The Davistown Museum is a regional history, tool, and art museum in the hill country of central coastal Maine. The missions of the Museum are:
The Missions of the Davistown Museum are expressed in the theme of the
Museum, The Marriage of Tools, Art, and History.
Tools: To locate, recover, restore, preserve, catalog, display, and interpret the hand tools of New England’s early American industries. Our special emphasis is on the shipsmiths and edge toolmakers who made the hand tools that facilitated the florescence of New England’s maritime and industrial economy from 1607 to 1930. Relevant trades include the iron forgemaster, blacksmith, shipwright, cooper, wheelwright, sail maker, pattern maker, and, after 1870, machinist, tool and die maker, and mechanic.
Art: The primary mission of the DTM (Davistown Museum) Annual Art Exhibition is to provide a forum to display the work of Maine's contemporary artists – painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, assemblage artists, and artisans utilizing other media including glass, fabric, and ceramics.
History: The original mission of DTM was to document the evolution of the first settlements of the Davistown Plantation (+/- 1775) into the towns of Montville (1807) and Liberty (1827), and their development into robust mill towns of the Waldoboro Customs District in the heyday of shipbuilding (1840s -1850s). The tool collections acquired by DTM included hand tools recovered by the Liberty Tool Co. that clearly demonstrated the rapid evolution of a hand forge-welded tool industry before 1840 into the Industrial Revolution where toolmaking became increasingly mechanized. Our exploration of the history of the indigenous peoples who occupied coastal New England prior to European contact was a natural outgrowth of our explorations of local and regional history.
Publications: The use of the term “history” in the Museum theme – The Marriage of Tools, Art, and History – includes the study and documentation of Maine and New England maritime history from the earliest Native American residents to the contemporary period of American history. Also a component of the Museum History Mission is the documentation of early American industries in Maine and New England prior to 1800. The Museum publication series, Hand Tools in History, encapsulates as well as summarizes the Museum mission with respect to the metallurgy of early American industries. Our publication, Norumbega Reconsidered, narrates our take on the ethno-history of the Gulf of Maine bioregion.
Educational Outreach: Our vision for the future is to disseminate our knowledge and provide access to our collections to more people, especially scholars, history investigators, and students, through whatever means are available to us.
To further this mission, we regularly offer public presentations on subjects such as the history of Davistown Plantation (now the towns of Liberty and Montville) from 1800 to 1865, or the industrial and maritime history of Maine and New England. These activities combined with our comprehensive website to provide those without access to the hands-on experience of the DTM with an introduction to the collections and the possibilities for study and exploration.
An important future mission of the Davistown Museum is to make available trade-specific tools that help tell the story of New England and America’s maritime and industrial history to public education institutions through our School Tool Loan Program. This will further the DTM educational goals.
Website: Our website provides: a broad selection of photographic views of the DTM collections; a complete listing of catalogued tools in the Museum Collection, including information pertaining to their historical significance and current status; MAG Gallery listings, photographs, and artist information; on-line copies of our publications; links to other resources; and extensive bibliographies on the subjects we explore. The website is designed to accommodate those who cannot go to the collections in Liberty in person with access to as many of our resources as possible.
Upcoming events and exhibits: Calendar
Winter 2012/Spring 2013 (pdf)
Winter 2011 (pdf)
Winter 2010 (pdf)
Summer 2009 (pdf)
Spring 2007 (pdf)
Summer 2006 (pdf)
Winter 2005 (pdf)
The Davistown Museum offers Exhibits and Information for exploration of early Maine/New England/American TOOLS and HISTORY and ART.
Ongoing exhibits of:
|Eighteenth and nineteenth century hand tools|
|Contemporary and antiquarian art in the permanent collection and changing shows, creating a unique environment that juxtaposes tools, which can be experienced as both historical and sculptural objects, with conceptual, assemblage, abstract, and traditional art.|
|Native American tools and artifacts|
The Center for the Study of Early Tools, with the Elliot Sayward Memorial Library and accommodations for visitors interested in studying at the museum.
|The Maine Artists Guild (MAG) Gallery, presenting work by contemporary Maine artists for sale. Participating artists include Alan Magee, John Whalley, Abby Shahn, Phil Barter, Tillman Crane, Melita Westerlund, and many more. The actual gallery is in on the 2nd floor of the Liberty complex, and a virtual version can be accessed via the museum website.|
|A Children’s Corner, featuring activities for drop-in visitors and scheduled field trips.|
|Local history research room.|
|The Davistown Museum Café, offering hot and cold drinks, snacks, WiFi, an expansive porch with a lovely view of nearby hills, and a selection of used and new books to peruse and purchase.|
In HULLS COVE (Bar Harbor), visitors will find:
At its website, visitors will find:
The Davistown Museum also offers:
The Davistown Museum was founded in 1999 by H. G.“Skip” Brack, proprietor of and buyer for the Jonesport Wood Company, which includes Liberty Tool Company, the Hulls Cove Tool Barn, and Captain Tinkham’s Emporium in Searsport. Brack’s search for and recovery of old woodworking tools, other hand tools, and antiques led to the discovery of historically significant signed and forge-welded edge tools, old paintings, Native American artifacts, and “accidental durable remnants,” which became the basis for the museum collections. Brack opened the museum in the historic building across the street from Liberty Tool
Company and named it for the Davistown Plantation, which became the towns of Montville (1807) and Liberty (1827). Numerous Maine artists have loaned or donated work to the Annual Art Exhibition. The original collections and the museum’s other offerings have grown considerably and consistently since its founding.
The Davistown Museum building is located in Liberty, ME, across from Liberty Tool Company, about 17 miles west of Belfast and 30 miles east of Augusta. The office of the museum and Sculpture Garden is located in Hulls Cove, 75 miles northeast of Liberty, next to the Hulls Cove Tool Barn. Hulls Cove is a village that is a part of Bar Harbor on Mt. Desert Island. Correspondence and phone calls should be directed to the Hulls Cove address.
58 Main St.
P.O. Box 346
Liberty, ME 04949
Across the street from Liberty Tool Co.
Over Liberty Graphics Outlet
GPS USERS, PLEASE NOTE: You MUST put in "Bar Harbor 04609" rather than "Hulls Cove 04644" to get correct directions to the Hulls Cove Sculpture Garden!
Office and Sculpture Garden
17 Breakneck Rd.
Hulls Cove, ME 04644
Adjacent to Hulls Cove Tool Barn
Open March through December: Thursday through Sunday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
January: Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Always: By Appointment, including January and February
Call to confirm days and hours: 207-589-4900
Open 7 days a week, 9 AM to 5 PM.
While the main building is in Liberty, ME, all correspondence and phone calls should be addressed to the Hulls Cove office, which is open year round.
For questions/comments regarding tool identification or other museum matters, please contact:
H. G. Skip Brack, Curator
at firstname.lastname@example.org with DTMquestion in the subject line
For questions/comments regarding education programs, internships, or publicity, please contact:
Judith Bradshaw Brown
Director of Education
at email@example.com with DTMquestion in the subject line .
Sett Balise, Technical Director (this is who you e-mail if you find something broken on the site)
Davistown Museum Office
P.O. Box 144
Hulls Cove, ME 04644
(207) 288-5126 Fax (207) 288-2725
H. G. Skip Brack founded the Davistown Museum, in which he takes great pleasure sharing his collections and knowledge of tools, art, and history, and serves as its curator. The museum grew out of his highly successful Jonesport Wood Company, which includes the Liberty Tool Company, Hulls Cove Tool Barn, and Captain Tinkham’s Emporium. He is the primary contributor to all facets of the museum and welcomes questions about and contributions and responses to any aspect of the museum’s missions. His knowledge of early tools and Maine/New England maritime history makes him a sought after lecturer and consultant. He has presented his work at the Maine Historical Society, Bath Maritime Museum, Yarmouth Historical Society, Montpelier-The General Henry Knox Museum, the Atlantic Challenge Foundation, and other organizations.
Skip has done extensive research and writing on the history of tools and the science of iron and steel production. He has also researched and published his findings on environmental topics, with a focus on biologically significant chemical fallout. His many publications include Norumbega Reconsidered, the six-volume museum publication series Hand Tools in History, Registry of Maine Toolmakers, and much of the text on the museum’s information-dense website. These books are available both directly through this website and through amazon.com.
Skip holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and an M.A. from the University of Colorado and taught English at the University of the Pacific. A native of Newton, MA, he now lives in Hulls Cove, with his wife, Judith Bradshaw Brown, and makes weekly trips to Liberty Tool Company and the museum, where they maintain an apartment, and he tends the museum most Saturdays and some Sundays. He enjoys traveling extensively in the United States and Europe, visiting tool museums and historical sites to research his interests. When not scouring New England for tools and other treasures or "slinging tools" in the Hulls Cove workshop, Brack enjoys collecting, curating, and hanging the museum exhibits; creating assemblages of "accidental durable remnants" for the Liberty Museum and Hulls Cove Sculpture Garden; reading volumes about tools, history, and ferrous metallurgy and writing about what he learns; and weed whacking the gardens.
|JUDITH BRADSHAW BROWN, EdD,
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION & PUBLICITY, GRANT-WRITER, et al
Judith Bradshaw Brown, Ed.D., wears many hats in the Davistown Museum organization. With a doctorate in literacy education from the University of Maine, she is responsible for the education components of the museum, for which she created the Children’s Corner in Liberty and wrote Tools Teach: Learning the World Via the Study of Tools, a guide for teachers and students. She encourages teachers, parents, and students to contact her about ways in which the Davistown Museum can accommodate learning for all ages. As director of fundraising, Judith has written a number of funded grants for the museum and continues to seek funding sources. She writes publicity and performs many administrative and editorial tasks for museum operations. She is active in the larger museum community, formerly serving on the board of Directors of Maine Archives and Museums and on the committee for New Century Museum Collections grants.
Preceding her doctoral studies, Judith received a B.A. in English from Rutgers University, a 5th Year in Teaching from the University of California at Hayward, and an MS in Education from the University of Southern Maine. She has taught students at all levels, from preschool through graduate school, from California to Maine. Prior to her retirement, she taught undergraduate education courses at the University of Maine at Farmington, master's level courses at outreach locations for UM Orono, and an online course in writing for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. Before that, she taught high school English for 17 years at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, ME. Her essays, articles, and poetry have appeared in numerous publications, and she has presented her work at conferences throughout the United States.
Judith is currently retired from full-time teaching, living in Bar Harbor, Maine, with her husband, Skip Brack, where she helps run the Davistown Museum and the Hulls Cove Tool Barn. She enjoys reading, writing, making art, teaching writing and literature to two local homeschoolers, and creating and maintaining the flower gardens in the museum's Hulls Cove (Bar Harbor) sculpture gardens.
OFFICE AND WEB MANAGER
Beth A. Sundberg, MS, has managed the Jonesport Wood Company office and Web-related activities in Hulls Cove for many years. She has also created and maintained the museum website, which originated over ten years ago to store and share Skip Brack’s research and writing and preceded the Davistown Museum, and she types Skip’s manuscripts.
Beth graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in Math and from Purdue University with an MS degree in Computer Science Management Information Systems. She has worked as a computer programmer, programmer analyst, and scientific software engineer. She has been an instructor of computer science at Allegheny College and has taught as part of her own consulting business. She currently has her own consulting business, working with databases, web design, business applications, and digital images.
Sett joined the Davistown Museum staff in the summer of 2007. He lives on-site in the museum in Liberty and tends the museum when it is open. Using his extensive computer skills developed through working with hundreds of people on thousands of machines, he completely redesigned the old website and acts as webmaster. Sett also assists Curator Skip Brack in his research on tools, ferrous metallurgy, and other topics. He is an on-staff volunteer year-round, updating, creating, and maintaining the Web components of the museum and Jonesport Wood Company during the winter. The museum's eclectic blend of information mirrors his own interests as an oil painter, potter, martial artist, and aspiring armchair anthropologist. He makes and sells pottery at the Hope, Maine spinnery through his website.
Laure joined the Davistown Museum/Liberty Tool Co team in June 2010 and covers Public Relations with the Museum and manages the Tool Co. Born in Vermont and raised in New Jersey she grew up surrounded by the Arts and a love for History. When she discovered Liberty and the world of Tools, History & Art it was almost too good to be true and a perfect fit for her life experiences, special interests and skills to be utilized. After many years of travel , living and working throughout the States (NJ, CT, MA, FL, OR, CA) she has truly found a home in Liberty, Maine. After attending University, Laure started out as a graphic artist & illustrator and also has a strong background in office administration, marketing, event coordination and public relations. Laure has also worked as a designer and continues to offer organizational design for both the home and office settings. She recently renovated a little piece of Liberty history, the Hunt-Walker Tannery office building, which was later utilized as Liberty's first Library, which she shares with her dog, Jackson Bean. Laure has 2 grown sons, Ryan & Damon, who also reside in Maine and are often in Liberty.
Board of Directors:
Joe Benney, Adriaan Gerber, Michelle Gifford, Kathleen Kelly, Roger L. Majorowicz, George O'Connor, Jay Sawyer, John Sundberg, Donna L. Wilkie
We are happy to report that we have received some positive feedback and publicity:
John Sundberg wrote an article about the museum in Backwoodsman Magazine.
Jessica Straus, who has new work on display in the museum, wrote a blog entry about the Davistown Museum and Liberty Tool Company across the street.
Liberty Tool Company (across the street in Liberty) was featured in an article in the Bangor Daily News, "Liberty Tool still heart of the community despite being for sale."
Curator Skip Brack was interviewed for the WBGO News segment "This Day in 1870" featuring Seth Boyden, inventor of malleable iron.
A new book, Maine (Island Time) features the Davistown Museum and Liberty Tool Company
Wicked Local Plymouth article on curator Skip Brack's lecture.
The Los Angeles Times published an article that mentions Liberty.
Walker School students learn about local history, tools. 2012. Waldo County Village Soup.
The Waldo County Village Soup newspaper ran an article about Michelle Gifford visiting Walker School in Liberty with tools from the Davistown Museum to give a presentation
The Hulls Cove Sculpture Garden is mentioned in Boston Magazine's "Best of New England."
Factory Fans: Innovative Museums Highlight New England's Industrial Past. Nell Porter Brown. Harvard Magazine, September-October 2010, page 20D.
Astragal Press Review of Art of the Edge Tool
Handles for James Swan Chisels. 2009. Ted Monk. Woodworker's Guide.
Tool History at Davistown Museum. 2009. Ted Monk. Woodworker's Guide.
http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/homestyle/08/31/tool.heaven.ap/ (no longer active) Tool Heaven. 2007. CNN "Living."
Tool Up to Liberty, Maine, Then retool. 2007. Hilary Nangle. The Boston Globe.
"The Tools that Built Maine" on Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), a video segment on the Davistown Museum
Yankee Travel Magazine: Travel Guide to New England, Editor's choice 2006, Liberty Tool Company and the Davistown Museum. pg. 162.
Stuff, stuff and more stuff: Make Liberty's Davistown Museum a Summer Destination. Nancy McGinnis, Summer in Maine: Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel advertising supplement, Jun 16, 2005, pg. 86-87.
The Best Tool Shed. Hilary Nangle, Yankee, December 2004, 68(10), pg. 58 - 61.
Beyond 295: Tool Town. David Tyler, Port City Life, September/October 2004. 6(5). pg. 38-39.
A tool museum was never this much fun by Mark Odom, Belfast Village Soup, May 31, 2001.
The Liberty Tool Co. is featured in the article "The Culture of Cultch" with photographs by Tillman Crane in Down East: The Magazine of Maine, May 2003, 49(10), pg. 68-71.
An illustration of one of our planes was used in Heather Palmer's February 2004 article: "The simplest tools tell a story, too! Part II" (Living with Antiques: The New England Antiques Journal Supplement. 22(8). pg. 26-28.)
Site design © 2013 Sett Balise