Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Programs & Events at the Maine Historical Society

Events on this page: September | October | November | 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 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.

Tuesday, September 30, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Annual Maine History Maker Award: Honoring Vincent Veroneau, President and CEO of J.B. Brown & Sons

Annual Maine History Maker Award: Honoring Vincent Veroneau, President and CEO of J.B. Brown & Sons

Each year MHS recognizes an individual in Maine who has made significant contributions to the community through the Maine History Maker Award. This award honors contemporary citizens who are shaping Maine today. The inaugural award was presented in 2013 to Mert Henry.

As one of Maine’s oldest and most respected family-owned businesses, J.B. Brown & Sons continues to invest in Portland and to give back to the community. Vin Veroneau’s personal leadership and generosity have led the business for many years. To honor the Brown family legacy, the MHS Board has designated the proceeds of this event to support the restoration of the historic second floor reading room of our Brown Library. The library is named for J.B. Brown’s son, John Marshall Brown, and his wife Alida Carroll Brown.

With gratitude to our corporate sponsors: CBRE/The Boulos Company, Bangor Savings Bank, Gorham Savings Bank, TD Bank, Paul G. White Interior Solutions, WBRC Architects & Engineers, Stroudwater Construction, Cross Insurance Agency, Wright-Ryan Construction, PC Construction, and Tyler Judkins, Financial Advisor, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC.

Cost: $50 per person. To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Elizabeth Nash, 207-774-1822 ext 206,

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.

Friday, October 3, 12:30 – 5:00 pm

Historian's Forum on Architectural Collections

Historian's Forum on Architectural Collections

Speakers: Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. and Scott Hanson

You are invited to attend the 2nd Annual Historian’s Forum on Friday, October 3, 2014, from 12:30 to 5:00 pm.

This year’s forum focuses on architectural collections as a key part of the historical record. Attendees will view selections from the Society’s extensive collection of Maine architecture, learn more from scholars working closely with the collections, and discuss collecting and cultivating architectural drawings as primary resource documents.


Researching the Historic and Architectural Significance of the Portland Company Complex at Maine Historical Society by Scott Hanson, Architectural Historian at Sutherland Conservation & Consulting

A Prolific Pencil: The Architectural Drawings of John Calvin Stevens by Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission

New Exhibition & Reception:

Wholesome Habitations: Architectural Collections of the Maine Historical Society, showcasing fine examples from the Brown Library’s vast architectural holdings.

A reception in conjunction with Portland’s First Friday Art Walk will follow.

Registration begins at 12:30pm at the Brown Library.

Tickets are required as space is limited to 50 guests.
$20 for MHS members (including institutional memberships)
$25 non-members

RSVP by Friday, September 26, 2014
to Elizabeth Nash, 207-774-1822 ext. 206

Friday, October 3, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

First Friday Art Walk: Wholesome Habitation: Architectural drawings from the Collections of the Maine Historical Society

First Friday Art Walk: <i>Wholesome Habitation: Architectural drawings from the Collections of the Maine Historical Society</i>

Wholesome Habitation showcases the architectural collections of the Brown Library at Maine Historical Society. The selection includes a sampling from various architectural collections inlcuding 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.

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!

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

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 for a registration form.

Sunday, October 19, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

In partnership with Maine State Library, Moosehead Historical Society, and Shaw Public Library in Greenville
Local History & Maine Memory Network: Moosehead Lake Region

Mt. Kineo House, MMN #80757

Mt. Kineo House, MMN #80757

Speaker: Candace Kanes, Curator, Maine Memory Network

Program Location: Center for Moosehead History, 6 Lakeview Street, Greenville

Maine Historical Society presents a 90-minute program about the Moosehead Lake Region as featured on Maine Memory Network, MHS’s statewide digital museum. Maine Memory Curator Candace Kanes provides an overview of the online museum’s content and search tools, and highlights historical collections and stories on the site related to Greenville, Moosehead Lake, and surrounding areas.

Kanes discusses how individuals can engage with the website and how organizations can get involved. She will be joined by Candy Russell, director of Moosehead Historical Society, which has nearly 50 items on Maine Memory and an online exhibit about the Moosehead Lake steamboat era.

Attendees are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to follow along online, but no equipment is required. The programs are FREE and open to the public. No advance registration is necessary.

Friday, October 24 – Thursday, October 30, 2014

Longfellow's "Haunted House"


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.

November Programs

Friday, November 14, 7:00 pm

Free and Responsible Government: The Long Shadow of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Free and Responsible Government: The Long Shadow of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

Speaker: Jared Peatman

Historian Jared Peatman, author of The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (2013), reveals the interconnected history between the United States Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and constitutional theory around the world. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln used the Gettysburg Address as a tool to encourage a new philosophy of government, one that strayed from the Constitution of 1787. Ironically, over the years the Gettysburg Address has become, in Eisenhower's words, "the inspiration for movements toward free and responsible government" the world over, particularly in China and France. This talk begins with early responses to and interpretations of Lincoln’s greatest speech, then moves through the ensuing hundred years to chart the evolving ways audiences around the world interpreted and invoked the Address.

A Maine native, Jared Peatman is a graduate of Gettysburg College with a master’s degree from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M. He was awarded the 2009 Organization of American Historians/Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Doctoral Fellow and 2012 Hay-Nicolay Dissertation Prize for The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He is also the co-author, with Steven B. Wiley, of A Transformational Journey: Leadership Lessons from Gettysburg. Since 2009 Jared has offered leadership development events using historic metaphors in places ranging from Jamestown to the Alamo to Waterloo.

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 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

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

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.


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


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 Support our efforts and become a member today.

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