The Brick Store Museum is dedicated to discovering, collecting and preserving any material that helps to establish or illustrate the history of the Kennebunks, York County and Maine. The Museum holds nearly 70,000 artifacts in the public trust, and interprets them through exhibitions, research and programs year-round. The collections have strong representation in costume and textiles, historical photographs, decorative arts, furnishings, material culture and art. Fascinating artifacts and intriguing stories – and much more – have shaped our past and present. And they’re all here at the Brick Store Museum.
The largest pieces in our collection are our buildings! The Brick Store building itself was built in 1825 as a dry goods store on Main Street in Kennebunk. Edith Cleaves Barry (1884-1969) inherited the building in 1932 and founded the Museum on the second floor in 1936. She quickly purchased the three adjacent buildings on the block and linked these historical structures from the inside. In so doing, Edith Barry preserved what is ultimately Kennebunk’s largest extant commercial block of historical buildings, dating from 1810 to 1860, nestled in the heart of Kennebunk’s Historic District.
Today, the Museum, which also serves as the town’s historical society, is a regional history and archives center with vast historical and art collections. The Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Donating an Artifact
Are you interested in donating an artifact? Learn more in our “How To Donate” brochure. Learn more about our focus on specific collection areas in order to narrate the entire story of the Kennebunks by visiting our Focus on Collections page.
Edith Barry Collection
Edith Barry (1884 – 1969) was an artist, a world traveler, and a preservationist. From 1936 on, much of her time and energy was directed toward the establishment and development of the Brick Store Museum. However, before this she produced an impressive volume of artwork that was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D. C., the Chicago Arts Institute, the National Academy of Design in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Although many of her portraits and paintings are in private collections, the Brick Store Museum has the largest and most diverse collection of her work which includes paintings, sculpture, book plates, works on paper and photography.
Explore highlights from this collection by visiting the Edith Barry Collection Gallery
The Brick Store Museum’s collection reflects a diverse and rich past with artifacts ranging from centuries-old Indigenous stone tools to a 1685 wooden chest from the Perkins family (one of only two in the world), New England’s largest WWI and WII propaganda poster collection and objects collected from cultures around the world. The maritime heritage of Kennebunk, when more than a dozen shipyards built over 600 ships on the Kennebunk River, is one of the highlights of the collection with tools, half hull models and equipment from the shipbuilding trade, artifacts brought home from all around the world by ship’s captains and sailors and archival material such as ship’s logs, ledgers, and captain’s diaries.
Learn more about objects in the Museum’s collection by visiting the Collection Highlights Gallery
Learn more about the Museum’s archival collection of local history photographs, written and printed materials, family records, oral histories, and architectural histories by visiting our Archives & Research page.
Rights & Reproductions
We are happy to assist you in your work and supply images and reproductions for public use. Please visit our Rights & Reproductions page to learn about the this process.
Please note: Imminent publishing deadlines cannot always be accommodated, as the Museum must prioritize its own mission-related work. Please provide at least two-weeks’ lead time for your request to be fulfilled.
If you are interested in viewing collections that are not currently on view, please contact Leanne Hayden, Collections Manager, (207)985-4802 or [email protected]