Dorr Museum of Natural History – Bar Harbor, Maine - Atlas Obscura

Dorr Museum of Natural History

A charming museum of natural history featuring dioramas and exhibits made entirely by college students. 


Ever wonder what the filters of a whale’s mouth feels like? At the Dorr Museum of Natural History in Maine, you can brush your fingers through a whale baleen bristles.

Please touch. That’s the philosophy at the Dorr Museum—a space filled with fluffy animal pelts, collections of bird eggs, and many bones and skeletons. 

What was once the original headquarters of Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor is now a trove of the state’s natural world. Dorr Museum has representations of much of the wildlife found in Maine. There are displays of birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and massive whale skeletons. Visitors can interact and touch starfish, hermit crabs, and sea snails native to the area in the museum’s tide pool.

Housed on the campus of the College of the Atlantic, students design all of the exhibits and dioramas in the museum. At the College of the Atlantic’s Herbarium, you can also see a collection of nearly 15,000 specimens of plants, lichens, mosses, fungi, and algae.

The museum is named after the “father of Acadia National Park,” George B. Dorr. In the early 1900s, Dorr devoted the last four decades of his life and much of his finances to the establishment and expansion of the national park. Even the remains of his family residence are now a part of the park.

Dorr believed in maintaining the natural environment in Maine, as he once wrote:

“Saved to future generations as it has been to us, in the wild primeval beauty of the nature it exhibits, of ancient rocks and still more ancient sea, with infinite detail of life and landscape interest between, the spirit and mind of man will surely find in it in the years and centuries to come an inspiration and a means of growth as essential to them ever and anon as are fresh air and sunshine to the body.”

Know Before You Go

The Dorr Museum is located on the College of the Atlantic's campus. It's the first building on the left from the main entrance.

From Around the Web