The 300-acre Camp Muse at Shin Pond, Maine, is the site of a summer retreat program for writers, scholars, artists, educators and other cultural producers and knowledge workers focusing on animals and/or their humane treatment. The program, operated by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and made possible through the generosity of K. William Wiseman (1921-2014) and Madge Wiseman, invites interested parties to apply for use of the property, which is open from July 1 to early October each year.

Camp Muse, a wooded retreat at the edge of a pristine and peaceful pond just 10 miles from the northern entrance to Baxter State Park, offers an idyllic atmosphere for work involving research, contemplation and writing. The purpose of the program is to encourage scholarly, cultural and practical projects relating to animals and to provide a site for enhanced productivity on such projects.

Applications for use of Camp Muse are evaluated by an ad hoc committee representing a broad range of disciplines and interests.

There is no application form to submit, but the applicant must present:

  • A statement of interest that includes relevant information on the project they intend to pursue.
  • The specific work product that will be produced during the retreat period.
  • Details of the likely outcome or application of the work undertaken or product produced at the retreat.
  • Any applicable scheduling concerns or scheduling preferences.
  • Two professional references.

Applicants may be asked to submit copies of prior publications.

If approved, the applicant is expected to cover the costs of transportation to and from Camp Muse, local transportation while staying there, food, beverages, entertainment, recreational activities (including admission to nearby Baxter State Park), long-distance telephone services and all other costs connected with the applicant’s use of the property. The HSUS will pay for local telephone service, electrical utilities and routine maintenance.

Participants may take up to three household members (including spouses, significant others and children) with them. Please note that because the property is a Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust-protected wildlife sanctuary, companion animals require specific prior approval and applicants may not be permitted to bring them. In all events, approved cats will need to remain indoors and dogs must be leashed or under voice control at all times.

The house at Shin Pond has the amenities common to any comfortable vacation “camp” home, including all utilities and a full complement of furniture, kitchen ware and other household equipment.

There is a telephone line and high-speed internet access.

There is convenient food shopping at Shin Pond Village and the nearby town of Patten.

The broad guidelines for the kind of work appropriate to the retreat include:

  • Major intellectual projects such as a book or a chapter on an animal-related topic.
  • A case study or an online course in animal studies.
  • Analytical or conceptual work for a pro-animal or environmental campaign.
  • Artistic, literary or cultural projects that celebrate animals and the natural world.
  • Projects of smaller scope and/or shorter duration.

We prefer a commitment of two weeks. Requests for use of the property for shorter periods will be given lower priority. The property is not generally available for very brief stays, e.g., an overnight or weekend visit.

Applications should be sent to Dr. Bernard Unti at the Humane Society of the United States, by mail to 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20037, by fax to 301-258-3077 or by email.

Applications will be received on an ongoing basis beginning in March of every year.