Maine Historical Society



Maine Historical Society Museum

On this page:   Current Exhibitions  | Collections  | Research  | Donating Historical Items

The MHS Museum features changing exhibitions and programs spanning more than five centuries of Maine life. Drawing from the extensive collections of the Maine Historical Society, original exhibits feature art, artifacts, and documents that vividly bring Maine history to life.

Below you will find information about our current exhibitions, but many of our past exhibitions live on in our Past Exhibits section. We hope you can visit our museum in person. Members receive free admission.

Current Exhibitions

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Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland

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. It's a fascinating new way to look at the House, its relationship to the community, and Portland history. Read More.


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Early Maine Photography, 1840-1870
September 25, 2015 - January 16, 2016
MHS Brown Library

Within the short span of a quarter century, photography became an integral part of life in Maine. Between 1840 and 1870, photography in its various forms recorded the appearance of individual Mainers as well as Maine itself. A host of pioneer photographers left us a precious visual legacy of Maine people and places which so enriches our understanding of the state’s past. To celebrate the technological and artistic achievement of photography, and to better understand its impact on Maine, we are opening the Early Maine Photography, 1840-1870 exhibition. Read More


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Baskets from the Dawnland: Weaving the past and future together
August 14 - November 28, 2015
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

Our exhibition--Baskets from the Dawnland: Weaving the past and future together--explores the rich history of the baskets made by Wabanaki people, a tradition that has thrived for thousands of years. Read More


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Imbued with Hues
December 4, 2015 - February 27, 2016
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

Portland artist Patty Allison brings historical images to life by colorizing them, showing the Maine of our past in the full color in which it was originally experienced. This exhibition features colorized images from the Maine Historical Society collection. Read More


Explore Past Exhibits.


Museum Collections

The Museum's diverse collection of over 15,000 artifacts includes paintings, prints, and other original works of art, clothing and textiles, decorative arts, Native American artifacts and archaeological material, toys, tools, glass and ceramics, political memorabilia, militaria, and industrial and domestic artifacts that illustrate life in Maine.

Search the collections database to see our museum objects, photographs, autograph letters, some architectural drawings, and newspapers. This is a work in progress; please contact MHS collections staff at for the most complete and accurate research.


Museum Collections

Research access to the museum collections is available by appointment.

Contact the Curator at (207) 774–1822 x224 for more information.

Donating Historical Items

If you are considering donating historic material to the Maine Historical Society museum or library, please read our donation guidelines, and review the MHS Collections Management Policy.