabinet.

The time capsule’s cabinet will have four storage drawers, allowing for items to be added during the state’s milestone anniversaries in 2045, 2070 and 2095. A grand unsealing is envisioned in 2120.

The commission is seeking public input on items for inclusion in the capsule, and invites suggestions via email at [email protected].