Travel to the Past: Owls Head Transportation Museum

A vacation to Midcoast Maine can be as relaxing or as busy as you like. If you’re a traveler who enjoys finding gems of knowledge and culture at museums, you’ll find some at the Owls Head Museum of Transportation. The museum is dedicated to preserving examples of vehicles built and used before 1920. Exhibits include airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, motorcycles, carriages and a variety of engines.

The museum’s collection includes replicas of the first gliders as well as the Wright Brothers’ flyer that was the first heavier-than-air craft powered by an engine. There are several World War I fighter planes, including a German Fokker triplane. Automobiles in the collection include early 20th century cars manufactured by Cadillac, Stanley and Ford. Luxury vehicles, roadsters and racing cars are on display. Special exhibitions  include “A Century Ago,” a look at transportation in Maine in when the Wrights made their first successful flight in 1903, and “Faster: The Quest for Speed,” which examine the human drive to compete and how competition speeds progress in transportation, technology and society. The museum hosts regular events for fliers of antique airplanes and drivers of antique autos.

The museum was founded in 1974 by the late Thomas J. Watson Jr., former chairman and CEO of IBM; James S. Rockefeller Jr., a boat and airplane builder whose father was a nephew of industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller; and Steve Lang, whose family has since donated transportation-related books, art and photographs to the founding of the Lang Education Center and Library. Both Watson and Rockefeller were aviation enthusiasts and had small airstrips near Camden. Rockefeller invited his friend Lang to help start the enterprise, originally conceived as a way to fly old airplanes. The museum now provides a variety of education programs for students in Maine.

The museum is next to the Knox County Airport and about 30 miles east of our Maine Bed and Breakfast. It’s open daily, year round, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors 65 and older, and free for youth under 18.
A visit to the Owls Head Transportation Museum is an easy trip during your Midcoast Maine vacation at the Newcastle Inn. Make your reservation.

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