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The museum was built on Castine Harbor in 1921 by John Howard Wilson. It houses a unique collection of objects gleaned from Wilson's travels and from his interests in geology and prehistory. The Wilson Museum also includes a working reproduction of a blacksmith's shop; the Hearse House, containing the town's summer and winter horse-drawn hearses; and the John Perkins House, one of Castine's earliest homes, which is included on the National Register of Historic Places.