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Current Exhibitions

Works by Wendell Gilley

True to its name, the Museum always features substantial and changing exhibits of bird carvings by Wendell Gilley. From his first miniature drake to a life-size turkey, over one hundred birds from Gilley's carving career are on display. Workbenches, tools, and works-in-progress provide insight to the process of carving, while nesting eagles and loons illustrate elements of the lifecycle of birds. The beauty of both birds and the artform is evident in the carving, texturing, and painting of the pieces.


Works by Museum members and the Carver-in-residence are also regularly on view along with rotating exhibitions from the Museum's holdings of prints and paintings.

20 Birds of Mount Desert Island
Changing selections of collotypes from Carroll Sargent Tyson's watercolor paintings of local avian fauna are currently on display. Carroll Sargent Tyson (1878-1956) spent summers on Mount Desert Island. While well-respected for his impressionistic oil paintings, he also worked on watercolor portraits of birds. In 1941, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences published a collection of these in the folio Birds of Mount Desert Island.


RECENT Exhibitions


An Abundance of Riches

July 1 - october 21, 2017

The worlds of art and nature beautifully combine in Andrea Rich’s intricately designed, carved, and printed woodcuts. An internationally recognized artist, Rich has traveled worldwide to portray the beauty of birds and animals in their habitats through her work.


Using a centuries-old medium that requires a carved wood panel for each layer of color needed to develop the composition, Andrea Rich creates detailed prints. These panels are painstakingly aligned one atop another sequentially and pulled through a printing press to create the final piece.

An Abundance of Riches was on loan to the Wendell Gilley from the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. 

Friends in Acadia
Centered on the Whitfield Painter Collection of bird carvings by Wendell Gilley on loan from the collector’s family, the exhibit celebrated Acadia National Park's centenniel year. Painter, a marine rope salesman, became friends with Gilley during his sales trips to Mount Desert Island in the 1950s. Usually spread across the country, the collection was reunited by Painter’s family for the first time for public exhibition at the Gilley Museum. The new installation of carvings was paired with a rare showing of all 20 prints from the series “Birds of Mount Desert Island,” by Carroll Sargent Tyson, who was a friend and painting mentor to Wendell Gilley.

A Visit With Ashley Bryan
The art, history, and nature of beloved and acclaimed artist Ashley Bryan’s work, selected from his prodigious output during the course of his 92 years and counting, is on display in this exhibit by The Ashley Bryan Center. Adults and children alike relate to the creations of Ashley Bryan, be they his other-worldly puppets created from objects found on island beaches to cathedral-evocative window panels made from sea glass or his drawings, paintings, writing, or illustrations from some of his dozens of books.




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