Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

Upcoming Programs & Events at the Maine Historical Society

Events on this page: September | October | Ongoing & Family Programs | Annual Trip | Exhibits | Registration | Podcasts

As of May 1, most public programs will carry a ticket price for non-MHS members. MHS members receive free or discounted admission. Fees are listed in the program description. Programs take place at our facilities at 489 Congress Street in Portland, unless otherwise noted.

If you have questions about any of the programs listed below, please contact Larissa Vigue Picard, Director of Education & Interpretation, at (207) 774-1822 x215.

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September Programs

Tuesday, September 2, 12:00 pm

The Night the Sky Turned Red: The Story of the Great Portland, Maine, Fire of July 4, 1866, as Told by Those Who Lived Through It

Great Fire of Portland from Eastern Cemetery, 1866. MMN #16982.

Great Fire of Portland from Eastern Cemetery, 1866. MMN #16982.

Speaker: Allan M. Levinsky

This program relates to the 2014-2015 museum exhibit, "Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland."

Longtime Maine Historical Society Visitor Service Coordinator Allan Levinsky is also an accomplished historian with several books under his belt. In this book talk, he will share the first-person stories and dramatic events surrounding the infamous Portland fire of 1866. Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members (pay at the door).

Wednesday, September 3, 12:00 pm

Intro to MHS: Library Tour

Intro to MHS: Library Tour

Tour Guide: Nicholas Noyes, Curator of Library Collections

This 45-minute tour of the Brown Library, fully renovated in 2009, takes participants throughout the library's reading rooms and behind-the-scenes into the archive, normally closed to the public. Nicholas Noyes covers the history of the building, architectural details, the basics of doing research in the library, and even shares a few treasures from the collection.

(Monthly on the first Wednesday at 12PM in Jan, March, May, July, Sept, Nov.; free; limited to 10. Sign up in advance by sending an email to nnoyes@mainehistory.org or call 774-1822 x207.)

Thursday, September 4, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

In partnership with Maine Audubon
Pigeons, Puffins & Plovers: A Story of Extinction & Survival

Martha, the last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914.

Martha, the last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914.

LOCATION: Maine Audubon, Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth

September 1, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of “Martha,” the last surviving Passenger Pigeon. The Passenger Pigeon’s population in 1814 was estimated to be 3.5 billion. There are countless first-person stories about skies turning black with pigeons in the nineteenth century. Why did such an abundant species go extinct in less than one hundred years?

Learn about the fate of the Passenger Pigeon and other extinct birds of recent years, as well as successful comeback stories like the Atlantic Puffin and Bald Eagle. What are our endangered species today? Learn what actions you can take to ensure that our wildlife species are here for generations to come, and see a Passenger Pigeon mount from Maine Audubon’s collections. Attendees receive a Passenger Pigeon origami to fold.

Free for members of Maine Audubon and Maine Historical Society. $5 general admission. Cash bar and light food.

Thursday, September 4, 5:30 pm

A Special Evening with Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

A Special Evening with Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

**THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT.**

Maine Historical Society and its host committee cordially invite you to a Special Evening with Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. The granddaughter of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna will share anecdotes, talk about Ken Burns' upcoming PBS series "The Roosevelts", and discuss family legacy.

5:30pm Wine, Beer & Hors d'oeuvres in the Longfellow Garden
7:00pm Evening Program in the Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

Tickets to this special benefit for MHS are $50.
Buy tickets and RSVP by August 29. Contact Elizabeth Nash at 207-774-1822 ext. 206 or enash@mainehistory.org.

Friday, September 5, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

First Friday Art Walk: A Snapshot of Portland, 1924: The Taxman Cometh

First Friday Art Walk: <i>A Snapshot of Portland, 1924: The Taxman Cometh</i>

A Snapshot of Portland, 1924 celebrates the informal photographs that the tax assessor's office took of every taxable building in the City in 1924. The exhibition highlights a selection of these fascinating snapshots of Portland life—from its first "skyscrapers" to tenements, pool halls, and farms.

Our museum exhibition Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland, will also be open to visitors at no charge. Come see how the Wadsworth-Longfellow House has experienced Portland's growth and change for more than 230 years.

During the Art Walk, the Museum Store will be open late for shoppers!

Tuesday, September 16, 12:00 pm

Ed Muskie: Made in Maine, 1914-1960

Ed Muskie: Made in Maine, 1914-1960

Speaker: James Witherell

The arc of Edmund “Ed” Muskie’s life from modest beginnings 100 hundred years ago to future greatness was singular and unpredictable—an American story that looks plausible only in hindsight. Author James L. Witherell’s new biography of Muskie traces the son of an immigrant tailor through his two terms as Maine’s governor. Witherell is also the author of Bicycle History (2010), L.L. Bean: The Man and His Company (2011), and When Heroes Were Giants: 100 Tours de France (2013). Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members (pay at the door).

Thursday, September 18, 7:00 pm

Presented in partnership with American and New England Studies Program, USM
What's Laundry Got to do With it?: Caring for the Body in the 19th Century United States

What's Laundry Got to do With it?: Caring for the Body in the 19th Century United States

Speaker: Kathleen M. Brown, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

This program relates to the 2014-2015 museum exhibit, "Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland."

The author of Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America joins us to imagine what body care and hygiene may have been like in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. Nineteenth century Americans were not the first people to read the body for telltale signs of virtue or moral weakness, but they came to these judgments in the context of new standards and practices of body care. Looking back at medical advice books, letters, diaries, and household management books from the time, we can see how body care during that century represented a startling break with the past and foreshadowed some of the dilemmas we face today.

Kathleen Brown is a historian of gender and race in early America and the Atlantic World. Educated at Wesleyan and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, she is also the author of Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Chapel Hill, 1996), which won the Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association for best book by a junior scholar. Brown has been a fellow at the Omohundro Institute for Early American Studies at William and Mary, at the American Antiquarian Society, and a summer fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College.

Cost: Free for MHS members; $8 for non-members (pay at the door).

Tuesday, September 23, 12:00 pm

The Portland Water District in Pictures, 1908-2008

Douglass Street Weathervane, 1929

Douglass Street Weathervane, 1929

Speakers: Paul Thomas Hunt and Barbara Brewer

This program relates to the 2014-2015 museum exhibit, "Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland."

Greater Portland has had a public water system since 1869. For almost 40 years it was owned and operated as a for-profit company. A vote in 1906 changed all that and led to the legal actions that established the quasi-municipal, non-profit Portland Water District in 1908. Though largely unseen and not thought of, there is a rich pictorial and human history to the first 100 years of Maine’s largest water and wastewater utility. Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members (pay at the door).

Paul Thomas Hunt is the District’s Environmental Manager. He volunteered to create a history presentation as part of the centennial celebration and soon found himself immersed in old newspapers and company reports. Barbara Brewer is the Executive Assistant for the District. She was tapped to maintain the District’s historical collection of artifacts. She shares historical information by writing articles for the employee newsletter and contributing images to Maine Memory Network and on the District’s Facebook page.

October Programs

Thursday, October 2, 7:00 pm

An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America

An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America

Speaker: Nicholas Bunker

Written from a strikingly fresh perspective, this new account of the Boston Tea Party and the origins of the American Revolution shows how a lethal blend of politics, personalities, and economics led to a war that few people welcomed but nobody could prevent. Publishers Weekly says, “A nuanced global analysis of Britain’s failure to hold onto its American colonies. . . riveting. . . With a sharp eye for economic realities, Bunker persuasively demonstrates why the American Revolution had to happen.”

Nick Bunker is the author of Making Haste from Babylon. He was a journalist for the Liverpool Echo and the Financial Times, and then an investment banker. He now lives in Lincolnshire, England. Cost: Free for MHS members; $8 for non-members.

Tuesday, October 14, 12:00 pm

Harvest Maine: Autumn Traditions and Fall Flavors

Harvest Maine: Autumn Traditions and Fall Flavors

Speaker: Crystal Ward Kent

Autumn traditions and flavors come alive in this nostalgic journey through New England's favorite season. Ward Kent shares a bounty of Maine harvest-time traditions including old-time fairs and festivals, handcrafts, and classic recipes—one or two of which will be served! Maine native Ward Kent also wrote Mainely Kids: A Guide to Family Fun in Southern Maine and Tugboat River Rescue, a children's book. Her second children's book, The Bad Cats of Biddeford, will be out in 2014. Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members.

Wednesday, October 15, 12:00 pm

Researching in the Museum Collections: Political Ephemera

Lyndon B. Johnson doll, 1964

Lyndon B. Johnson doll, 1964

Facilitator: Holly Hurd-Forsyth, MHS Collections Manager

Go behind the scenes with the MHS Collections Manager. In this hour-long program, Holly Hurd-Forsyth takes you into several of the museum storage rooms (normally off-limits to the public), and discusses how the MHS museum collection can be a valuable source of information in your research project. Learn how to use the web-based museum catalog, PastPerfect Online, along with other object-specific research tools. This month: Just in time for Election Day, see highlights from the museum’s Political Ephemera Collection, including campaign pins from 1860 onward, bumper stickers, and some truly odd political souvenirs--Lyndon B. Johnson bobble head doll, anyone?

"Researching in the Museum Collections" occurs on the third Wednesdays of Jan, Apr, July, and Oct, at 12PM, in the MHS lecture hall. Each month features highlights from a different collection. Free, but limited to 8. Pre-registration is required. Sign up in advance by sending an email to hhurd@mainehistory.org.

Saturday, October 18, 09:00 am – 3:00 pm

Presented in partnership with Northeast Document Conservation Center and Maine Archives & Museums
Identification and Care of Photographs

Christian Chapel, Portland. ca. 1850. MMN #51265.

Christian Chapel, Portland. ca. 1850. MMN #51265.

Facilitator: Monique Fischer, Senior Photograph Conservator, Northeast Document Conservation Center

This hands-on workshop offers an in-depth introduction to the preservation of photographs, including their identification, deterioration, and care. Participants will learn how to recognize various photographic formats and study the preservation problems associated with each format type. The workshop will also discuss storage concerns and preservation priorities, including environmental guidelines and proper care and handling. Participants are encouraged to bring photographs for examination and discussion.
 
This workshop is designed for local historical societies and small museums and libraries, as well as individuals who are looking to gain knowledge about how to preserve a variety of photographic materials. Morning refreshments will be served. Lunch is on your own.

Registration is limited to 20. Deadline for registering: Tuesday, October 14.
Cost: $100 MHS members; $110 non-members. Reserve your seat online or contact lvpicard@mainehistory.org for a registration form.

Friday, October 24 – Thursday, October 30, 2014

Longfellow's "Haunted House"

Longfellow's

Don't miss this unique evening tour of the Longfellow House in the week leading up to Halloween! Based on Longfellow's poem, "Haunted Houses" -- "All houses wherein men have lived and died / Are haunted houses" -- the 90-minute tour will be led by seasoned guide James Horrigan. It will bring to life the various family members that died in the Wadsworth-Longfellow over its long history.

There are only six tour evenings: October 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, and 30, from 6-7:30 PM. RSVPs are required and each tour is limited to 12. Admission fee of $10 pp is payable at the door. All tours sold out quickly last year so don't delay! To reserve a spot, call John Babin, Visitor Services Manager, at 207-774-1822 ext. 212.

Ongoing & Family Programs

Historical Walking Tours of Portland

Join MHS for a guided tour to the waterfront highlighting Portland's history, maritime heritage, and authentic character. The tour highlights famous city residents, industries, architecture, historic landmarks, social history, and the Great Fire of 1866. Daily, June 1st—Oct 30th at 1:30pm, weather permitting. Tour size limited: first-come, first-served. Tickets: $10 (children under 6, free; recommended for ages 12 and older); $15 for combo Longfellow House ticket. Call for group bookings.

Library Tours

This 45-minute tour of the Brown Research Library, fully renovated in 2009, takes participants throughout the first floor reading room and behind-the-scenes into the archive, normally closed to the public. Nicholas Noyes, Curator of Library Collections, covers the history of the building, architectural details, the basics of doing research in the library, and even shares a few treasures from the collection. (First Wednesdays in Jan, March, May, July, Sept, Nov, at 12PM. Sign up in advance by sending an email to info@mainehistory.org or call 774-1822 x207.)

Maine Memory Network Demonstration

A Maine Memory Network staff member provides an in-depth review of content and search functions on Maine's premier statewide digital museum. Bring a laptop or tablet (optional) and search as you go. (Third Wednesdays in February and August, at 12PM. Sign up in advance by sending an email to kamoroso@mainehistory.org.)

Museum Collections: Researching in the Museum Collections

Go behind the scenes with the MHS Collections Manager. In this hour-long program, Holly Hurd-Forsyth takes you into several of the museum storage rooms (normally off-limits to the public), and discusses how the MHS museum collection can be a valuable source of information in your research project. Learn how to use the web-based museum catalog, PastPerfect Online, along with other object-specific research tools. (Third Wednesdays in Jan, Apr, July, and Oct at 12PM; Limited to 12. Sign up in advance by sending an email to hhurd@mainehistory.org.)

Regional Genealogy Programs, Events, and Conferences

Annual Cruise

CRUISE - The Magic of the Loire Valley and Bordeaux's Chateaux and Vineyards
October 29 - November 9, 2014

Join MHS as we sail three rivers on this journey—the Garonne, the Dordogne, and the Gironde—and savor the unique gastronomical heritage of southwest France. You'll be treated to a sumptuous display of culinary magic throughout your journey.
Get Details.

Exhibits

exhibit graphic
Morton Block and Wadsworth-Longfellow House, ca. 1912

Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland
Opens June 27, 2014

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.

 

 photo of 701 Forest Avenue, Portland, 1924
701 Forest Avenue, Portland in 1924

A Snapshot of Portland, 1924: The Taxman Cometh
Opens June 27, 2014

A Snapshot of Portland celebrates the informal photographs that the tax assessor's office took of every taxable building in the City in 1924. The exhibition highlights a selection of these fascinating snapshots of Portland life—from its first "skyscrapers" to tenements, pool halls, and farms. Read More

 

Maine Memory Network

Offers online access to numerous Web–based exhibits and a constantly growing collection of nearly 45,000 historical documents, images, and objects contributed by more than 270 organizations around Maine. New exhibits added regularly. Go to www.mainememory.net.

Registration

All events, unless otherwise noted, are held at the Maine Historical Society. Click here for Directions or Parking.

For more information or to sign up for any of the events listed below, call (207) 774–1822 or email info@mainehistory.org. Support our efforts and become a member today.

Program Podcasts

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