Upcoming Events at the Maine Historical Society
All programs are open to the public, with a suggested donation at the door. Programs take place at our facilities at 489 Congress Street in Portland, unless otherwise noted.
Tuesday, March 11, 12:00 pm
Amateur Newspapers: A Digitization Project
Speaker: Renee DesRoberts
Renee DesRoberts, archivist at the McArthur Public Library in Biddeford and longtime Maine Memory Network contributor, joins us to talk about the library’s recent launch of Amateur Newspapers from the Walter Perkins Collection, a major digitization project and online exhibit.
The library’s amateur newspapers collection showcases a variety of amateur papers collected by a Biddeford boy in the late 19th century. "Amateur newspapers" are defined as historical periodicals created by individuals with a desire to publish (rather than for profit) and primarily for the pleasure of both reader and writer. Renee will discuss how these early efforts mimic today’s emphasis on the democratization of information in the form of self-publishing and use of social media.
Thursday, March 13, 4:30 – 7:00 pm
Food for Thought: Maine Council for the Social Studies Workshop for Teachers
This regional professional development workshop, hosted by MHS, includes presentations about educational resources MHS offers to teachers including Maine Memory Network, the library collections, and the museum exhibits, and an overview of the new “C3” Framework for Social Studies, provided by the Maine Department of Education’s Social Studies Specialist. A light meal will be served and there will be time for conversation with colleagues. Cost is $10. To register, please visit www.mainecouncilsocialstudies.org. The deadline for registering is March 7.
Tuesday, March 18 – Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Presented in partnership with Maine Humanities Council
MHS Book Group: Making Sense of the American Civil War
Facilitator: Candace Kanes, MHS Historian and Maine Memory Network Curator
*NOTE: THE GROUP IS NOW FULL.*
Join us this January through May for our fifth annual MHS reading group--a great opportunity to engage in discussions about history and connect with members of the MHS community.
Created and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of its We the People initiative, “Making Sense of the Civil War” is a Maine Humanities Council “Let’s Talk About It” program designed as a succession of five conversations exploring different facets of the Civil War experience. Each session will explore a different topic informed by reading the words written or spoken by powerful voices from the past and present.
Books will be provided on loan by Maine Humanities Council and include March by Geraldine Brooks, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James McPherson, and America’s War, an anthology published by the NEH expressly for this series. There is no charge for this year's group.
WHEN: Tuesdays 1/21, 2/25, 3/18, 4/15, 5/20 @ 6:30PM
WHERE: MHS Lecture Hall
BOOKS: On loan from Maine Humanities Council
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Friday, January 10. Registration is required; space is limited and the group has traditionally filled up fast. To sign up, Download the Flyer, call 774-1822, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with "book group" in the subject heading.
Thursday, March 20, 7:00 pm
Veterans Issues: From the Civil War to Today
With a Special Introduction by Congressman Mike Michaud, Ranking Member, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
How to care for veterans, and contend with the many issues resulting from war-related service and combat, has been a theme throughout history. Maine was a leader in providing services to veterans immediately following the Civil War—Togus, now Maine’s VA Hospital, originated as a veterans’ home in 1866. A panel of experts draws the threads from Civil War-era veterans’ affairs to what today’s servicemen and women returning home face.
Congressman Mike Michaud will introduce the program and moderate a discussion between the panelists. The panelists include: Togus historian Donald Beattie, author of two volumes (and working on a third) on the hospital’s history; Ryan Lilly, Director, Maine VA Healthcare System; and Amy Marcotte, Team Leader, Sanford Vet Center, who served in the United States Army with the 10th Mountain Infantry Division, deployed to both Somalia and Haiti.
NOTE: There is limited seating for this event, please register online. Please arrive by 6:45pm to secure your reserved seat.
Come early and explore the museum exhibition This Rebellion: Maine and the Civil War which features Maine's Civil War Memorial Wall.
Saturday, April 5, 08:00 am – 3:30 pm
Maine Genealogical Society Spring Workshop with Maureen Taylor, “The Photo Detective”
Maine Genealogical Society's spring workshop is presented in partnership with MHS. Keynote speaker Maureen Taylor, the “Photo Detective” (www.maureentaylor.com), present on topics relating to historic photo analysis. Sessions include Identifying and Dating Family Photographs, Preserving Family Photographs – 1839 to Present, Hair-steria: Celebrities and Their Historical Look-Alikes, and The Last Muster: Photographs and Stories from the American Revolution. The Dating and Preserving sessions include a special focus on Civil War photography.
Location: Augusta Elks Club. Registration is required. Cost: $40 MGS/MHS members; $50 non-members. Includes lunch. To register: www.maineroots.org.
Thursday, April 10, 7:00 pm
In partnership with the Baxter Society and Maine Humanities Council
Everyone’s Town: Thornton Wilder’s Legacy
Speaker: Penelope Niven
Although Our Town, which turned 75 in 2013, was set in a small New Hampshire village and written in 1938, its universality has made it a favorite of theater companies and schools for decades. Wilder biographer Penelope Niven joins us to share the story of his life (and his Maine ancestry), how Wilder came to write the play, and the special appeal of its themes of the passage of time and small-town life.
Penelope Niven’s 2012 biography of Wilder (Thornton Wilder: A Life, Harper), was deemed “the best kind of literary biography” by the Washington Post. Niven is also the acclaimed author of Carl Sandburg: A Biography and Steichen: A Biography. She has been awarded two honorary doctorates, four fellowships, and is the recipient of the North Carolina Award in Literature.
Tuesday, April 15, 12:00 pm
The Military Art of J. Thomas Leamon
Speaker: James S. Leamon
Retired Bates History Professor James S. Leamon shares his new book featuring the stunning artwork and experiences of his brother, Tom, a World War II combat veteran. Reflecting both World War I—which began 100 years ago this year—and World War II, the book includes a colorful variety of cartoons, sketches, paintings, models, dioramas, and writings. Joining Leamon is Rene Damen, book and cover designer.
Wednesday, April 16, 12:00 pm
Intro to MHS: Museum Collections: Recent Acquisitions and PastPerfect Online
Facilitator: Holly Hurd-Forsyth
MHS Museum Registrar Holly Hurd-Forsyth provides a show-and-tell of recent or topical museum collection items, discusses how accessions are researched and processed, and trains participants how to search and use the MHS PastPerfect Online database. (Third Wednesdays in Jan, Apr, July, and Oct, at 12PM, in the MHS lecture hall; free; limited to 12. Sign up in advance by sending an email to email@example.com.)
Thursday, April 24
The 2014 Olmsted Lecture,
in partnership with the Olmsted Alliance
Sanitary Concerns: Portlander Harriet Eaton, State Relief Work, and the Fight over Federal Benevolence during the Civil War
Speaker: Jane Schultz, Professor of English and the Medical Humanities, and Director of Literature, at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
Maine state relief workers like Harriet Eaton and Isabella Fogg were less certain than Frederick Law Olmsted—who, thanks to his administrative skill overseeing the creation of Central Park, was asked to head the U.S. Sanitary Commission during the Civil War—that federal benevolence was the best way to care for Maine's boys in blue. For the 2014 Olmsted Lecture, Professor Jane Schultz shows how and why Mainers resisted the sweep of a national relief structure, preferring instead to put the interests of the state ahead of federal bureaucracy.
Schultz is the author of Women at the Front (University of North Carolina, 2004), a study of gender and relief work in American Civil War military hospitals; it was a finalist for the 2005 Lincoln Prize. In 2010 Professor Schultz published This Birth Place of Souls (Oxford), an annotated edition of the diary of Portlander Harriet Bacon Eaton, one of the last extant Civil War nursing diaries.
Thursday, May 1, 12:00 pm
Longfellow and the Occult: A Talk and Open House to Kick off the 2014 Wadsworth-Longfellow House Season
Speaker: James Horrigan
Longtime Wadsworth-Longfellow House guide James Horrigan kicks off the 2014 house season with a lecture that looks at the poet’s lifelong interest in the supernatural. In addition to touching on reincarnation, astrology, numerology, automatic writing (featuring a poem of Longfellow’s that can only be read with a mirror), and dowsing, James pays special attention to what one biographer called Longfellow’s “rich dream life.” The poet left behind fascinating accounts of dreams he had of Charles Sumner, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and many others.
The talk is followed by an Open House until 2PM, during which lecture attendees are invited to tour the Wadsworth Longfellow House at their own pace. Those who choose can linger in the dining room to hear James tell the story behind the painting of Charles O. Cole's portrait of Longfellow, and the dreams and mysticism that accompanied it.
Saturday, May 3, 5:30 – 11:00 pm
An Evening in the 1920s
Picture yourself in the 1920s! The Maine Historical Society's annual fundraising event celebrates the decade that is known for prohibition, jazz, roadsters, dancing and parties.
Bring your friends and enjoy:
Cocktails, dinner by Blue Elephant Events & Catering, and dancing to the music of The Fogcutters--a new kind of Big Band. Plus, an auction, roaring 20s photobooth, and tours of the historic Portland Masonic Temple. Don't miss our one-night-only 1920s-themed exhibition drawn from the MHS collections!
Attire: 1920s period dress or black tie optional.
Location: Portland Masonic Temple, 415 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
Purchase Tickets Online
FMI: Elizabeth Nash, 207-774-1822 ext 206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, May 8
African Americans & the U.S. Government During and After the Civil War
Speaker: Chandra Manning, Professor of History, Georgetown University
How did the relationship between former slaves and the United States government change during and after the Civil War? Georgetown University Professor of History Chandra Manning shares her research on this complex and evolving relationship, and how it affected race relations thereafter. Manning is the author of What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (Knopf, 2007), which won the won the Avery Craven Prize awarded by the Organization of American Historians; earned Honorable Mention for the Lincoln Prize, the Jefferson Davis Prize, and the Virginia Literary Awards for Non-fiction; and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize. Her current projects examine Civil War contraband camps, war refugees, and the And a third project looks at the United States Centennial in 1876.
Saturday, May 10, 09:00 am
In partnership with Maine Humanities Council
Civil War Legacies in Maine: Statewide Civil War Symposium
In year two of a major NEH-funded collaborative project, Maine Historical Society and Maine Humanities Council host this half-day Civil War Symposium focusing on Maine after the War. Speakers include:
Chandra Manning, Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University - What did the Civil War Change?
Tom Desjardin, Senior Policy Advisor, State of Maine, Office of the Governor; and author of Stand Firm, Ye Boys from Maine - Maine in the Civil War: Out-migration, Economic and Population Repercussions
David Greenham, Program Director – Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine - Coming Home: A Civil War Veteran Returns Theater Performance
Josephine Cameron - Songs of the Civil War Era Musical Performance
After the program, please enjoy displays of local history projects by the 2013-2014 Local and Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Grant Recipients from Belfast, Presque Isle, Portland/Westbrook, Gorham, and Windham. To register, visit www.mainehumanities.org after March 1.
Thursday, May 15, 07:30 am – 8:00 pm
Genealogy Research Trip to Boston
Join MHS for a day of genealogical research at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) led by longtime trip guide and genealogist Barbara Washburn. NEHGS, which was established in 1845, boasts a collection of 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. Individuals who would like to take the MHS bus to Boston for a day of sightseeing but who do not plan to do research are welcome.
Registration required by Monday, May 5. Fee: $40 for MHS members; $50 for non-members. *Does not include admission to NEHGS Library (NEHGS Admission: NEHGS Members: Free; non-NEHGS members: $15). Online registration coming soon!
Tuesday, May 20, 12:00 pm
History and Memory in the Artwork of Daniel Minter, a Talk and Freedom Trail Walk
Speaker: Daniel Minter
Portland artist and Freedom Trail founding director, Daniel Minter, joins us to share his process of turning history into art, and to lead us on a Portland Freedom Trail walk. Using archetypes, symbols, icons, and folklore steeped in the context of African American and African Diaspora culture, Minter’s paintings, block prints, sculpture, and other media are a study of the many ways in which memory is embedded into our past, present and future.
In addition to creating the markers for the Freedom Trail, Minter is the illustrator of several children's books including Ellen's Broom, which won the 2013 Coretta Scott King Award for illustration. He created the 2004 and 2011 Kwanzaa stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. Bring a lunch to eat at MHS during the talk—we’ll provide beverages and dessert—and good walking shoes for the 45 minute trail walk.
Tuesday, May 20, 12:00 pm
“We respect the flag, but…”: Opposition to the Civil War in Down East Maine
Timothy F. Garrity, Executive Director, Mount Desert Island Historical Society
Recently published as a journal article in Maine History, this talk is given by Mount Desert Island Executive Director Tim Garrity, a master’s degree candidate in History at the University of Maine. While in popular memory “Maine is counted among the northern states most solidly supportive of the Union cause,” not all Mainers supported the War. Many people in Down East Maine—overwhelmingly rural, native, and Protestant at the time—simply wanted to be left alone, and opposed the War largely for pragmatic reasons.
Wednesday, May 21, 12:00 pm
Intro to MHS: Maine Memory Network Demonstration
Facilitator: Kathy Amoroso, Director of Digital Projects
Director of Digital Projects, Kathy Amoroso, 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 Feb, May, Aug, and Nov at 12PM; MHS lecture hall; free. Sign up in advance by sending an email to email@example.com.)
Ongoing & Family Programs
Historical Walking Tours of Portland
While learning about several sites in downtown Portland, guests are presented with the area's historic narrative on a walk down to the waterfront. (Daily June 17th—Sep 30th at 1:30pm weather permitting, $10.00 adults, Tour size limited: 1st come 1st serve, $15.00 combo Longfellow House ticket, Call for group bookings) .
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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 Feb, May, Aug, and Nov, at 12PM. Sign up in advance by sending an email to email@example.com.)
Museum Collections: Recent Acquisitions and PastPerfect Online
MHS Museum Registrar Holly Hurd-Forsyth provides a show-and-tell of recent or topical museum collection items, discusses how accessions are researched and processed, and trains participants how to search and use the MHS PastPerfect Online database. (Third Wednesdays in Jan, Apr, July, and Oct at 12PM; Limited to 12. Sign up in advance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
CRUISE - The Black Sea aboard Oceania Riviera
September 19 - October 2, 2014
Join us as we see Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and Greece. Eric Baxter from AAA Northern New England and a MHS Trustee will once again serve as your escort throughout trip.
This Rebellion: Maine and the Civil War
(June 28, 2013 – May 26, 2014)
(June 28, 2013 – May 26, 2014)
This Rebellion showcases a rich array of MHS's Civil War collections related to Maine soldiers' experiences during and after the war. Items in the MHS museum and library collections that help tell the human story of the Civil War inspire this exhibit.
A Memorial Wall presents the names of members of Maine regiments who died during the war. It lists their names, ranks, regiments, and hometowns. The wall also lists those who were missing in action. Read More.
From Chop Suey to Washington Pie: Maine Menus
February 24 thru April 2014
This exhibit highlights a wonderful collection of menus from all over the state of Maine; as far north as Greenville, as far south as York, as far west as the Rangeley Lakes, as well as from the coastal towns and islands. There are also examples "from away," from ships, our nation's capital, and from London--all of which relate to Maine or Maine people. Read More
Maine Memory Network
Offers online access to numerous Web–based exhibits and a constantly growing collection of nearly 30,000 historical documents, images, and objects contributed by more than 270 organizations around Maine. New exhibits added regularly. Go to www.mainememory.net.