Rufus Porter Museum

Western Maine

This well-regarded museum in the center of town looks at the work of 19th-century Renaissance man Rufus Porter. Porter is recognized throughout New England for the landscape murals he painted inside hundreds of houses between 1825 and 1845. Also an inventor, he sold the concept of the revolving rifle to Samuel Colt in 1844, and created Scientific American magazine.

Visits start with a 15-minute video of Porter's life, followed by a 45-minute guided tour through the collections. You'll see prototypes or schematic drawings of some of his inventions, including the aerial locomotive (which works much like today's helium-filled airships), the rotary pump and the combined chair and cane. You'll also see some of Porter's paintings (note his 'signature' – a tiny silhouette of a man in a sailboat). There are also hands-on activities for kids.

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