Current School Programs
To help offset the cost of transportation, Maine Historical Society is now offering bus subsidy grants to qualifying school groups. Find out more.
Each program lasts one hour and costs $2/student. Programs may be combined. The cost for any two programs is $3/student. Some schools may wish to extend their field trip by adding a third program at a total cost of $5/student.
Generous support for MHS Education programs has been provided by: Edward H. Daveis Benevolent Fund, The Robert and Dorothy Goldberg Charitable Foundation, Horizon Foundation, Mattina R. Proctor Foundation, Morton-Kelley Foundation, People's United Community Foundation, and Prouts Neck Association Community Grant Program.
Available September – June
For each changing exhibit in our museum gallery, MHS educators develop and facilitate interactive activities and explorations of the primary source documents, objects, and artworks that are on display. The focus and theme of each exhibit varies, but all exhibits relate to Maine studies and Maine history. Call (207) 774-1822 x212 for details about the current exhibit program.
Local History/Local Schools
Since 2005, Maine Historical Society and 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms from Portland, South Portland, and Scarborough Public Schools have worked together on in-depth units of study for our Local History/Local Schools program. This partnership program, based on the current museum exhibit, involves in-classroom visits from MHS educators as well as a trip to the museum; research and art-making; and a family celebration displaying student work in the museum at the project's culmination. For more information about this year's Local History/Local Schools program, please contact Bridget McCormick at (207) 774-1822 x212.
Wadsworth–Longfellow House Tour
Available April – December
In 1807 eight–month–old Henry Wadsworth Longfellow moved into the large brick house built by his grandfather on Congress Street. Here he grew to adulthood, one of a large family of eight children, and began the writing career that would bring him national renown by the middle of the century.
Students are invited to tour Longfellow's boyhood home to explore the connections between Longfellow's childhood, family life in the mid–nineteenth century and the poetry Longfellow created. In December, the house is decorated for Christmas and special holiday tours are available.
New Program for Younger Students! Recommended for first and second grade students.
Available Year Round
The poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow have been inspiring artists since they were written. In this program, students will watch short videos of Hiawatha and "Paul Revere's Ride," and an educator will read to them from "The Children's Hour." We will discuss the different styles of illustrations used by each artist, and how those styles fit the mood of the poems. Finally, students will do their own illustration of a scene from Longfellow to take home.
The Longfellow Trail: An Urban Expedition
Available May — October
Discover the city that Longfellow knew on this guided expedition through downtown Portland. Using maps and old photographs copied from the archives of the Maine Historical Society, and Longfellow's poems about his native city, students will search for the buildings and streets that existed in the nineteenth–century city familiar to the poet.
In the process students will learn about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, life in the nineteenth century, and the layers of the past that still exist in Portland's changing urban landscape.
An Introduction to Community History
Available year round
Free of charge
A Maine Historical Society educator travels to your school to introduce teachers and/or students to the Maine Memory Network, our statewide digital museum. Sessions include a hands–on demonstration of the website and discussion of opportunities for your students to explore the history of your community.
These sessions last about 45 minutes and should be held in a computer lab or classroom with Internet access. We are flexible and can schedule demonstrations during class periods, department meetings, in–service days or after school.
Longfellow, Poetry & Place
Available Year Round
$60 per session. Additional sessions may be added to the visit for $45.
A Maine Historical Society educator brings this outreach program to your classroom. In this hour and a half long session, students explore the life and poetry of the renowned nineteenth–century poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Students discuss the influences of Maine, history, and place on Longfellow's poetry during an interactive slide show presentation. In the poetry workshop that follows students have the opportunity to write their own place–based poems. Available year round to schools within 60 miles of Portland.
Maine Memory Network
Maine Memory Network is a free statewide digital museum developed by the Maine Historical Society to provide unprecedented access to primary source materials held by historical societies, museums, and libraries throughout Maine.
There are currently more than 35,000 items in the Network's constantly growing online database contributed by over 260 organizations around Maine. These include digital versions of letters, journals, and government records (all fully transcribed); photographs, paintings, maps, and other visual items; and clothing, tools, archaeological artifacts, and other objects. Maine Memory also hosts over 60 online exhibits and a timeline of selected events in Maine history.
We offer free classroom training for students and teachers. You can use the Maine Memory Network to:
- Teach Maine Studies, U.S. history, social studies, and many other subjects.
- Find, save, and use primary source documents of local, state, and national significance.
- Create online exhibits, lesson plans, and interactive classroom activities.
- Develop partnerships and projects with historical organizations in your community.
Finding Katahdin Teacher's Guide
Finding Katahdin: An Exploration of Maine's Past, (University of Maine Press, 2001) is a comprehensive study of Maine's history for grades 7–12. The Finding Katahdin Teacher's Guide is available to complement the text book and provides lesson plans, primary sources, and activities.
Students, teachers and researchers can find more information about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at www.hwlongfellow.org. The site, which is intended to be a comprehensive collection of Longfellow–related information, grew out of "The Longfellow Institute," a program for teachers made possible through a partnership with the Maine Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and led by scholar Charles Calhoun, author of the recently published biography, Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life (Beacon Press, 2004).
For more information
To schedule a visit, go to Plan a Visit, or call the Maine Historical Society at (207) 774–1822 x205.