E: Strategic Alliances to Achieve Mission

Key strategic alliances broaden and deepen the Museum’s impact and enhance its capacity to achieve its mission.



• Maximize our membership in the International Coalition for the Sites of Conscience by deepening our bench strength in dialogue facilitation and piloting new programs

• Leverage our Smithsonian Affiliation status through collaborative projects with Affiliates and maximize the benefits

• Work together with tribal museums to share knowledge and experience on museum best practices

• Identify and assess the potential for other key partnerships on MDI and elsewhere in Maine to raise our profile


• Pursue National Park Service affiliation by demonstrating our content and training value to Acadia National Park leadership

• Identify a strategic opportunity with the National Museum of the American Indian

• Develop strategic partnerships on MDI and in Maine to build our outreach capacity


• Nurture and sustain established strategic partnerships


  • We are officially partnered with the International Coalition for the Sites of Conscience as we create MuseDI. They have an exceptional track record in creating methodologies and communities of practice to advise mission-related topics, e.g. immigration and incarceration. Since we became a member, we’ve talked with Coalition staff about potential partnerships based on mutual need; they have an increasing number of Native-related sites looking for new ways of working and we have a need to create a methodology and build a community. Through this community, very natural partnerships will emerge with other organizations.
  • During the life of this strategic plan, Acadia National Park, through task agreements, has been a steady partner, supporting projects and mutual goals. Initial conversations have started with our Congressional delegation about becoming an NPS Affiliate and Senators Collins and King are interested in the conversation developing.
  • In the formation of Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM), we relied heavily on information gathered through the Juried Show Art Consortium. Meeting approximately two times per year, representatives including the Heard, the Autry, the Eiteljorg, Cherokee and more gather to talk over show dynamics and practices. Their generosity informed our design process and we were included because “the more Native shows the better. It only helps artists as the marketplace grows.”
  • The staff team is interested in developing guidelines for partnership so that we are well matched to partners focused on inclusion strategies. Our exemplary partnership to date are the tribal communities/governments, MIBA, the Coalition, ANP, select museums (San Diego Museum of Man, Conner Prairie, and more), and the Smithsonian via the Smithsonian Affiliations program. To expand across Maine with our partnerships, it will take some strategic thinking and planning; the staff team hopes to focus more on this before summer 2019.

For many non-Western cultures, the concept of “museum” is counter-intuitive to their beliefs and perspectives. Museums are a Western European invention, temples erected to house and display objects of curiosity taken without consent from other cultures through conquest and colonization. Many of these items have been and continue to be displayed without thought or regard to their original cultural contexts and the people who created them. Museums have been very successful in dismantling these cultural contexts and displaying objects only for their aesthetic or historic value. The Museum Decolonization Institute…seeks to educate the museum community in the understanding of broader and more inclusive perspectives of interpretation and management of culturally sensitive collections. This approach includes engaging in dialogue and the cultivation of long-term relationships with communities that historically have not had the authority or opportunity to represent themselves and share their perspectives with respect to the interpretation of museum collection which they are affiliated… (MuseDI has the) potential to significantly and positively impact the museum profession. – James Pepper Henry, Kaw/Muscogee, Director of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum


When this goal is realized, the Abbe will be positioned as a thought leader and a model, and will develop partnerships to further decolonizing practices. The Abbe will be a seen as an effective, valued, and desirable partner.


〈 D: Historical and Contemporary Wabanaki CollectionF: Steward of All Entrusted Assets 〉