join donate
s home visit exhibits and events collection get involved education musuem store links and resources contact trustees s
Wendell Gilley Museum
s about history hours and admission calendar subscribe   s



The Wendell Gilley Museum 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 our creative communitycarving classes, programs for kids, and members’ carving club continue into spring. And if you can’t fly in, follow the flock on Facebook. School and community groups are welcome to arrange programs and tours.




Free & open to the public.

Food, drink, music and great art.

Holiday Shopping

Take advantage of work by talented local artists to find a unique holiday gift

Museum open Friday & Saturday through December 15 (and by appointment).



Main Gallery space, May 12, 2019 - October 14, 2019

Harold Haertel was a carver from Dundee, Illinois who was born the same year as Wendell Gilley. Harold and Wendell worked in the same world of bird carving but despite many similarities in their background and work, their carvings are very different. In 2019, we will tell a story in our museum about bird carving that explores the lives and work of these two extremely talented carvers. Museum member, and carver, Paul Heartel will curate this exhibition with the help of museum carver Steven Valleau. This exhibition is possible thanks to the generosity of Tom Haertel - Harold's son, and a carver himself. Pictured: Harold Haertel Poster by B. Mattison.




Fall Programs


Get ready to spread your wings and join us for a flock of exciting Fall programs! 

There's nothing quite like letting your mind get creative while you hands create some art. Why not try your hand at one of the Gilley's engaging workshops? For families and individuals alike, our programs encourage creativity and a spirit of discovery.


October through May is the Creative Season

The wait is over! We have set the schedule for our Fall Carving Class and Carving Club

Carving club begins Friday, October 25 from 1-4pm, and runs every Friday afternoon through April - free for Members.

Our Fall Carving Class this year is seven weeks long, beginning Saturday, October 26 from 1-4. Join our master carver Steven Valleau and our community of carvers to work on a Western Grebe. Your masterpiece will be shown in our December 15 Holiday open house and carving show. Cost is $85 / $75 for members.

The fall holds many opportunities for expressing your creativity including woodburning, felting and painting workshops and our popular one-day ornament carving class and printmaking workshop. See our NEWS column to the right for details of all of our programs and check back frequently to stay up to date as new programs are added. Also see for details of events.

Advance registration for all programs highly recommended at (207)244-7555 or





Work on the digital archive is in progress! We currently have 89 items on public view and nearly a 100 more we're still working on behind the scenes - stay tuned and see more of Wendell's carvings online soon!

We'd like to thank software architect and consultant George Soules for setting us up and providing technical guidance and support - we're honored to be joining the network of local cultural institutions who share this same digital archive platform! If you'd like to learn more about this great resource, just get in touch.

Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, this is a crucial project for the museum which will make our collections accessible and inspiring to more people. It will take several years and many resources to complete. If you'd like to be involved with this project or to be a sponsor, contact us at or 207 244-7555. 


A Flight of Swallows - THANK YOU SPONSORS

A huge thank you to all of our A Flight of Swallows sponsors. 2019 was our best year yet. A Flight of Swallows is a benefit for the Wendell Gilley Museum, with all proceeds supporting the rich programs and special exhibitions of the museum. The event is a wonderful evening of fine wines (over 50 Italian wines on offer this year) and great food and conversation. Keep an eye on our website for details of next year's A Flight of Swallows - we hope to see you there!



We welcome donations in support of our programs and exhibiitons year-round. Give online to the Wendell Gilley Museum, or contact us about volunteer opportunities. Donations and memberships are tax deductible.



THANK YOU Treasures of the Farnsworth SPONSORS:

     Lead sponsors:

     Barbara and Steven Rockefeller

     Antoinette and Ben Brewster

     Carol and Dick Habermann

     Maine Community Foundation


     Dawson Bradford Real Estate and Insurance

     Elaine and Olle Haggstrom

     Eleanor and Leigh Hoagland

     Lydia Kimball

     Jack Ledbetter

     Martie and Ed Samek

     Charles V. Stanhope

     Diane and Tad Templeton

     Robin and Paul Vermylen

     Bar Harbor Bank and Trust

     Media Sponsor:

     Maine Magazine






Open Friday and Saturday

10 - 4

Through December 15

Member's Carving Club Fridays 1-4pm (except holiday weeks)




Holiday Card Print Making Class

Tuesday, November 12, 5-8pm.

Join us to create your own 1 or 2 color wood block style prints. We'll use Softcarve blocks, and all tools and blank note cards will be provided to print your own cards. Beginners welcome. Cost is $15 for members/$20 for non-members.

Advance registration required.

One-day Bird Ornament Carving Class

Sunday, November 24, 10am - 4pm.

We'll be carving a Boreal Chickadee ornament - in one day! All materials provided, and all skill levels welcome. Space is limited, so register soon. Cost is $25 Members/ $35 non-members.

Holiday Open House and Carving Show

Fall, winter and spring you'll find many workshops and Family programs around nature and creative arts such as woodburning, felting and painting.


Spring Open House & Carving Show


Student artists holding their Arctic Tern Silhouettes during the Spring Open House



Advance registration required for many events, please contact us at 207 244 7555 or


Stay up to date

on all of our great projects and events!

Follow us at





Home | Visit | Exhibits & Events | Collection | Get Involved | Education | Museum Store | Links & Resources | Contact | Trustees
Wendell Gilley Museum, 4 Herrick Road, Southwest Harbor, Maine site map credits
Follow the Gilley on twitter facebook crowdrise   volunteer donate


join donate