Raptor diorama display in the Dorr Museum.Raptor diorama display in the Dorr Museum.

The Acadia Centennial exhibit highlights the intellectual, artistic, and philosophical connection between COA and Acadia, and represents the culmination of two years of intensive preparations spearheaded by the museum committee (Carrie Graham, Dru Colbert, and Ken Cline). In addition, a new trail connector has been built between the Dorr Museum and Acadia to physically demarcate this connection.

Sperm Whale Jaws prepared by Matt Messina ’16 for the new exhibit.Sperm Whale Jaws prepared by Matt Messina ’16 for the new exhibit.

“This is one of the few times that we are transforming the museum entirely,” says arts and design professor Dru Colbert about Exploring Acadia: Our Best Classroom. “This exhibit comprehensively showcases the work that students, faculty, and staff have done in correlation with the park. The project has brought lots of people with disparate interests together including designers, educators, and content experts.”

Students preparing interpretive materials for the Dorr Museum.Students preparing interpretive materials for the Dorr Museum.

Carrie Graham, the director of the Dorr Museum, says,“This exhibit represents many current student voices coming into play.” The new interpretive material in the museum highlights relevant senior projects and faculty research.

Tyler Prest ’16 is the art director for the exhibit, and is looking forward to displaying his senior project on the ethics of tidepools. As a part of his design contribution to the new exhibit, Prest created a logo representing the connection of Acadia and COA.

Matt Messina ’16 prepared a new display showcasing the immense jaws of a sperm whale. Messina is also working with Scott Swann and alumna Jordan Chalfant to construct a peregrine falcon display complete with a constructed rock outcrop alluding to the east face of Champlain Mountain in Acadia.Snowy owl diorama at the Dorr Museum.Snowy owl diorama at the Dorr Museum.

Many COA classes have contributed to the transformation process. Biology Through the Lens, a class focused on photographing and communicating local biological components of Acadia, prepared a photography display for the museum. Curiosity and Wonder explored past and current student and faculty work related to Acadia and interpreted this work to form new displays in order to make this information available to the public. The efforts of the class included, “interpreting historic and contemporary work, adding hands on elements, and breaking down material for a general audience,” Colbert said. In addition, the Secondary Methods education class designed activities and educational opportunities for the new exhibit.

Dru Colbert teaching students for the museum practicum classDru Colbert teaching students for the museum practicum class

A two-part Museum Practicum class, taught by Colbert, first designed interpretive material for the museum in the fall and is now in the process of preparing infographics and displays. Jessica Arsenau ’18, a student in the museum practicum class, is in charge of the reptile and amphibian display, a direct result of a herpetology class she took with Steve Ressel earlier in her COA education.

“The exhibit, which shows how our community is involved with Acadia, will inspire visitors to get involved with citizen science.” Graham says. “We are highlighting how COA is continuing the legacy of figures like George B. Dorr in natural history studies and environmental stewardship in Acadia.”

Exploring Acadia will remain up through 2017.


Study skins on display in the Dorr Museum.Study skins on display in the Dorr Museum.