Seal Cove Auto Museum

On Mount Desert Island in Maine in Seal Cove, located on the ‘quiet side’ of the island is the beautiful and unique Seal Cove Auto Museum. Featuring cars from the Brass Era of 1895 to 1917, this museum was born out of the personal collection of Richard Paine.


While vacationing on the island, I had the unique opportunity to fully photograph the museum collection on display. Spending over ten hours quietly appreciating and discovering the beauty of each car was truly special.

While photographing I noticed a small boy running around the museum counting: 47..48..49…no 50! 50 Cars are in here Mom! I had no idea what a large undertaking this photo project was to be. But it was well worth it.


It was hard to pick a favorite but this one caught my fancy. A beautiful chocolate brown elite car with brass finishes. The lady of the car would sit in the back and call on a phone to the driver with instructions as to where to go. How I would love to say “Home James!”


The details on these works of arts were truly stunning. From the wheels to the lights, each car was truly unique from the next.

The portfolio ended up having nearly 300 images that hopefully will be used in the future for museum publications and marketing. If you’re ever on Mount Desert Island, this museum is certainly a ‘must see.’


17 replies »

  1. The details put into the cars, It’s beyond amazing, you can see how much passion they had back in the day as they designed them. Hard to imagine, that there was a time when you had to crank up the engine to make it turn 🙂

  2. Amazing to see such a large collection of cars from that era! Still more like carriages than cars—the evolution is plain to see, and fascinating… Thanks for the heads-up!

  3. I imagine that shooting in the museum was quite challenging, not only because of the number of cars, but because of the lighting and reflections. These photos are excellent, I’ll bet the people at the museum were very pleased with your photos!

    I love those old cars that were built one at a time by hand, but I doubt if any of us would care to wait weeks for replacement parts to be crafted and fitted. 😉

    • Only you would recognize the challenges presented in this museum. The mixed lighting was really tough with the white balance and the cars were up against each other.

      I’m hoping that they like them and honestly still have a little bit of work to do. These cars were so unique and true works of art. Each one is in working order though. Isn’t that amazing?

  4. My grandfather had a few ‘ooo-ga’cars, named for the sound of the horn. We loved rising around in them. He loved going to the gas stations and watching the attendant try to figure out where to put the gas.

  5. Great unexpected work Emily, the close-ups / angles are fantastic – I’m betting the museum is thrilled. And all by chance – just doesn’t get any better. Congratulations on such a beautiful portfolio.

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