Maine Historical Society



Current Exhibits

Adults: $8.00; Students with ID, Seniors & AAA members: $7.00; Children 5–17: $2.00
Free for MHS members.

Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland

Exhibition opens June 27

image of exhibit banner

Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland uses the Wadsworth-Longfellow House as a prism to explore how Portland has grown and changed over more than 230 years. When Peleg Wadsworth built the House on Back Street in 1785, it was on the rural outskirts of Portland. By the early 1800s, the House was at the center of a bustling, modern New England city. Since then, Portland has boomed, burned, boomed again, busted, and reemerged as a vibrant, forward-looking city. Through it all, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House has been a constant, and witness to the life of an emerging community.

The exhibition will feature family belongings that tell the personal and yet universal story of how people live in their homes—including ways of heating, cooking, and plumbing—and how those functions evolved within Portland. The stories of the Wadsworth and Longfellow families and an ever-changing cast of neighbors on their block—families, hotels, businesses, tenements, etc.—help explain how Portland has become the beloved, livable city we know today.

With gratitude to our sponsors:

Your Home, Past & Present
Participate in our exhibition and share your images with us!

We are interested in seeing what your home looked like in the past and how it appears today. Submit your images and we’ll install them in our exhibition Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland and share them online. We welcome images from all towns and all states. Your childhood home, the residences of friends and family members, or intriguing houses in your area are all acceptable.

Details and submission instructions are on on our blog.


A Snapshot of Portland, 1924: The Taxman Cometh

Exhibition opens June 27

John Nichols, Lewiston, ca. 1880
701 Forest Avenue, Portland in 1924

A Snapshot of Portland celebrates the informal photographs taken by the tax assessor of every taxable building in Portland in 1924. These unique images were recently added to the Maine Memory Network, making them easily accessible to the public. The exhibition highlights a selection of these fascinating snapshots of Portland life—from its first "skyscrapers" to tenements, pool halls, and farms.

This show can be viewed in the Shettleworth Lecture Hall at MHS, and was curated by William D. Barry, Reference Historian.

With gratitude to our sponsor: Portland Magazine