May 2022: After temporarily closing our doors to the public in 2020, we have an official update regarding reopening. Some of this is good news, but some isn’t quite as good as we would have hoped.
We’ll start by sharing the sad news that the Maine State Aquarium will reopen in 2023, not 2022 as originally anticipated. When the new Education Division director started in Fall 2021, DMR began to prepare the building to reopen after two years of being closed due to the pandemic. Over the past few months, while designing new exhibits to highlight exciting DMR research, we discovered structural issues that need to be addressed. This is not surprising given that the building is nearly 30 years old. Before sharing this information publicly, we explored all our options to be completely sure that it was not possible to reopen this season. But it is time to officially announce that the needed work cannot be finished in time for guests to return to the aquarium during the 2022 season. Please know that this was a difficult decision to make for all involved, and that we cannot wait to welcome you back to a space that is safe for both our guests and staff.
Moving on from that disappointing news, let’s talk about some good news we can all get excited about. Even though the aquarium won’t be reopening quite yet, that doesn’t mean that DMR’s entire Education Division — which also includes the Burnt Island Lighthouse and the Gulf of Maine Learning Lab — will also remain closed. Quite the contrary, in fact. Burnt Island Lighthouse, fresh from its 200-year anniversary celebration, will be open this summer, as it has been previously. In addition, plans are moving forward to open the Gulf of Maine Learning Lab this summer as well. This interactive space will offer opportunities to explore the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and DMR science up close and personal. Overall, we will bring back summer experiences that have been longtime favorites, as well as harvest new ones!
Another silver lining (or pearl in the oyster if you will) is that we’re stepping up our digital presence this year. We understand how difficult it is to be unable to enjoy your favorite activities and want to do what we can to help bridge that gap as we continue the long road back to “normal.” In addition to opening Burnt Island and the Learning Lab with in-person experiences, we’ll be sharing more with you in real time on our social media channels -- which now include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. This will include frequent updates on the aquarium renovation process, fun facts about the new critters that will be calling MSA home, and behind-the-scenes tours with our scientists. Want more content? Tell us! This is also your opportunity to be a part of some pretty big changes. Keep an eye out for surveys and opportunities to help shape the future of our Boothbay Harbor gem.
Thank you for your understanding. We cannot begin to express our gratitude for the love and patience we’ve felt from this community over the years. Now let’s rebuild something great, together.