Entrepreneur Michael Mullins of Rockland announced Sept. 21 he purchased a property on Rankin Street that he will develop into the Maine Museum of Industry.

Mullins announced the move in a news release and news conference Monday morning.

The museum will be located at 25 Rankin St. which most recently was the Rockland Antiques Marketplace and earlier was Matthews windows, and before that Miller's Garage.

Mullins acquired the property Thursday, Sept. 17, from Edward Miller for $165,000. The building has been vacant since August.

The selection of the property follows one year of research and consideration of multiple locations for the new museum, Mullins said.

The museum will include exhibits on major industries that have shaped Maine’s towns, cities and rural landscape, he said. A welcome center to be constructed in 2020 to be followed by professionally designed exhibits.

The exhibits will carry visitors from the first industries of Maine to those of the present, in chronological order, beginning with trading and manufactures of Native American peoples; trapping and commercial fishing by European settlers; cobblestones and granite; the timber industry, farming (hay, blueberries and staples), and later on shipbuilding and ocean transportation, ground transportation, the lime industry, the ice industry and textiles; all the way up to the paper industry, tourism, artwork and modern industries like aquaculture (e.g. oysters, salmon and seaweed) and renewable energy.

The Museum’s exhibits will be built out over a period of five years in collaboration with Maine-based companies and in partnership with local historic societies and private museums.

Mullins said a key feature of the museum will be a room on the lime industry, with artifacts from the Rockland & Rockport Lime Company donated by David Hoch, former president of R&R, as it is known.

The 25 Rankin St. building is in a state of modest disrepair, Mullins said, and has a history of environmental contamination, including two prior actions by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Mullins pointed out he has a background in historic preservation and intends to have the building added to the National Register of Historic Places, then conduct a complete historic rehabilitation to National Park Service Standards, utilizing both the Federal Historic Tax Credit and the Maine Historic Tax Credit.

Together, these two sources can provide funding for up to 45% of qualifying rehabilitation costs.

The renovation, including time for architectural study and applications for federal and state funding is expected to take two years. In the meantime, the building will be kept in operation and be leased to multiple tenants, including the museum’s welcome center.

The renovations are expected to cost between $500,000 and $750,000 and will include cleanup of any environmental conditions.

“I’m passionate about history and historic preservation, and this is a very exciting moment. There aren’t many surviving industrial buildings made of wood from the 1920s or earlier, and to be able to house a museum of industry in such a building is a special opportunity," he said.

He said Maine’s state historic tax credit program is one of the most progressive in the country and a wonderful resource to preserve buildings like Miller’s Garage.

"Without it, many landmark historic buildings would be lost. My grandfather was a hunting and fishing guide, and also a mason. My great grandfather ran a timber camp in the north woods, where my grandmother Evelyn Soucy worked as a clerk. This is very much a personal mission to preserve the story of Maine’s industrial history that my family has played a part in.

"People sometimes think of industry as something that happens ‘somewhere else’ in a factory. However, the landscape of Maine, from the islands to the quarries, and from the logging camps to the paper mills was very much shaped by the generations of industries, and will be shaped further by new industries to come. It is my hope that this museum will provide an interesting learning opportunity for children and adults alike to understand how Maine’s past has shaped present and future,” he concluded.

Mullins said the property will be taxable.

Mullins is a resident of Rockland. He is the owner and manager of Cranesport Garage, a business incubator in Camden. In 2015, Mullins purchased and restored the former Crockett's Quarry across Maverick Street from the Rockland Golf Club.

In 2017, he gained local publicity for a proposal to buy and convert the MET building in Camden into a maker space, a shared multidisciplinary workshop with programming for adults and children. Mullins is on the Board of Directors of Mullins Management, a Boston based developer engaged in mixed income housing and historic preservation.

He is the Republican candidate for the Maine Legislature for House District 93 that represents Rockland and Owls Head.