The Saco Museum/ The Dyer Library

371 Main St
Saco, ME 04072



Welcome to the Saco Museum

Current Exhibitions

June 30 through November 10, 2012
More than fifteen years of research and restoration have come to a show-stopping finale with a major exhibition and public programs focused on the Moving Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress. This summer marks the completion of a major grant-funded project to conserve this national treasure of 19th-century American art, which was thought lost for 100 years and rediscovered only in 1996.

Pictured: "They Behold the Fate of the Apostate," from The Moving Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress, 1851, created by Edward Harrison May (1824-1887) and Joseph Kyle (1815-1863), distemper on muslin, 8 x 800 feet, Saco Museum Collection. Photo by Matthew Hamilton, Williamstown Art Conservation Center.

THE BEAUTY OF DECLINE: Photographs of the "Way Way Store" by Anne E. Lemieux
June 23 through September 9, 2012
This special photography exhibition meditates on the passage of time and the fleetness of summer memories in the context of one very special place: the "Way Way Store," a landmark of north Saco since the 1920s. "The Beauty of Decline: Photographs of the Way Way Store by Anne E. Lemieux" captures the iconic general store and neighborhood meeting spot in a moment of picturesque decay, before it was restored and re-opened to the public in 2011.

Upcoming Exhibitions

250 Years of the First Parish Church
September 15 through November 10

In the fall of 1762, the Harvard-educated John Fairfield was ordained as minister of the First Parish Church in Pepperellborough, which later came to be known as Saco. With their own parish and their own minister, citizens no longer had to cross the river for Sunday services, an early crucial step in the founding of Saco. On view in this special historical exhibition will be several artifacts relating to Fairfield?including his writings and his famous red cloak?as well as items related to meaningful moments in the church's history, including the devastating fires of 1866 and 2000.

OLDEN TIMES AND ANCIENT RHYMES: 8th Annual Festival of Trees!
The Festival of Trees is a community event to benefit the programs of the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. Dozens of gorgeously decorated trees and wreaths will fill the Saco Museum, with lots of great programs and events focused on this year's theme, lyrics from Vince Guaraldi's classic holiday tune.

Want to volunteer? Decorate a tree? Be a sponsor? Donate an item for the raffle? Contact us at or (207) 283-3861, ext 115 and we will put you in touch with the right person.

"I MY NEEDLE PLY WITH SKILL": Maine Schoolgirl Needlework of the Federal Era
FREE public opening reception: Friday, January 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
January 12 through March 2, 2013
Join us for an in-depth look at the complex and lovely needlework created in Maine by schoolgirls of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. About 80 samplers and other embroideries will be on view, drawn from the collections of the Dyer Library/Saco Museum as well as other public and private collections in Maine and beyond.



A Brief History About the Dyer Library

Funded by a generous bequest from Olive Dyer in the name of her husband Oliver, the first home of the Dyer Library was created in the basement of Saco City Hall. A dirt floor was covered over in “hard pine”, a furnace was added, black walnut bookcases and tables were constructed, books, (many from other non-public library collections,) were moved in and Sarah W. Tucker was hired as the first librarian at a salary of $400 a year. The library opened for business in the spring of 1881

In 1893, the building just north of City Hall was constructed as the second home of the library. As originally designed by Horace G. Wadlin, the interior was largely one open space, divided visually by a broad wooden double arch. The front space was the reading room, which featured an oak common table and a large open fireplace. The rear space housed shelf stacks that could only be accessed by the librarian. Funds for construction of the building were provided by bequests from Mrs. John C. Bradbury and George E. Means, and philanthropist Cornelius Sweetser who left the Dyer Library a $10,000 maintenance fund.

After more than a half century in that building, the Dyer Library moved north in 1955 to the former home of board president Frank Cutter Deering, next to the York Institute. In 1974, a new wing was added adjacent to Deering’s huge flat-roofed parlor. This broad corridor and gallery connected to the carriage house, providing new offices, the Deering Room and Board Room and what is now the Reed's Children's Room, created with a bequest from former children’s librarian Lillian Reed.

In 1976, the Dyer Library and York Institute joined together as the Dyer Library Association. Later, the York Institute was renamed as the Saco Museum. In keeping with the idea that the museum and library are a single cultural institution serving the Saco Community, the Dyer Library Association is now referred to as Dyer Library/Saco Museum.


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