The Islesford Historical Museum, shown in an undated photo. Credit: Courtesy of National Park Service

More than 90 years after it first opened, the Islesford Historical Museum on Little Cranberry Island is getting a significant physical rehabilitation in a $1.1 million project funded by the National Park Service.

The project, which got underway in November, is expected to last throughout the summer and will prevent the museum from opening in 2020. The project should be completed in time for the seasonal museum to reopen in the summer of 2021, Acadia National Park officials said.

The project will involve work to both the building exterior and interior, according to Acadia officials. The existing slate roof, which dates from the museum’s opening in 1928, will be redone with new slate, while the building’s brick exterior and shutters, window sashes and lighting also will be replaced or restored. A heating unit will be installed inside the building to stabilize interior temperature and humidity in order to help with the long-term preservation of the building. All ironwork, including handrails, will be fixed and restored.

The museum, founded by William Otis Sawtelle, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Funding for the rehabilitation of the museum comes directly from revenue generated from entrance passes purchased at Acadia National Park as well as from National Park Service Repair and Rehabilitation Funds, park officials said. The park service retains 80 percent of the fees collected from entrance pass sales to invest in critical improvements Acadia National Park, including maintaining and enhancing visitor facilities.

Though the museum will be closed, the daily park ranger-guided boat cruise to Islesford is expected to continue this summer. The boat-building workshop Islesford Boatworks, located in the adjacent park-owned Blue Duck Ship’s Store, will be open, as will the public restrooms in the store building.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....