Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: May | Ongoing Programs | Podcasts | Annual Trip | Exhibitions | Regional Genealogy Events

Program fees and registration details are listed in the program description. Programs for MHS members are free or discounted. Support MHS by becoming a member today. All programs take place at our facilities at 489 Congress Street in Portland, unless otherwise noted. Click here for Directions or Parking information.

If you have questions about any of the programs listed below, please contact us at (207) 774-1822.

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Ongoing Programs

Wadsworth-Longfellow House Tours - Daily, May - October. See details.

Exhibition Galleries (self-guided) - Changing schedule, year-round. See details.

Historical Walking Tours of Portland - Daily, June - Columbus Day weekend. See details.

Library Tours - First Wednesday at noon in January, March, May, July, September, and November. See below for next scheduled tour.

May Programs

Wednesday, May 4, 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 at noon on the first Wednesday 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.)

Friday, May 6, 12:00 pm

Book Talk: Daisy Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga

Book Talk: Daisy Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga

A daughter of freed African American slaves, Daisy Turner became a living repository of history. The family narrative entrusted to her--"a well-polished artifact, an heirloom that had been carefully preserved"--began among the Yoruba in West Africa and continued with her own long lifetime. In 1983, folklorist Jane Beck began to interview Turner, then one hundred years old and still relating four generations of oral history. Beck uses Turner's storytelling to build the Turner family saga, using at its foundation the oft-repeated touchstone stories at the heart of their experiences: the abduction into slavery of Turner’s African ancestors; Daisy's father learning to read; his return as a soldier to his former plantation to kill the overseer; Daisy's childhood stand against racism; and her family's life in Vermont. Beck weaves in historical research and offers a folklorist's perspective on oral history and the hazards and uses of memory.

Join us to hear firsthand from Beck the origins and inner-workings of documenting this moving family history.

Free for MHS Members and faculty, staff, and students of USM; $5 general admission. Offered in cooperation with the African American Collection of Maine. University of Southern Maine's Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine.

Register today!

Friday, May 6, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

First Friday Art Walk

First Friday Art Walk

Maine Historical Society is open for downtown Portland’s First Friday festivities. The evening features the public opening for our Down the Allagash exhibition in the Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall, and an open-house of the Longfellow House, available for tours starting May 1!

Plus! From 5-7pm don't miss a special performance from the Brooklyn Art Song Society singing Longfellow poems in the lecture hall as a preview to their concert at First Parish Church the following evening, when the opening act is our own Visitor Services Manager John Babin giving a presentation on Longfellow.

Free and open to the public.

Tuesday, May 10, 12:00 – 12:30 pm

Curator Tour: Down the Allagash

Curator Tour: Down the Allagash

Join MHS Chief Curator Kate McBrien for an insider’s view of the creation of MHS’s newest exhibit, Down the Allagash: Celebrating the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Opens May 6, 2016. On view through June 26, 2016.

The wilderness of Maine has long been alluring to adventurers and nature lovers alike. 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a stunning stretch of wilderness in northern Maine. This exhibit highlights the rugged beauty of the Allagash through the experiences of Henry L. Withee and Horace A. Bailey, two friends who canoed the Allagash in July of 1911.

Free for MHS Members; $8 general admission.

Register today!

Thursday, May 19, 6:30 pm

Annual MHS Olmsted Lecture

Annual MHS Olmsted Lecture

Charles Birnbaum, President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation, will deliver MHS’s annual Olmsted Lecture.

Drawing heavily on the work of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) and its collaborators, this lecture will highlight a diversity of resource types throughout Maine and the Nation (from the jewel-like Camden Amphitheater to Acadia National Park), emphasizing stewardship strategies and opportunities for public engagement. Finally, on this occasion of the centennial of the Organic Act that led to the creation of the National Park Service, the interface between history and historic preservation and natural systems / ecology in weighing decisions will provide an armature for new ideas and strategies.

$5 MHS Members; $20 general admission.

Register today!

Friday, May 20 – Saturday, May 21, 2016

Longfellow's Cocktail Party & Magical History Tour

Longfellow's Cocktail Party & Magical History Tour

Join us for our second annual exploration of fascinating historic sites in Portland that you've never seen – and maybe didn’t even know existed! We’ve gained access to very special places that will delight and intrigue adults and kids alike. The mystery sites will be revealed at a cocktail party we’re hosting on Friday, May 20 – and even the location of the party is part of the fun. Mr. Longfellow's Cocktail Party will be held at the U.S. Custom House. Located adjacent to Portland's waterfront, this historically rich and mysterious building is closed to the public... but not for our guests!

+ Longfellow's Cocktail Party: Friday, May 20 at the U.S. Custom House
+ Magical History Tour: Saturday, May 21 at secret sites around Portland

Buy tickets today!

Wednesday, May 25, 12:00 pm

Book Talk: The Phantom Punch

Book Talk: The Phantom Punch

The two bouts between Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston are widely considered the most anticipated and controversial fights in heavyweight boxing. Cassius Clay won the first bout in Miami Beach in February 1964, when Liston refused to come out for the seventh round. The second fight took place in Lewiston, Maine, fifteen months later in May 1965. Halfway through the first round, Ali countered a left from Liston with a fast right, knocking Liston down. He did not get up. Ali’s right was so fast many spectators never even saw it. It was quickly dubbed the Phantom Punch and rumors began to swirl that Liston had thrown the fight. Many who believed Liston--a brutal fighter who picked up boxing in prison--had also thrown the first fight the year before in Miami were now vindicated.

Journalist and sports historian Rob Sneddon takes a fresh look at the infamous Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston fight of May 25, 1965, which ended in chaos at a high school hockey rink in Lewiston, Maine. Sneddon digs deep into the fight’s background and delivers new perspective on boxing promotion in the 1960s; on Ali’s rapid rise and Liston’s sudden fall; on how the bout ended up in Lewiston--and, of course, on Ali’s phantom punch. That single lightning-quick blow triggered a complex chain reaction of events that few people understood, either then or now.

Free for MHS Members; $5 general admission.

Register today!

Thursday, May 26, 07:30 am – 7:00 pm

Boston Bus Trip: Research & Explore the City

Boston Bus Trip: Research & Explore the City

Join Maine Historical Society & Greater Portland Chapter of Maine Genealogical Society on Thursday, May 26 for a bus trip to Boston! Participants can choose to stop at one of three Boston locations. The bus departs promptly at 7:30am from the former Weathervane Seafood Restaurant at the Maine Mall area in South Portland and returns approximately 7:00pm. Select from one of the following drop-off locations and experiences:

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS): NEHGS houses more than 200,000 genealogical and historical volumes, over one million manuscripts, as well as census records, vital records, deeds, probates, military records, plus the latest resources in print, microtext, and CD-Rom. The bus will drop you off at the door of the society. From this location you can also walk to Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, Newbury Street shops and the Hancock Building and shops. ***Limited to 25 researchers***

Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA): One of the largest museums in the US, the MFA houses over 450,000 items. Currently on display are special exhibits featuring works by Picasso and jewelry from Ancient Nubia. You will get dropped off at the door of the MFA. From this location you can easily walk to the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Fenway Area Parks and Gardens, and Fenway Park Stadium.

Boston Common (Park St. T Stop): Dating to 1634, the Common is the oldest city park in the US. From the Park Street T Stop, you can walk the Freedom Trail, visit Quincy Market, see the State House, visit historic monuments throughout the Common, and walk to the Boston Public Gardens.

Pick up for all experiences above is 5:00pm near Trinity Church at Copley Square, Boston. Bus leaves promptly at 5:00pm--plan accordingly.

Bus Tickets: MHS/MGS Members $45, Non-Members $50
Special Pricing for Admittance to the NEHGS: NEHGS Members-Free, Non-Members-$15

Reserve your experience today!

Program Podcasts

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Annual Trip

Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies
September 27 - October 6, 2016

Join MHS and the New Hampshire Historical Society as we enjoy all the splendors the Canadian Rockies have to offer. From Vancouver to Banff and Lake Louise and finally Calgary, this ten day trip combines striking natural beauty with intimate views of cosmopolitan Canadian cities and explorations of local culture and history. Get Trip Details.

Exhibitions

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400 Years of New Mainers
February 4 through May 30, 2016

This exhibition highlights personal stories of immigration through photographer Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest's contemporary portraits of "New Mainers” and original works by street artist Pigeon displayed among items from MHS's permanent collection. The show’s narrative includes the centuries-long history of immigration in Maine.Read More.

 

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Mainer Project 2016

Pigeon's Mainer Project: street art meets history
March 4 through May 1, 2016
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

In this exhibition, the original artwork of Orson Horchler (aka Pigeon) is combined with current news, historic photographs, manuscripts, and newspapers from the Maine Historical Society's collections to provide context to events in our past, to inform our future regarding the often contentious subject of immigration, and to ask, who is a Mainer?

 

Chase's Carry, 1911, MHS collection 1955, Henry L. Withee Collection

Down the Allagash: Celebrating the Allagash Wilderness Waterway
Opens May 6, 2016. On view through June 26, 2016
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

The wilderness of Maine has long been alluring to adventurers and nature lovers alike. 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a stunning stretch of wilderness in northern Maine. This exhibit highlights the rugged beauty of the Allagash through the experiences of Henry L. Withee and Horace A. Bailey, two friends who canoed the Allagash in July of 1911.

 

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.

Regional Genealogy Programs, Events, and Conferences

Find out about regional conferences and other family history instruction and workshops.