Kennebunk’s Bicentennial

What's being celebrated?

Maine separated from Massachusetts on March 15, 1820, to become its own state as a part of the Missouri Compromise. Just a few months later, the village of Kennebunk, an area of the town of Wells, split away and became a town  on June 24, 1820. It was the first town established in the new state.

That means our community is celebrating dual bicentennials this year.

In addition to the Museum’s programming throughout the year, we have partnered with the Town of Kennebunk’s Bicentennial Committee to plan specific activities for the whole community.

To learn more about the Town Bicentennial Committee, please visit the Town of Kennebunk site. Please note: due to COVID-19, the Town’s Bicentennial plans have been postponed until June 2021.

BicentennialLOGO_Tree

Perspectives | 2020 Bicentennial Exhibition

The Brick Store Museum is celebrating the Town of Kennebunk’s Bicentennial in 2020 through an art/history mash-up exhibition of historic artifacts and archival materials in the Museum’s collections  interwoven with contemporary artists’ visions of Kennebunk today. Over 60 local artists have been selected to participate in the show, which is supported in part by a Maine200 Bicentennial Grant.

While Museum staff is continually reassessing the current schedule as information about COVID-19 becomes available, we are currently planning that the exhibition will open on its scheduled date of June 24, 2020. Stay tuned for news!


For participating artists: You have been sent an email containing directions for drop-off. Please let us know if you did not receive this communication (sent 4/7/2020), or if you have any questions, by emailing info@brickstoremuseum.org.

You will find the required forms here: Artwork Information Sheet and Artwork Loan Form. Both must be filled out and ready to hand in with your artwork.

More Ways to Celebrate the Bicentennial:

The Bicentennial Distance Challenge

Take part in this fun Bicentennial Distance Challenge Virtual Race by running, walking, or biking 7 miles on the course of your choice.

Why 7 miles?

Before 1820, Kennebunk was a part of Wells. Communities were then designated as parishes, and the church or parish was an essential meeting place.

At the time, people in the Kennebunk district of Wells had to travel 7 miles—usually by foot—to the First Congregational Parish of Wells in order to attend meetings. In 1750, these residents founded their own parish, which they called the Second Congregational Parish of Wells. It was located at Kennebunk Landing, along the Kennebunk River. Reverend Daniel Little was its first minister. The parish moved to what is now the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church on Main Street, on land donated by Joseph Storer, in 1772.

By the time 1820 came around, the two parishes – in Wells and Kennebunk – sat seven miles away from each other, and that’s where members of the Second Congregational Parish of Wells (now the Unitarian Universalist Church) voted to separate and become its own town.

Get active and support history! The race kicks off on June 24, 2020, through October 17, 2020, run your race at your pace and on a course of your choice – as long as it’s seven miles! – and send us your finishing time. If you choose to run or bike, use a tracking method of your choice. If you are walking, feel free to split up those miles to complete them over a period of time that is healthy for you.

Kennebunk's History Timeline

Click the image to visit Kennebunk’s history timeline – updated with new information regularly!

Get Your Bicentennial Shirt!

The sale of every shirt raises funds for the Museum’s year-round mission of local history, art and culture collection, education and preservation.

To celebrate the Bicentennial, the Century Saturdays Program will run once a month (on a Saturday) from May through October, ending on October 12th with 21st Century Saturday to ask the community “where do we go from here?” The Museum has planned an immersive experience for visitors to get the chance to see, smell, taste, hear and touch the different centuries that led us to the present. Timing perfectly with Maine and Kennebunk’s dual Bicentennial celebrations this year, this six-month programming schedule allows visitors and locals alike to explore our shared history in a new way. Studying one century per month allows for easy compare and contrast, observation of change, and a focused discussion about social systems and everyday life in Maine over hundreds of years.

Click on the icon at right to start your visit to the 16th Century in Maine.

More to See at the Museum:

Digital Learning Center

Archives Gallery

Online Exhibitions

Museum Store