Maine Historical Society



Current Exhibitions

Admission to gallery: Adults - $8.00; Students with ID, Seniors & AAA members - $7.00; Children 5–17 - $2.00, under 6 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.


Wholesome Habitations: Architectural Collections of the Maine Historical Society

Exhibition opens October 3rd

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Wholesome Habitations showcases the architectural collections of the Brown Library at Maine Historical Society. The selection includes a sampling from various architectural collections including John Calvin Stevens, the Coombs Bros., Gibbs & Pulsifer, Eaton Tarbell, John Thomas, and Frederick Tompson. On display are various forms of architectural drawings and supplemental items, such as presentation drawings, elevations, floor plans, decorative elements, and photographs.

This show can be viewed in the Shettleworth Lecture Hall at MHS, and was curated by Jamie Kingman Rice, Director of Library Services, and Theodore Oldham.

Sponsorship for this exhibition has been provided by:
SMRT Architects     Scott Simons Architects

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War

November 12 – December 20, 2014

Lincoln exhibition logo

© Alusiv Inc.

The Brown Library at MHS will host the traveling exhibition Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War. This exhibition tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln was confronted with enormous challenges when he was elected president in 1860. The nation was on the brink of Civil War, and Lincoln struggled with issues of secession, slavery and civil liberties—all questions our country's founding charter left unanswered. President Lincoln used the Constitution to confront these three intertwined crises of war, ultimately reinventing the Constitution and the promise of American life. This exhibition develops a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation's gravest constitutional crisis.

This exhibition is on view in the second floor reading room of the Brown Library at MHS, and is open to visitors free of charge on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am - 4pm.

Related programs take place in our Shettleworth Lecture Hall on November 14, November 18, and December 2. Please visit our Programs & Events page for details.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War is being co-sponsored by Maine Irish Heritage Center, and was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

Maine Irish Heritage Center     National Endowment for the Humanties

American Library Association     National Constitution Center