Did you know that we have our very own state museum here in Maine?

Yup - It's called the Maine State Museum, and it's located right next to the capitol complex (the Maine State House) in Augusta.

Not only do they have really cool exhibits for all ages about Maine's history, but they've also got another popular item on display that's literally from out of this world.

The moon rock housed at the museum is from the Apollo 17 mission, collected by astronaut Jack Schmitt on the lunar surface. Maine’s moon rock is one of many fragments cut from rock sample 70017, which was recovered near the Taurus-Littrow lunar landing site.

As a goodwill gesture, in 1973 President Richard Nixon presented moon rocks from sample 70017 to 135 nations and each of the 50 U.S. states. Governor Kenneth Curtis received Maine’s moon rock, encased in an acrylic globe and mounted on a walnut plaque. Also included was a small Maine State flag that was carried to the Moon during the Apollo 17 mission.

Here are some of the other displays you can see when you visit:

Visit Back to Nature for a stunning walk through Maine’s seasons and environments, each filled with animals, birds, and plants. Stop at Maine Gems to get a look at beautiful mineral specimens exhibited in both their original and faceted forms.

Cabinet of Curiosities shows that natural science specimens were the first collections exhibited when the Maine State Museum began in the 1830s.

Maine Bounty: The People and Resources that Shaped Maine greets visitors with the Lion, its signature 1846 steam locomotive.

Made in Maine, an award-winning exhibition, features a working three-story water-powered woodworking mill. Historical settings, such as a sewing room, blacksmith shop, wool carding mill, and shops for making furniture, shoes, and fishing rods reveal stories of Maine people at work and the amazing variety of products they created.

Struggle for Identity takes visitors back to clashes among French, English, and Native Americans for lands and resources in what is now Maine.

12,000 Years in Maine takes visitors back to the retreat of the last glacier and Clovis or Paleo-Indian culture. The extensive and richly-detailed exhibit shows stone tools and weapons, animal bones, and clay pottery fragments that illuminate what archaeologists have learned about Native American people living in Maine for millennia before Europeans arrived in the 1500s.

The Maine State Museum is open Tuesday-Friday 9am-5pm and on Saturdays from 10am-4pm. Check them out online here.

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