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The Wendell Gilley Museum celebrates the life and work of Wendell Gilley, a pioneer in the field of decorative bird carving. It teaches the art of bird carving and presents art exhibitions and educational programs with a special focus on people, nature, and art. The Museum endeavors to inspire appreciation of the visual arts, engagement in artistic creativity, and respect and care for the natural world.

If you are feeling inspired, consider joining our creative communitycarving classes, programs for kids, and members’ carving club continue into spring. And if you can’t fly in, follow the flock on Facebook. School and community groups are welcome to arrange programs and tours.




Main Gallery space, May 2019 - October 2019

Harold Haertel was a carver from Dundee, Illinois who was born the same year as Wendell Gilley. Harold and Wendell worked in the same world of bird carving but despite many similarities in their background and work, their carvings are very different. In 2019, we will tell a story in our museum about bird carving that explores the lives and work of these two extremely talented carvers. Museum member, and carver, Paul Heartel will curate this exhibition with the help of museum carver Steven Valleau. This exhibition is possible thanks to the generosity of Tom Haertel - Harold's son, and a carver himself. Pictured: Harold Haertel Poster by B. Mattison.



Artist Paul Rickert & The Susan Abbott Myers Collection

Reception: May 12, 12 - 4pm
Exhibition dates: May 12 - June 8

In collaboration with the Gallery at Somes Sound and the Myers family, the Gilley is excited to announce an exhibition of paintings by acclaimed artist Paul Rickert, collected by Susan Abbott Myers (1935-2017). Rickert's art connected the two - neighbors who did not know each other - and led to an outstanding collection of Rickert's paintings (Susan was a discerning collector) as well as a friendship they both treasured. Come to the Gilley to see Rickert's stunning watercolor and oil paintings, collected by Susan Myers over the years, and share their love of Maine's land and waters.



Treasures of the Farnsworth: Maine Masterworks

Special exhibition space, June 29 - October 16, 2019

The Gilley and the Farnsworth join forces in order to bring you a unique collection of Maine Masterworks, especially curated for the Gilley, including a range of important painters such as Fitz Henry Lane, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Neil Welliver,Emily Muir, Jaime Wyeth, and many more. The exhibition will also feature outstanding modern bird scupltures by Maine artists Edwin Gamble and Bernard Langlais and by Louise Nevelson.   Pictured: Fitz Henry Lane and Mary Blood Mellen, View of Southwest Harbor, Circa 1850.

Stay tuned for more details on special programming and workshops during the summerand fall, including a lecture by Farnsworth Head Curator, Michael Komenecky.

If you'd like to support this exciting show, contact us to ask about sponsorship opportunities, which include benefits such as public acknowledgement and invitations to exclusive special events. or 207 244-7555. Pictured: Leon Kroll, Crashing Waves, Ogunquit, 1915.




The Gilley is excited to announce work on a new online collection catalog! Over 2019, with the help of staff, trustees and volunteers, we expect to have most of our original permanent collection done, with newer acquisitions, works of art on paper, and a sizeable archive to follow in coming years.

We'd like to thank software architect and consultant George Soules for setting us up and providing technical guidance and support - we're honored to be joining the network of local cultural institutions who share this same digital archive platform! If you'd like to learn more about this great resource, just get in touch.

Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, this is a crucial project for the museum which will make our collections accessible and inspiring to more people. It will take several years and many resources to complete. If you'd like to be involved with this project or to be a sponsopr, contact us at or 207 244-7555. 



2018 was a wonderful year here at the Gilley, full of special exhibits, a variety of workshops, activities and carvings. We have even more planned for 2019, including several outstanding exhibitions, tons of programs all year-round, and ongoing work on our collection and catalog projects. We also expect to launch our new website this spring.

A huge thank all our supporters, trustees and volunteers, and for all those who supported us last year and in 2019. You keep the museum alive and creative, and we are truly grateful for your generosity, time and talent!

We continue welcoming donations in support of our work year-round. Give online to the Wendell Gilley Museum, or contact us about volunteer opportunities. Donations and memberships are tax deductible.



Annual Holiday Open House was Incredible!

We would like to extend special thanks to our member carvers, to the student artists who came from various local schools - Trenton, MDES, Conners Emerson, Tremont, Pemetic, and the Schoodic Arts for All afterschool program - as well as their teachers, who made it all possible! Thank you also to Sips for the wonderful food and The Jazz Collective for the great music, and of course - to those who came out to see the carvers and students' works! It was lovely to have all of you over and share the evening. To see photos from the event, click here.




Birds in Book: Book Club
Discussing When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

Thursday, Mar 28, 5:30-6:45pm

10 Week Evening Grosbeak Carving Class

Saturday, Feb 2 to Sat, Apr 13


Luminous Feather Water Color Painting Class for Kids

with Erika Rosso

Saturday, April 6, 3-5pm

Carving Club

Friday, November 2 to Friday, April 26, 1-4pm

Except on holidays.


4 Week Arctic Tern Family Program for Ward Museum Youth Competition

Saturday, Mar 2 to Sat, Mar 30 (no class March 23)


Advance registration required for many events, please contact us at 207 244 7555 or


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Arctic Tern Silhouettes in progress



              Arctic Tern Silhouettes in progress



              Arctic Tern Silhouettes in progress


Bird Painting with Erika Rosso


Bird Painting with Erika Rosso


    Whittle a Warbler class





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