Maine Historical Society



Current Exhibitions

Admission to gallery: Adults - $8.00; Students with ID, Seniors & AAA members - $7.00; Children 6-17: $3; 5 and under, free
Free for MHS members.

Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland

June 27, 2014 - May 2015

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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.


Pursuit of Liberty: The Search for Compromise in the Declaration of Independence

June 11 - August 2, 2015
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

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Independence did not happen overnight. The writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence was the result of debate, negotiation, and compromise. The writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence was the result of debate, negotiation, and compromise. This exhibition, curated by Tiffany Link, explores the backgrounds of individual signers of the Declaration, those both for and against, as shown through autographs from our Fogg Collection.

Treasures displayed will include the exquisite Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence, one of 26 in existence, and a rare Button Gwinnet signature--one of the most sought after in the world (and featured on RadioLab.)

Sponsored by Patriot Insurance.


Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy, 1215-2015

June 30 - July 12, 2015
Opening Reception: Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 5-7pm

Brown Library, 2nd Floor Reading Room

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In commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta, this traveling exhibition shares images of objects from Library of Congress collections that illustrate Magna Carta's influence throughout the centuries and explain the document's storied history. This exhibition is produced by the American Bar Association and Library of Congress, and is co-sponsored by Maine Secretary of State's Office and Maine State Archives. The opening reception is sponsored by Pierce Atwood.

To register for the opening reception, call 207-774-1822 ext. 216.

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