Preble-Marr Historical Museum

The handicap-accessible museum is on the first floor of Cranberry House, about ¼ mile down the main road from the Great Cranberry Island town dock.

Island Life

In the museum you will learn the unique aspects of life on an island.  In years past the mostly self-sufficient islanders had to supply their own needs and wants.  Many were captains with their own vessels.  They made their living by transport, moving anything from one place to another by sea.  Of course there were also merchants, carpenters, woodsmen, and housewives.  This is their story too.

Our museum is casual, not stuffy.  The host or hostess, an islander themselves, will tell you anything you care to ask about current-day island living.

The museum is in one large room on the first floor of Cranberry House.  Hand-painted permanent display panels grace the walls, with artifacts tastefully arranged in alcoves.

You will find an eclectic assortment of items, most displayed in groups with a common theme: quilts, Indian sweetgrass baskets, braided rugs, antique household items, old photos and marriage certificates, a shark harpoon, duck decoys, lobster buoys, ship models, farming tools, old bottles and electrical insulators, shipwright's tools, shipwreck remains, and even the original rusticator's sitz bath, complete with personalized towel.

Rachel Field and Hitty

Rachel Field (1894-1942), a summer resident of the Cranberry Isles, wrote her popular Newbery award-winning children's book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, while staying at her house on nearby Sutton Island.  But the first chapters of Hitty are clearly set on Great Cranberry Island.  We did have a Preble family living here, and their house is just as described in the book.  So we claim that Great Cranberry Island is Hitty's Home.

Many people still read and love Hitty and collect replica Hitty dolls and accessories.  Be sure to visit our Hitty City, a wonderful display of Hittys and accessories donated by generous doll makers and owners, featuring BIG Hitty.  We also have a complete collection of Rachel Field's books, poems, and articles.

Annual Exhibits

One corner is devoted to an exhibit which changes each year:

Year Theme Mounted by
2015 The Agricultural Heritage of the Cranberry Isles Jessi Duma, Island Institute Fellow;
Design by Jill Piekut
180-year-old Concealed Shoes and Cape Houses on GCI
See Down East Magazine, April 2015
Anne Grulich
Stanley Cemetery Preservation Anne Grulich
Images on Glass, Iron, and Paper: 19th Century
Photographs from the GCIHS collection
Anne Grulich
2014 180-year-old Shoes and Cape-style Houses Anne Grulich, Design by Wini Smart
Images on Glass, Iron, and Paper Anne Grulich, Design by Wini Smart
2013 GCI Preble House Virtual Exhibit on the Maine Memory Network Anne Grulich
Three Heroines of Great Cranberry Island
The Maine Sea Coast Mission
Wini Smart
2012 Baker Island Wini Smart
2011 The Prebles & Sammy Sanford
An Original Church Pew
Wini Smart
2010 History of the Cranberry Islands Wini Smart
2009 Vessels and Shipbuilding Wini Smart
2008 Enterprising Islanders Wini Smart
The following exhibits were in the original temporary museum
in the Longfellow Schoolhouse.
2007 The Prebles of GCI Wini Smart
2006 The Circle of Life: Birth, Marriage, Death Susan Shoemaker
2005 The Sea Around Us Wini Smart
2004 Winter: Work and Play Wini Smart
2003 Home Sweet Home Wini Smart
2002 Quilts Wini Smart
2001 Wedding Trousseau Wini Smart
2000 (opening year)  


The museum has a large screen TV.  Ask to see:


The original museum was opened August 6, 2000 in leased quarters in the Longfellow School.  It was re-opened June 15, 2008 in Cranberry House, its permanent home.