MOUNT DESERT — An exhibit featuring postcard images from the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing collection opens Thursday, Jan. 9.

The images, which have never been displayed in public, include captions researched by more than 20 historical societies, libraries and individuals. The exhibit was created by the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport and hosted by the Mount Desert Island Historical Society

The exhibit features late 19th and early 20th-century photographs of towns and villages in Hancock County. Captions for the images were researched and composed by over 20 local historical societies, libraries and individuals. The exhibit will be on display at the Sound School House, 373 Sound Drive (Route 198) Mount Desert, beginning with an opening reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9. The exhibit will be open 10 a.m to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday through Feb. 28. Later, the exhibit will travel to other parts of Hancock County.

At the turn of the 20th century, postcards were the rage, said Kevin Johnson, photo archivist at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport who oversees the Eastern collection. Postcards were used in a fashion similar to today’s emails and text messages. The photo postcards are rich in detail and capture a magical time in our country’s history when the automobile became the new mode of travel, immigrants were arriving in droves and tourists began venturing outside the big cities.

An archive of 35,000 glass plate and film negatives of the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Collection arrived at Penobscot Marine Museum in 2007 after it was rescued from a flood at its previous home in Rockport. The collection is actively being processed and archived and has actually grown as thousands of negatives that “escaped” over the years have been recovered. Now approaching 50,000 negatives, the Eastern collection includes scenes not only of Maine but of the rest of New England and upstate New York as well. In 2011, the museum launched its online database making this collection (and others) freely available to the word for research, education and the simple pleasure that viewing these wonderful images can bring.

The mission of the Penobscot Marine Museum is to preserve, interpret and celebrate the maritime culture of the Penobscot Bay region and beyond through collections, education, and community engagement. For more information contact Johnson at 207-548-2529(ext. 210) or

The Mount Desert Island Historical Society works collaboratively with many organizations to keep, discover and celebrate the history of Mount Desert Island. For more information, contact Executive Director Tim Garrity at 207-276-9323 or via email at

The Mount Desert Island Historical Society has a Facebook page.