learning how to carve

Learn & Do

carving tools

Philosophy of programming

Following in the footsteps of Wendell Gilley, we endeavor to help people make connections to art and nature, and to their own creativity. The programs we offer explore nature and the arts, and offer many opportunities for learning and creativity for all ages.

Many people reflect fondly on memories of dropping by and spending time with Wendell in his studio, watching him carve and learning from him. At the museum, you can visit with our Master Carver Steven Valleau (read his bio here), who has been carving at the Gilley for over 30 years. You can share Steve's passion for birds and learn about carving (maybe even try your hand at it), and sign up for one of our many creative classes or learning programs. 

Along with a full-time artist on staff, we also bring in local artists, educators, and experts in natural history and the environment for special programs. Our events page lists all of our upcoming activities. If you are interested in learning to carve, you can sign up for a lesson or a lifetime; short and long workshops and a carving club are offered. Teachers and youth group leaders are welcome to schedule art and natural history programs year-round.

Types of activities offered


Watch Steve, or one of our Member carvers at work or enroll in a workshop yourself.

Special programs

Throughout the year, the Museum staff works with schools and other institutions to create customized tours and workshops.

Groups info

School groups

We welome school groups.

Private functions

The Gilley Workshop Wing is offered as a meeting place for non-profit groups for a basic fee of $75.00. The space includes a kitchen, work-style tables, chairs, and an A/V system with a large television and microphone for presentations. Rates for private and business functions and/or use of other galleries are negotiable.


If your group is unable to visit the Museum, outreach programs can sometimes be arranged. Current mileage rate of .50/mile applies. Program rates vary.

The Museum is open to groups by appointment, year-round. For more information, or to schedule a tour or program, please call us at (207) 244-7555 or email info@wendellgilleymuseum.org.

Learn & Do Events

For a complete list of all upcoming events: Events page

Friday afternoon Carving Club

January 4 - April 24, 2020

Join the flock, and get creative! Friday afternoon Carving Club - free for members. Work on your own project, with guidance from master carver Steven Valleau, and other carvers from our community. All skill levels welcome and tools provided. For more info: info@wendellgilleymuseum.org or 207 244-7555.

Barry van Dusen

Carving Class - Red Winged Blackbird

February 22 - April 25, 2020

Red winged Blackbird - 10 Week Carving Class with master carver Steve Valleau. Sarurday afternoons from 1-4, beginning Febraury 22. Space is limited. For info or to register, contact us at: info@wendellgilleymuseum.org or 207 244-7555 Gilley. 

Image from sketch by Barry van Dusen

Family Program: Collage inspired by Ashley Bryan's Beautiful Blackbird

April 4, 2020, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Join artist Erika Rosso to make colorful collages, inspired by the book Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan.  All supplies are provided - suitable for children 6 years + and adults.

Registration is required. Sign up at info@wendellgilleymuseum.org or 244-7555.

Family Program: Creating Foam Prints with Sherrie York

April 11, 2020, 12:00 - 2:00 pm

Join us April 11 to make wonderful bird prints using simple materials and techniques - foam and line. Appropriate for all ages; under 8 should have supervision. Space is limited. Registration is required at: 207 244-777 or info@wendellgilleymuseum.org. 

Acadia Birding Festival - Author Talk by Jim Wright: Carroll Tyson, Wendell Gilley and the Real James Bond

May 29, 2020, 10:30 am - 11:30 pm

A private talk by author Jim Wright in partnership with the Acadia Birding Festival. May 29 from 10:30 - 11:30am. Private event - registration for the Acadia Birding Festival required - click here for info.

wooden bird carvings