The Friends of Peary's Eagle Island
Eagle Island belongs to all of us as a living memorial to Admiral Robert E. Peary, the first to lead a party of explorers to the North Pole. The Island was given to the citizens of Maine by the Peary family in trust for all Americans. The Maine Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks & Lands, acts as a trustee in partnership with the Friends of Peary's Eagle Island.
The Friends goal is to help preserve and protect this national treasure. We believe that the Admiral and all his family would be pleased that each summer hundreds of visitors "from away" come to enjoy this beautiful island, which was a supreme joy to those who made their home there for so many years. This Island home is a national symbol of the persistence, endurance, and achievement, in the face of overwhelming odds, of Admiral Peary. His personal motto was --"Inveniam viam aut faciam" -- Find a way or make one.
The Friends was established in 1992 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all volunteer organization. The group works closely with the Bureau of Parks and Lands to identify and support the efforts to maintain and preserve the main house, caretaker's cottage, as well as the 17 acre island they rest on. The Bureau of Parks and Lands has done an outstanding job maintaining the Admiral's house, replacing the roof and siding with cedar shingles, rebuilding all the windows, and resealing the deck which surrounds the building.
In the past few years the Friends has sponsored several important projects: the first was replacing the old outhouse with a modern, environmentally safe composting toilet; the second was providing a fire suppression / intrusion alarm system for the main house; and third we helped build a new Welcome Center designed from plans generated by copying Robert Peary Jr.'s original workshop located on the west side of Eagle Island. Money for these latter projects was raised from generous gifts of our members and from grants by charitable foundations as well as the State of Maine. Earlier the Bureau of Parks and Lands, supported by a grant from the National Geographic Society, totally restored the Admiral's unique library located in the west "bastion" structure. The Friends has worked with the State of Maine to maintain the museum and its surroundings and continues to be a partner in all efforts to keep this important piece of history alive and open to the public.
We have been most fortunate to have recruited volunteers to do ongoing studies of the birds on Eagle Island, the marine life in the surrounding waters, and the island ecology including restoration of Josephine Peary's lovely island garden.
The Friends of Peary's Eagle Island maintains this website as a device for all who visit to find information about Eagle Island, Admiral Peary and his family, the exploration and discovery of The North Pole, as well as being a research tool for those who want to know more about this amazing man and all he accomplished.
Before and after photos of the restoration of the porthole windows in the foundation of the house on Eagle Island. Work done by The Friends
The Friends are fortunate to have a group of expert volunteeer gardeners who maintain the gardens and plant flowers every year on Eagle Island.
Every year the museum is closed up after the summer season. Our security system is state of the art and will alert us of any problem that might exist.