Maine Historical Society



K-16 Educational Programs - Middle and High School

On this page:   Wadsworth-Longfellow House Tour  | MHS Gallery Programs  | Longfellow Trail  | Literary Legacies  | Portland History Expedition  | Classroom Visits

Download Middle School program descriptions (PDF) complete with Maine Learning Results and Common Core State Standards alignments

Download High School program descriptions (PDF) complete with Maine Learning Results and Common Core State Standards alignments

Wadsworth-Longfellow House Tour


Available April-December; other visits available upon request as staffing allows.

Built in 1785-86 by Peleg and Elizabeth Wadsworth, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House is best known today as the childhood home of the celebrated American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Here in the midst of the bustling maritime city of Portland, Longfellow grew to adulthood and began the writing career that would bring him international renown by the middle of the nineteenth century.

Students are invited to explore the home on a guided tour and examine the connections between Longfellow's childhood, family life and city life in the mid-nineteenth century, and the poetry Longfellow created.

View Pre-visit lessons and activities


Available during the school year, September-May

For each changing exhibition in our museum gallery, MHS educators develop and facilitate interactive activities and explorations of the primary source documents, objects, and artwork that are on display. The focus and theme of each exhibit varies, but all exhibits relate to Maine studies and Maine history.

See current exhibitions.

For current curriculum details, contact the Manager of School and Interpretative Programs.

Wood you believe it? Paper Making in Maine

Pulpwood work, Eastern Manufacturing Co., Brewer, 1921

Pulpwood work, Eastern Manufacturing Co., Brewer, 1921

STEM meets social studies in this hands-on program that brings together the subjects of history, science, and technology with a fun and in-depth look at the Maine paper industry through an up-close examination of artifacts, the sharing of stories, and the craft of making paper. Museum educators guide students through an exploration of the history of paper making in Maine using materials from museum collections and the stories of those who have worked in the paper industry in Maine going back more than a century. This lesson also explores the science of making paper: What is paper made from? How is it done? What is the environmental impact? Students even get to make some recycled paper of their very own!

Availability starting October 1, 2017. Program offered at MHS or in the classroom; MHS can accommodate classes of 25 students or fewer for this program. Standard educational group rates apply, plus $15 supply fee.

* Ask about including a visit to our exhibit Making Paper, Making Maine (at MHS through 10/28/17) at no additional charge when you book your reservation! *

Longfellow Trail


Available during the school year, 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.

Pre-visit lessons and activities

Trail route map and directions

Maine Literary Legacies in partnership with Historic New England

Longfellow and Jewett

Available during the school year, September-June
Cost is $100/classroom
Recommended for grades 9-12

Explore America's historic and literary traditions through the works and lives of two of Maine's most beloved literary figures, Sarah Orne Jewett and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. What should we make of these writers today? Can their words and the preserved spaces they left behind help us discover the past and illuminate the present?

During this program, students meet with museum educators from both Maine Historical Society and Historic New England to discuss the work, lives, and times of Sarah Orne Jewett and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Educators from these organizations can visit your classroom or offer programming at their museums. Field trips to the respective sites allow students to immerse themselves in the physical space and material culture that shaped Longfellow and Jewett, and are encouraged.

Following these two visits, students are invited to write either a creative or an expository piece reflecting on the legacies of Jewett and Longfellow.

Download the full program description.

For more information, contact the Manager of School and Interpretive Programs.

Longfellow's City and Portland History Expedition
in partnership with Osher Map Library & Smith Center
for Cartographic Education

students on trail

Available during the school year, May-October
Cost is $3 per student, $3 per chaperone, no charge for teachers

Maine Historical Society now offers educational programming options in partnership with Osher Map Library & Smith Center for Cartographic Education!

Schools now have the option to pair Maine Historical Society's Wadsworth-Longfellow House Tour and Longfellow Trail programs with mapping programs at Osher Map Library. With Longfellow's City and the Portland History Expedition, teachers and students can harness the resources of not one, but TWO educational sites in Portland for an even richer, hands-on experience in history and geography that utilizes actual sites in the city as well as primary sources.

Download a full description of Longfellow's City and Portland History Expedition!

For more information or to schedule a Portland History Expedition for your school, contact the Manager of School and Interpretive Programs.

Classroom Visits

students working on historical papers

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.

student looking at documents

Longfellow, Poetry & Place

Available throughout the school year, September-June
$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.

Don't see what you're looking for? Do you have an idea or special request for a program? Contact the Manager of School and Interpretive Programs with your questions and inquiries at 207-774-1822 ext. 214, email