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Abbe Museum will exhibit ash baskets from Maine tribes

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BAR HARBOR, Maine - Nearly 200 years of basketry from Maine's native artisans will go on view at the Abbe Museum here early next year. The exhibit "The Basket Room: Baskets from the Anne Molloy Howells Collection" will run from Feb. 1 through Dec. 28, 2003. It will include approximately 400 baskets from the Northeast tribes, demonstrating the exceptional breadth and depth of the collection.

The late Mrs. Howells donated her collection of about 450 objects, including 415 ash baskets, to the Abbe in 1998. The Howells Collection represents nearly 200 years of native basketry, created in a broad range of styles for a variety of uses.

Mrs. Howells spent much of each year in Bucks Harbor, Maine where her interest in Indian baskets was stimulated by a neighbor's basket, given to his family by Indians who gathered sweetgrass for their baskets on family property.

The Howells Collection represents a sample of the work of native basket-makers from the 1940s to the early 1980s.

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The exhibition will include a graphic of the basket room at Bucks Harbor where the Howells baskets were displayed. In addition, the Abbe will showcase a selection of the Howells baskets as examples of different categories, such as weave, style, age, cultural affiliation, function and uniqueness.

The Abbe is devoted to furthering the understanding and appreciation of Maine's Native cultures, history and archaeology. The exhibition will be on view at the new Abbe Museum, located at 26 Mount Desert St. in downtown Bar Harbor and open year-round except January. The Abbe also operates its historic trailside museum, dating to 1928, from late May through mid-October.

For information, contact the museum at (207) 288-3519, e-mail or visit the museum web site at