Hinckley Museum Houses A World Of Natural Science History 

It’s home to one of the most diverse collections of national history anywhere in the country and it’s located right here in central Maine.Tucked away on the campus of Good Will Hinckley is where you’ll find the L.C. Bates Museum, which survives on donations. It contains one of the largest collections of natural science treasures around.Where else would you find a blue marlin once caught by famous writer Ernest Hemmingway, a giant clam, a duck billed platypus and a 33 pound lobster claw all under one roof?It all began back in 1861 when then 8-year-old George Hinckley, the founder of Good Will Hinckley, was given three rocks by a neighbor to start his collection. “He felt like he had a museum and started collecting, and he kept collecting,” said museum director, Deborah Stabler. “He became an avid naturalist and was interested in science. Then, when he started the home, he asked other people to give him things for his museum and they did and it grew.”More than 2000 people, mostly Maine students, either came through the museum or participated in a museum program last year. “We do get a little less traffic with field trips because of the economy. Schools have limited their busing. So we’ve been doing more outreach programming,” Stabler said.Those who do come to the L.C. Bates see a world of natural science history, like one of the last caribou ever shot in Maine. It’s hard to believe on a day like this, but it’s no longer cold enough in Maine for Caribou. Staff at the L.C. Bates Museum also say alumni of the old Good Will Hinckley school will sometimes come calling looking to take a trip down memory lane. “There was a man who came in, he had no pictures of himself as a child. He had been here and he had been an orphan and he was just thrilled and crying when he could get pictures of himself when he was a child to show his family.”For more information on the L.C.Bates Museum visit their website: