award ribbons


bird perched on a branch

Gary Hoyle online program moved to June 8

The art talk by Gary Hoyle about the work in his current special exhibit at the Wendell Gilley Museum has been rescheduled to Tuesday, June 8 at 7p.m. online via Zoom. He will share insights about his work in this presentation exclusively for the Gilley. Learn more about his exhibition at the Gilley here.
Gary's works are inspired by nature, and much of his life’s work has happened in that special place where art and science meet. Gary was the Artist for Exhibits and the Curator of Natural History at the Maine State Museum for 28 years. His sculptures and paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States, including Chicago’s Field Museum. And he has been an Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park twice. Originally scheduled for May 28, this event has been rescheduled for June 8. There is no fee to join us, but registration is required. You can register HERE.


Our Mask Policy

The Wendell Gilley Museum welcomes visitors of all ages and strives to create a safe and hospitable environment. Because many of our visitors cannot receive a vaccine against Covid-19 – including those with conditions that put them at high risk, and all children younger than 12 – we ask that everyone wear a mask while on museum property. This will be our policy for the season. We look forward to seeing you, and offer our thanks in advance for helping us create the safest possible experience for everyone.

We are Open!

The Gilley opened for the season on May 14.

We'll be welcoming visitors Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 4pm.  And there are a lot of great programs planned.

Our new canopy-covered outdoor classroom will be the site of workshops and events throughout the year.

We will be requiring masks while on the property, and are limiting the number of people who can be inside the museum at any one time. Please email us at to set up a time to visit.

Our first special exhibit for the year is by Swan's Island painter Gary Hoyle.

We can't wait to see you!


Gilley joins forces with Schoodic Institute

Wendell Gilley Museum and Schoodic Institute are teaming up in May to offer six special programs -- four birding adventures on MDI  and two art classes on the Schoodic Peninsula.

The Gilley’s artist-in-residence, Steve Valleau, will offer a two-part Whittle-A-Warbler at Schoodic Institue May 15 and 22, and Erika Rosso will lead an en plein air painting class called Watercolors, Birds, and Shorelines, on May 29. For more information about these classes. Visit Schoodic Institute's website HERE.

Based out of the museum, the director of the Schoodic Bird Ecology Lab, Seth Benz, will lead bird walks on Thursday mornings in May on the 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th. Group size is limited to 10 people and all ages are welcome. Participants will meet at the Gilley at 7am, with coffee and pastry available along with a tour of the museum. The group will depart the museum promptly at 7:30am for a birding location on Mount Desert Island chosen that day by Seth. There is a $25 per person fee, and registration is required. Mask required and social distancing will be observed. E-mail us at to reserve your spot, and please include your name, email, telephone number, and the date of the Seth Benz Bird Walk you're interested in.

New speaker series explores connections between Art & Nature

The Gilley is launching a monthly series to bring painters, writers, carvers, and creative types of all kinds to the Gilley to share how nature impacts their art and their approach to making it; and how their art affects their approach to the natural world. 

This is our passion – using art of all kinds to help people connect with nature in some way. So we’ve put together a diverse group of really interesting and creative people to share how they do it.


The Gilley Turns 40!

Back on July 12, 1981, the Wendell Gilley Museum opened its doors to the public for the very first time, with a celebration that included Wendell and his wife Addie, who was responsible for saving most of the carvings that make up the core of the museum's collection of Wendell's work. Ever since then, we've worked to preserve and promote Wendell's legacy, share and teach the skills he elevated to an art form, and help people connect to nature through art.

Throughout this year we'll celebrating with special events. We hope you'll join us.

Gilley's master carver is featured speaker for Shelburne Museum


The Gilley's own master carver, Steve Valleau, is the featured artist for the Shelburne Museum's first Artist's Afternoon online event for 2021!

Join us for this exploration of the works of master carvers Elmer Crowell and Wendell Gilley, a discussion of Steve's own carving practices and current projects, and live audience Q&A on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 at 1pm. The event will be live online. It's free, but we do ask that you register with the Shelburne HERE.

If you have questions, please contact Melinda Rice-Schoon at

Visit our online Activity Library


Visit our Learn & Do page for lots of fun and inspiring online art projects, created by local artists. You'll find videos about using clay, collage and collotype printmaking to create your own birds, as well as a download-able project to make mythological bird gods and goddesses. And there's a video by Ashley Bryan featuring his book "Beautiful Blackbird." We'll be adding more videos and projects during the fall and winter, so check back often.



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Current newsletter

January 2020


Check out some of our past newsletters:
November 2019
October 2019 - Fall Fun
August 2019
June 2019 - People, Nature, Art and Parties
Winter 2017
Fall 2016
Summer 2016
Summer 2012
October 2011
September 2011
July 2011
May 2011

wooden bird carvings