Inspiring Artistic Creativity & Respect of the Natural World

Opened in 1981, the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor is a community center that celebrates the life and work of Wendell Gilley, a pioneer in the field of decorative bird carving. It teaches the art of bird carving and presents art exhibitions and educational programs with a special focus on people, nature and art. The Museum endeavors to inspire appreciation of the visual arts, engagement in artistic creativity, and respect and care for the natural world.
If you are feeling inspired, consider joining their creative community–carving classes, programs for kids and members’ carving club. School and community groups are welcome to arrange programs and tours.
The Collection:
The Wendell Gilley Museum’s collection of bird carvings by its namesake includes pieces made between 1931 and 1983, from his first piece (a primitive miniature mallard drake) to a life-size king eider drake made especially for the Museum. The carver’s wife, Addie Gilley, created the core of the collection by diligently saving more than 100 works during a 50-year period. Her collection enabled the Museum to open in 1981 with excellent representations from all eras of her husband’s carving career. Many additional works have since been added to the collection, primarily through the generosity of private donors. Works on exhibit at the Museum are usually pieces from private lenders as well as selections from the collection.
The Museum Store:
Visit the Wendell Gilley Museum store for gifts, tools, toys and more. There are decoys and decorative bird carvings by a variety of artists ranging from exquisite miniatures to dramatic life-size sculptures. The shop carries hard-to-find items for beginners and experienced carvers including tools, blanks, patterns and starter kits. There are also field guides, books about birds and carving, music, bird song guides, and a large selection of intriguing and educational toys. Locally made jewelry and art are excellent gift choices for carvers, collectors and nature lovers – come in and browse.
For more information, please visit The Wendell Gilley Museum Website.
4 Herrick Road
Southwest Harbor, Maine 04679
June Hours:
Open from 10 am to 4 pm
Tuesday through Saturday
July and August Hours:
Open from 10 am to 5 pm
Tuesday through Saturday
September and October Hours:
Open 10 am to 4 pm
Tuesday through Saturday
November through Mid-December Hours:
Open from 10 am to 4 pm
Fridays and Saturdays and for programs
Winter and Early Spring Hours:
Open for programs, including carving club, classes, family activities, and events.
And always by appointment; call us at 207-244-7555.
Adults: $5.00
Children ages 5–12: $2.00
Museum members and children under 5 admitted free