Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

Upcoming Programs & Events at the Maine Historical Society

Events on this page: January | February | March | April | Ongoing & Family Programs | Annual Trip | Exhibitions | 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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January Programs

Tuesday, January 27 – Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MHS Book Group: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, ca. 1880 (MMN #5417)

Wadsworth-Longfellow House, ca. 1880 (MMN #5417)

Facilitator: Larissa Vigue Picard, Director of Education

Join us this January through May for our sixth annual MHS reading group--a great opportunity to engage in literary discussions about history and connect with members of the MHS community.

“Home Is Where the Heart Is” takes as its stepping off point the 2014-2015 MHS museum exhibition, Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland. Session readings explore themes of home, family, place, immigration, and community in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry with a historical resonance. There are even a couple haunted houses in the mix!

Books must be acquired on your own and include Tracy Kidder's House, Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger, Terry Farish's The Good Braider, and George Howe Colt's The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home. A number of additional short readings (essays, poetry, and a short story) will be provided as handouts or are available online.

WHEN: Tuesdays 1/27, 2/24, 3/24, 4/28, 5/26 @ 6:30PM
WHERE: MHS Lecture Hall
COST: $20 MHS members / $30 non-members (includes handouts/resources, facilitation, and refreshments)
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Friday, January 23. Registration is required; space is limited. To sign up, email lvpicard@mainehistory.org for a registration form and copy of the full reading list, drop by the MHS museum store to register on-site, or download the registration form and full reading list.

Thursday, January 29, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Local History Local Schools Celebration: Hall Elementary School

Local History Local Schools Celebration: Hall Elementary School

Students in fourth and fifth grade from Portland's Hall Elementary School present the results of their month long Local History Local Schools units of study based on the current MHS gallery exhibition, "Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland." Student work will be on display in the King Conference Room and a short presentation at 5:30PM and reception will take place in the Shettleworth Lecture Hall. Please join us to congratulate these students on their hard work!

Local History Local Schools involves in-classroom visits from MHS educators as well as a trip to the MHS exhibition gallery and Wadsworth-Longfellow House; research and art-making; and a family celebration displaying student work in the museum at the project's culmination. Culminating projects are custom-designed for each LHLS group and based on school curriculum.

Saturday, January 31, 1:30 pm

Presented in partnership with Spirits Alive
Post Mortem Mourning Practices in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century New England

Mrs. William H. Herbert post-mortem portrait, ca. 1843 (MMN# 49706)

Mrs. William H. Herbert post-mortem portrait, ca. 1843 (MMN# 49706)

Speaker: Libby Bischof, Associate Professor of History, USM

In addition to wearing only black apparel for up to a year, mourners in New England abided by fashions and customs that demonstrated intense grief. Libby Bischof, Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern Maine and a board member of Spirits Alive, the friend's group of Portland's historic Eastern Cemetery, will lead us in an exploration of these practices, utilizing examples from Maine Historical Society's collections.

This program is free and open to the public.

February Programs

Tuesday, February 3, 12:00 pm

The History of Political Cartoons

The History of Political Cartoons

Speaker: Erin Bishop, Director, Maine Archives & Museums

American political cartoons have been a powerful and popular art form since the late eighteenth-century. A journalistic shorthand, editorial cartoons express powerful ideas, distilling complex issues into a single potent image. In this presentation, historian Erin Bishop will break down the basic techniques cartoonists use to convey meaning. Armed with an understanding of these tools, participants will explore famous and noteworthy cartoons about key issues in American politics, including early works by Benjamin Franklin and the groundbreaking Thomas Nast to more modern cartoonists such as Bill Mauldin, Herb Block and Pat Oliphant.

Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members. Pay at the door.

Thursday, February 5 – Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love in the Longfellow House: Couples Guided Tour

19th century Valentine. MMN #4137

19th century Valentine. MMN #4137

Tour Guides: Kathleen Neumann, Manager of School & Interpretive Programs; John Babin, Visitor Services Manager

Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.
(The Spanish Student, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

This new tour in celebration of Valentine’s Day focuses on the amorous history of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. Bring that special someone and learn about 19th century courtship rituals and the family’s many romances, heartbreaks, marriages, and more—including Henry’s honeymoon! Prior to the tour, guests enjoy light snacks, locally-made chocolates, and a glass of champagne or sparkling cider, and leave with a reproduction print of a vintage Valentine from our collection. Sponsored by Haven's Candies and Maine Beer & Beverage.

There are five tour evenings: February 5, 6, 12, 13, and 14. Tour time is 6-7:30 PM. RSVPs are required and each tour is limited to 12 (6 couples). Cost: $40/couple for MHS members; $50/couple non-members. Contact Visitor Services Manager John Babin at jbabin@mainehistory.org or 774-1822 x212 to reserve a spot.

Tuesday, February 10, 3:30 – 4:30 pm

The Children's Hour: Story & Craft Activity for Kids

The Children's Hour: Story & Craft Activity for Kids

Facilitator: Kathleen Neumann, Manager of School and Interpretative Programs

Between the dark and the daylight, / When the night is beginning to lower, / Comes a pause in the day's occupations, / That is known as the Children's Hour… -- from "The Children’s Hour" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1863

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was often called “the children’s poet” and his love of children is still well remembered. Beginning this October, Maine Historical Society invites children ages 4-9 to celebrate reading and literature at Longfellow’s childhood home with an hour-long program called The Children’s Hour. The program begins with a read-aloud of a favorite children’s book in or around the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, followed by a fun craft-making activity inspired by the story.

February's book is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The program is free and refreshments will be served. Participating children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver; check-in at the Museum Store. Space is limited. Please call or email the Manager of School and Interpretative Programs the Friday before the program to reserve a spot: 207-774-1822, x214, kneumann@mainehistory.org.

Wednesday, February 18, 12:00 pm

Vintage Valentines at MHS—Online and On the Shelf

Mechanical valentine, MMN #4134

Mechanical valentine, MMN #4134

Speakers: Kathy Amoroso and Nancy Noble

Includes Maine Memory Network Demonstration

Valentine's Day cards have long been a way to express feelings of romance or love for family or friends. Kathy Amoroso, MHS Director of Digital Engagement, and Nancy Noble, MHS Archivist/Cataloger, share a wide variety of Valentine cards from the MHS collections—including fringed Valentines, a “penny dreadful,” a homemade Valentine, Raphael Tuck postcards, and a sweet assortment of mechanical Valentines--that show how which the expression of those sentiments has changed over time. During the program, you'll learn about Maine Memory's broad array of content and how to search the network.

Free but RSVP to kamoroso@mainehistory.org.

Thursday, February 19, 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Presented in partnership with Greater Portland Landmarks, The Maine Jewish Museum, and the India Street Neighborhood Association
A Neighborhood in Transition: Immigration and the India Street Neighborhood

A Neighborhood in Transition: Immigration and the India Street Neighborhood

Speaker: Julie Larry, ttl architects

Location: Maine Jewish Museum, 267 Congress Street, Portland

From its roots as the site of the first European settlement in the 17th century through the 20th century, the India Street neighborhood has been the first home for many of Portland’s immigrant families. Physically altered by war, industrial development, fire, and mid-20th century revitalization plans, the neighborhood still reflects the story of its immigrant past.

Julie Larry, an architectural historian at ttl architects, co-authored the recent history of the India Street Neighborhood for the City of Portland and served as the Principal-in-Charge of the neighborhood’s historic resources survey. Historic images, maps, census data, city directories, and genealogical information from local and national collections were used to gather information on the people and families that shaped the India Street neighborhood in ways large and small. The presentation will focus on their stories and the impact successive waves of immigrant settlement had on the neighborhood.

Free and open to the public.

Friday, February 20, 1:00 – 5:30 pm

Historian's Forum on Architectural Collections

Historian's Forum on Architectural Collections

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

The Maine Historical Society invites you to attend the 2nd Annual Historian’s Forum on Friday, February 20, from 1:00 to 5:30 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, hear from scholars working closely with our collections, and discuss collecting and cultivating architectural drawings as primary resource documents.

The forum also serves as an opportunity to view our current exhibition Wholesome Habitations: Architectural Collections of the Maine Historical Society, showcasing fine examples from the Brown Research Library’s vast architectural holdings. Please stay for a wine and cheese reception!

Presentations:

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

A Photographic Portrait of Greater Portland by Mark Marchesi, local photographer documenting Portland’s Historic Built Environment

TICKETS
Tickets are required. Please purchase your ticket online by Wednesday, February 18, or call Laura Webb at 207-774-1822 ext. 216.

$10 MHS Members/ $20 Non-Members/ $50 New Members ($10 Ticket + $40 Annual Membership)

Eventbrite - MHS Historian's Forum on Architectural Collections

Saturday, February 28, 2:00 pm

The Children's Hour: Henry's 208th Birthday Party!

The Children's Hour: Henry's 208th Birthday Party!

Join us for a very special Children's Hour program this month -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 208th birthday celebration! The whole family is invited to hear a special story about Henry, listen to guest reader and former State Representative Herb Adams read "Paul Revere's Ride," participate in craft activities, make birthday cards for Henry, and enjoy a piece of birthday cake. The Longfellow House will even be open for walk-throughs! This event is free and open to the public.

The Children's Hour program takes place 1-2 times per month and is based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem of the same name. The program begins with a read-aloud of a favorite children’s book, followed by a craft-making activity inspired by the story, and is designed for children 4-9. If you would like to register your child for this program on an ongoing basis, please contact Kathleen Neumann, Manager of School and Interpretive Programs, at kneumann@mainehistory.org.

March Programs

Tuesday, March 3, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

In partnership with Maine Archives & Museums
MAM March Mixer

MAM March Mixer

Larissa Vigue Picard, MHS Director of Education, and Erin Bishop, of Maine Archives and Museums, host this late afternoon gathering for MAM members. Drinks and snacks will be provided. This is a great opportunity to mix, mingle and network with your colleagues in the field and check out the latest MHS exhibitions.

Free; open to MAM members. RSVP required: Please email lvpicard@mainehistory.org by Friday, February 27.

Wednesday, March 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 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, March 5, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Local History Local Schools Celebration: Small Elementary School

Local History Local Schools Celebration: Small Elementary School

Students from South Portland's Small Elementary School present the results of their month long Local History Local Schools units of study based on the current MHS gallery exhibition, "Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland." Student work will be on display in the King Conference Room and a short presentation at 5:30PM and reception will take place in the Shettleworth Lecture Hall. Please join us to congratulate these students on their hard work!

Local History Local Schools involves in-classroom visits from MHS educators as well as a trip to the MHS exhibition gallery and Wadsworth-Longfellow House; research and art-making; and a family celebration displaying student work in the museum at the project's culmination. Culminating projects are custom-designed for each LHLS group and based on school curriculum.

Tuesday, March 17, 12:00 pm

Telegraph: The Victorian Twitter

Willowbrook Telegraph Machines

Willowbrook Telegraph Machines

Speakers: Charles Kaufman and Robert Schmick

Charles "Chip" Kaufman, Director of the Longfellow Chorus, and Bob Schmick, Director of 19th Century Willowbrook, demonstrate and discuss the history of the telegraph with regard to musical compositions. The lecture precedes a concert by the Longfellow Chorus Orchestra on Saturday, March 21, at 4PM, at Portland High School. At that concert, titled "Music from the Gilded Age: Harvard's Boston Theatre Orchestra Collection," one of the pieces on the program is the "Telegraph Polka," composed in 1870, which calls for an actual telegraph machine to be used as a percussion instrument.

The lecture includes other samples of concert pieces including the Irish favorite, "Come Back to Erin" (in light of St. Patrick's Day), a hunting song using percussion and piccolos to represent gunshots and birds, and the "Velocipede Galop," for which Schmick will show off a 1870s-era specimen from Willowbrook. (Velocipede is a collective term for forerunners of wheeled, human-powered vehicles). At the concert, that piece will be performed with a unicycle routine by Scarborough's Gym Dandies circus group.

Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members. Pay at the door.

Thursday, March 26, 7:00 pm

Presented in partnership with Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England
Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother

Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother

Speaker: Eve LaPlante

Award-winning biographer Eve LaPlante joins us to celebrate Women's History Month with a talk about Longfellow contemporary Louisa May Alcott and the intellectual and emotional center of her world--her mother. LaPlante's dual biography on the mother and daughter was named by NPR as one of the 10 best books of 2012.

Alcott was one of the most successful and bestselling authors of her day, earning more than any of her male contemporaries. Her classic Little Women has been a mainstay in American literature since its release nearly 150 years ago. Biographers have consistently attributed Louisa’s uncommon success to her father, Bronson Alcott, assuming that this outspoken idealist was the source of his daughter’s progressive thinking and remarkable independence. Eve LaPlante explodes these myths, showing that it was Louisa’s actual “Marmee,” Abigail May Alcott. Abigail, whose difficult life both inspired and served as a warning to her devoted daughters, pushed Louisa to excel at writing and to chase her unconventional dreams in a male-dominated world.

A New Englander with degrees from Princeton and Harvard, LaPlante has published articles, essays, and five nonfiction books. Her ancestor biographies “have been praised,” according to the Boston Book Festival, “as reminiscent of a more celebratory Nathaniel Hawthorne.” Salem Witch Judge, about the 1692 judge, and LaPlante ancestor, who became an abolitionist and feminist, won the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction. LaPlante is also a cousin of Louisa May Alcott and a great-niece of Abigail May Alcott. She resides in New England with her husband and four children.

Cost: Free for MHS members; $8 for non-members. Pay at the door.

Tuesday, March 31, 12:00 pm

At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton

At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton

Speaker: Gregory Flemming

Based on a rare manuscript from 1725, At the Point of a Cutlass uncovers the amazing voyage of Philip Ashton--a 19-year old fisherman who was captured by pirates, escaped on an uninhabited Caribbean island, and then miraculously arrived back home three years later to tell his incredible story. Drawn from Ashton’s own first-person account, as well as logbooks, trial records, and new archival evidence, the book opens a fascinating window into the world of a pirate ship and the daring life of a castaway nearly three hundred years ago. The Boston Globe says it “delivers blood-thirsty pirates and plenty of action and excitement on the high seas. ...In Ashton’s story, Flemming struck it rich.”

Greg Flemming is a former journalist with a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A New England native, he is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. He lives with his family in New England. During the talk, Flemming will discuss a diary he discovered in MHS’s Brown Library that contributed to his research.

Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 non-members.

April Programs

Tuesday, April 14, 12:00 pm

Voting Down the Rose

Voting Down the Rose

Speaker: Anne B. Gass

Anne B. Gass’s Voting Down the Rose is a lively account of Maine native Florence Brooks Whitehouse’s efforts to win women voting rights in the decisive final years of the campaign, 1914-1920. Considered radical for picketing the White House, Florence helped win women suffrage against a backdrop of conservative views of women’s roles, political intrigues, WWI, and the 1918 influenza epidemic. In addition to her suffrage research, Gass runs her own business, ABG Consulting, in which she helps nonprofits and local and state government agencies address issues such as homelessness and affordable housing. Cost: Free to MHS members; $5 non-member. Pay at the door.

Thursday, April 30, 7:00 pm

The 2015 Olmsted Lecture,
in partnership with the Olmsted Alliance

Skylands: Restoration of a Jens Jensen Landscape

Skylands: Restoration of a Jens Jensen Landscape

Speaker: Patrick Chassé, ASLA

Although known for his work in the Midwest, early 20th century landscape architect Jens Jensen designed a rare landscape in the east: “Skylands” on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Built as a summer home for Edsel and Eleanor Ford, “Skylands” is now famously owned by Martha Stewart, who uses it throughout the year. When she bought Skylands in 1997, she asked Chassé to help restore and re-design parts of the property to Jensen's standards. This year's Olmsted Lecture highlights--with many images!--Jensen’s approach to a Maine landscape, along with the challenges and compromises of bringing this historic landscape back to its natural concept and glory.

Patrick Chassé, ASLA, is Maine born and bred. He earned a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design, after a B.S. in biology, graduate studies in botany, and a M.Ed. in environmental education from the University of Maine. Mr. Chassé maintains an active design practice, specializing in historic landscapes, reconstruction of natural plant communities, and design of new gardens, from Mt. Desert Island, Maine, to Istanbul. He was appointed the first Curator of Landscape at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 2004, and held that position until the end of last year (2009). He lectures at the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University, the New York Botanical Garden, and botanical gardens and symposia across the country and abroad. Patrick has been researching the life and work of Beatrix Farrand for more than 35 years, and was instrumental in saving her final home and garden at Garland Farm.

This event is free and open to the public.

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 nnoyes@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 - SOLD OUT - Call for Wait List

CRUISE - Elegant Elbe, River Cruisetour - Berlin to Prague
October 8 - October 21, 2015

Join MHS as we discover the natural beauty of former East Germany's dramatic landscape on a 13-day Elbe River cruise with Maine Historical Society. Start in Berlin and move on to tour the opulent palaces of Saxon monarchs and stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens; sail between the dramatic sandstone cliffs of Germany's "Saxon Switzerland." Get Trip Details.
Find out more about Viking River Cruises.

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.

 

exhibition logo

Wholesome Habitations: Architectural Collections of the Maine Historical Society
Opens October 3, 2014

Wholesome Habitations showcases the architectural collections of the Brown Library at Maine Historical Society. On display are various forms of architectural drawings and supplemental items, such as presentation drawings, elevations, floor plans, decorative elements, and photographs. 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.

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