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About The Museum

The beginnings of the museum extend to the early 1970s, when the University of Maine at Presque Isle received two substantial natural history collections.  The first of these was the collections of Leroy Norton, a noted Aroostook County naturalist.  This Norton Contribution included large collections of marine and fresh-water sea shells, local forestry specimens and the beginnings of our herbarium.  The second acquisition in the early 1970s was a large portion of the now defunct Portland Museum of Natural History. The modern Northern Maine Museum of Science began in 1994 with a donation of five new display cases from NYNEX (now Verizon).  Many individuals from Aroostook County and throughout Maine contributed their time and expertise to building displays for this museum, which formally opened on October 5, 1996.

The Northern Maine Museum of Science is located at Folsom Hall at The University of Maine at Presque Isle on south Main Street. See a map of the campus at:


Since most of the displays are in the hallways at Folsom Hall, the museum can be visited anytime the campus is open. See UMPI's Academic Calendar page for times. Special tours can be arranged by contacting Musem Curator Dr. Kevin McCartney.

This is a listing of Northern Maine Museum of Science displays, with status if not finished.

Building entrance and north stairwell

  • Entrance sign
  • Whale vertebra
  • Dolphin models (full scale)
  • Snowy Owl (2 specimens)
  • Diversity of Life (18' overhead display)
  • Evolution and Diversity of Birds (26' overhead display)
  • Pterosaur model (1/4 scale, 9' wingspan)
  • Pterosaur display in wall case
  • Are birds dinosaurs? (in preparation)
  • Whale jawbone

Third floor (Biology and Geology):

  • Meteorology station (in preparation)
  • Scientific research in northern Maine (rotating exhibit)
  • Atlantic Leatherback Sea Turtle
  • Coral reef exhibit and mural
  • Minerals of Maine
  • Herbarium exhibit (outside room with herbarium collections)
  • Leaves (framed poster)
  • Lichen
  • 600 million years of earth history (39' overhead display)
  • Leroy Norton exhibits (turtle shells, fresh-water mollusks, Murex sea shells)
  • Cephalopods
  • Trilobites
  • Fossil fish from Wyoming
  • Fossil plants of Carboniferous Period
  • Exhibits from Geo-Ecology Club field trips
  • Pertica quadrifaria (the Maine State Fossil)
  • Tourmaline, the Maine State Mineral (in preparation)
  • Woolly mammoth
  • Shark teeth
  • Maine slate (display in preparation)
  • The abacus (scheduled to be moved to first floor)
  • Passenger Pigeon
  • Owls
  • Insect and spider exhibits (including south stairwell)
  • Insect coloration and camouflage
  • Aerial photo mosaic of northern Maine
  • Two extensive map mosaics of northern Maine, at different scales.
  • Three-dimensional topographic map of Presque Isle
  • Geological time column (poster)
  • Ichthyosaurus cast
  • Fluorescent minerals (display designed by Presque Isle sixth grader)
  • Display showing outdoor areas of the museum (in preparation, for south stairwell)
  • Are You Color Blind?

Second floor (Chemistry, Physics, Agriculture and Forestry)

  • Acknowledgments, staff and layout maps
  • Solar system scale model (over 100' long)
  • Beaver dam diorama (display built by Limestone High School class)
  • Seismometer
  • Crystals and their atomic structures
  • The atom
  • Chesuncook Soil
  • DNA double helix
  • Powers of Ten (28' overhead display)
  • Metric system, with meter-long park bench
  • Potato varieties
  • Color mixing (display built by Caribou High School class)
  • Longitude and latitude
  • Magnetic declination
  • Measuring tree height
  • Varieties of quartz
  • Why do we have seasons?
  • Waves
  • Redwood tree
  • Dating and analysis of wood sections
  • Northern lights in northern Maine (south stairwell)
  • Physics of T. rex. (in prep., display designed by Caribou High School class, south stairwell)

First Floor (Mathematics):

  • Greek letters and mathematical symbols (overhead display in preparation)
  • Platonic solids
  • Fibonacci numbers
  • Spaghetti experiment
  • The Painted Cubes
  • Infinity mirrors
  • Math Awareness Week
  • Nonelectronic computers

Outdoor areas (all outdoor areas now have signs on roadways)

  • West campus woods (now with established trail)
  • Loring Woods
  • Easton natural area
  • Norton Building (to be reconditioned as discovery center?)

How can I contribute to the museum?

This museum is entirely the product of voluntary contributions of work and money.  Anybody interested in working on a museum display should contact Dr. McCartney.  The museum is always in need of people, especially those with artistic talents.