The Museum offers Free Admission and Guided Tours to any non-profit educational group. Any other group (families, clubs, for-profit tour groups, etc.) may schedule a Guided Tour of the Museum for a fee. The Museum offers general interest tours of our Collection and Exhibits, as well as the thirteen Thematic Tours described below.
Requests to schedule a tour can by made by email or by phone at (207) 594-4418. For the general public, the Museum conducts tours, including Engine Room Demonstrations and Flightline Commentaries, at its Special Events.
School Groups and other non-profit educational groups: FREE
Group Tours (any group of 20 or more): $9.00 per person
Tours are conducted by the Museum’s Education Director and Volunteer Tour Guides.
Thematic tours, though geared to the needs of school children, can be scheduled for any group. Some tours are technical in nature and appropriate for groups of science or math students, while others are more appropriate for history and social studies groups. Tours can be combined with a one-hour class activities.
Maine’s Transportation Heritage: Learn not only the role transportation played in the history of the state of Maine, but also the role that Maine played in these defining years of transportation history. From the popular and world-renowned Stanley twins and their famous steam car to the less spectacular but equally amazing Domenjoz Sailing Glider, this tour is perfect for any grade pursuing a course of Maine Studies.
A Century Ago: Traveling in Maine During the Wright Era: December 17, 2003 marked a tremendous anniversary in transportation. One hundred years earlier, Orville and Wilbur Wright succeeded in making the first successful controlled, powered, heavier than air flight, an undertaking that lasted only 12 seconds and spanned 120 feet. This tour places the accomplishments of these wonderful brothers into context with transportation options available to Maine residents of the time in order to truly understand the ramifications of the Wrights’ accomplishment.
Harnessing Power: Explore the various ways technologies harness power to propel people and products, on the ground and in the air. The technologies which preceded the Wright Brother’s 1903 First Flight at Kitty Hawk, as well as the technologies which directly followed, are explained. The tour presents a Transportation Technology Timeline that begins with the first wheel and culminates with the Apollo Space Missions.
Storybook Transportation History: Through the use of wonderfully illustrated and written children’s books and the Transportation Museum’s landmark collection of ground vehicles and aircraft, your youngest students are introduced to specific events and vehicles in transportation history. A variety of topics can be investigated including the world’s first successful automobile, the first aeroplane flight across the English Channel, pioneer women aviators and one woman’s experience learning to ride a bike in the late 1800’s.
The Automobile Trip Then and Now: A comparative look at the preparations for a trip from Owls Head to Portland, Maine in 1908 and today. Social aspects are explored as well as technical considerations.
The Bicycle - Inspiration for Transportation: Bicycles were the inspiration for myriad technologies in transportation, including the differential gear, tension spokes, pneumatic tires, and the drive shaft. The Museum’s bicycle collection is the focus of this tour, which also includes cars, motorcycles, airplanes and the technology these forms of transportation borrowed from the bicycle.
The History of Flight: Follow the evolution of manned flight with the museum’s collection of landmark aircraft, including our replica 1903 Wright Flyer. Students learn about the pioneer aircraft that paved the way for today’s globe-spanning air travel. The physics of flight are discussed and the principles of aerodynamics are demonstrated. The interpretation and comparison of aircraft technologies are central to this tour. The principle challenges of powered, heavier-than-air flight are discussed, and the technologies that were developed to meet those challenges are illustrated using the Museum’s collection of antique bi-planes. Competing solutions—the Wright’s wing-warping versus the use of ailerons, for instance—are discussed, and students are encouraged to consider the advantages of one solution over another.
The Inventors: A look at some of the most brilliant and innovative individuals of the Pioneer Era and the creative energy responsible for the cars, planes, and bicycles that move us around everyday. Featured inventors include Henry Ford, the Stanley Brothers, George Corliss, Karl Benz, Glenn Curtiss and the Wright Brothers.
Vehicle Choices: 1909 and Today: Students are invited to compare and contrast the various forms of transportation that were used at the beginning of the 20th century with those in use today. Modes of transportation discussed include the horse and carriage, bicycles, motorcycles, airplanes, trains and boats, and steam, gas and electric automobiles. How and why the inventors of the past made the choices they did are discussed, and students are encouraged to envision how the vehicles of the future will be powered.
Where There’s a Wheel There’s a Way: Focusing on the Museum’s exhibit “The Wheel”, this tour discusses the evolution of the wheel from the first attempts at wheeled transport (BC) to contemporary times.
Workshops can be conducted at the Museum or in local classrooms free of charge. Combine a workshop with your tour or schedule a stand-alone workshop to meet the needs of your class. Workshops are designed for students in grades 4 - 8 but can be easily adapted to accommodate all ages and grades.
Air Pressure: One of the most fundamental elements affecting how planes fly is air. This interactive workshop looks at the properties of air and their influence on the world around us, including flying objects. The works of Archimedes, Newton and Bernoulli are addressed as are the forces of flight: lift, thrust, gravity and drag.
Paper Airplane Workshop: This exciting workshop addresses the physics of flight through paper airplanes. Lift, thrust, drag and gravity are explained in everyday terms as students build their own flying paper wings. Experimentation, observation and comparison are prominent in this fun and engaging workshop.
Kites in the Classroom: Regardless of age, kites provide a magical opportunity to explore the history and science behind flight. In this workshop, students build their own kites in a lesson that can integrate history, science and/or literature. The project culminates with flight testing as part of the lesson or with the classroom teacher as time permits.
We have information and ideas to help you find the academic competition that is right for your class. As the home of the Maine State Solar Sprint Championship for the last several years, we recognize the importance of such competitions, and wish to foster this creative spirit in school aged children. Below you will find links to many innovative and exciting transportation related academic competitions on the national level, as well as a link to a complete sourcebook of competition events to be run on the local level, including rules, supporting links, and supplies.
Pitsco is a catalog supply company whose mission is, “To lead educational change, which positively affects students.” Their competition catalog, and the accompanying web site, offer suggested rules and regulations for 32 academic competitions, along with links to supporting websites and similar competitions. If you are interested in participating in a competitive event, this is the place to start your search.
A model solar vehicle competition for Middle School students, offering Middle School students an opportunity to design, build and race miniature solar cars. This is a nationwide competition, with local, state, and regional levels. Students work in teams to create their own best vehicle, using a motor, a solar panel, and whatever vehicle materials the students choose.
A full scale, one person electric vehicle is the product of this competition. The goals are to engage competitors and to increase awareness of the uses and potential of electric vehicles amongst spectators and competitors. Winners are chosen by distance traveled in one hour with a limited battery capacity.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics has posted rules for rubber band-powered model competitions, as well as information on purchasing and building models. The information offered by this site will get your school well on its way to the competition and to units on flight and aeronautics.