Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: June | July | August | September | Ongoing Programs | Podcasts | Group Trips | 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.

June Programs

Wednesday, June 29, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Members Exhibition Opening: Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866

G. Frederick Morse painting of Portland fire, 1866. MMN #42792

G. Frederick Morse painting of Portland fire, 1866. MMN #42792

Members of Maine Historical Society are invited for an exclusive look at Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866, our exhibit examining the infamous fire of July 4, 1866. Maine State Historian Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. will make remarks.

“Today we live in a city largely shaped by its rebuilding after the Great Fire 150 years ago,” says Shettleworth. “The Old Port, the Deering Street neighborhood, and the Western Promenade area are all products of the rebirth of Portland that followed the fire.”

RSVP to Kate Raymond at (207) 774-182 ext. 216 or kraymond@mainehistory.org. Exhibition is open to the public June 30-October 2 during regular museum hours, and is included in regular museum admission.

Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866 and related programs are supported by Luminato Condos: Building inspiration for a city on the rise.

July Programs

Friday, July 1, 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866 Public Exhibition Opening

G. Frederick Morse painting of Portland fire, 1866. MMN #42792

G. Frederick Morse painting of Portland fire, 1866. MMN #42792

On July 4, 1866, fireworks caused a fire on the waterfront of Portland that quickly overtook much of the city. The fire spread from High Street to the slopes of Munjoy Hill, leaving 10,000 people homeless, destroying 1,800 buildings, and causing 12 million dollars in damage. Through the poignant imagery of the fire’s destruction, this exhibit will show the dramatic impact of the fire on the development of the city. Photographs of the fire’s aftermath, memorial paintings, maps, and commemorative newspapers shown with objects that survived the fire will bring the visitor back to this pivotal time in Portland’s urban history. State Historian Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. curated the exhibit on this sesquicentennial anniversary of the great event.

The opening takes place during the First Friday Art Walk and is free to visitors. Exhibition is open to the public June 30-October 2 during regular museum hours, and is included in regular museum admission.

Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866 and related programs are supported by Luminato Condos: Building inspiration for a city on the rise.

Monday, July 4

Independence Day Celebrations at MHS

Independence Day Celebrations at MHS

With Former State Representative Herb Adams

Join MHS to celebrate the Fourth of July with these special programs!

+ Our great annual tradition: a public reading by former State Representative Herb Adams of the Declaration of Independence in front of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House--lemonade, cookies and souvenir flags will be available (12pm--free)
+ Walking tours of the route of the Great Portland Fire of 1866 (11am & 1pm)
+ Tours of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House (11am & 1pm)

Tours: $15/ adults, $12/ seniors & students, $3/ children 6-17; free for children 5 & younger. To register in advance, call Visitor Services Manager John Babin at (207) 774-1822 ext. 212.

Wednesday, July 6, 10:00 am

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: The Camping Trip That Changed America

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: The Camping Trip That Changed America

Children’s Hour returns to Maine Historical Society this summer! Join us each month for the reading of a favorite story book followed by crafts and activities for the whole family. In recognition of the centennial of both Acadia National Park and the National Park System, we’ll explore the fun and wonder of the great outdoors throughout the series!

In July we'll read The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock. The accompanying craft is making popsicle stick tents.

Weather permitting, all programs will be held in the Longfellow Garden. Light refreshments will be provided. All programs are free; registration is recommended. All are welcome; recommended for ages 4-9. All children must be accompanied by a caregiver.

To register or request additional information please contact Manager of Education and Interpretive Programs, Kathleen Neumann at 207-774-1822, ext. 214, email kneumann@mainehistory.org.

Coming up!
August 10, 10am
A is for Acadia: Mount Desert Island from A to Z by Ruth Gortner Grierson

September 7, 10am
When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs

Wednesday, July 6, 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 calling 774-1822 x207.)

Wednesday, July 6, 6:00 pm

The Great Portland Fire: Lecture by Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

In companion to Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866--our exhibit examining the city's devastating fire of July 4, 1866--join us for a fascinating look at the history behind this infamous event. On this sesquicentennial anniversary of the fire, Maine State Historian Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. will provide an in-depth examination of the reason for the fire, its impact on the city of Portland, how the city rose from the ashes to rebuild, and the ephemera and memory of this important event on generations of Portland families.

$5 MHS Members; $10 general admission.

Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866 and related programs are supported by Luminato Condos: Building inspiration for a city on the rise.

Register today!

Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 15, 2016

Junior Docent Camp: Session 1 (grades 3-5)

Junior Docent Camp: Session 1 (grades 3-5)

Ever wonder what life was like before video games? Looking for a chance to step back in time? Want to be a history detective? Then Junior Docent Camp at MHS is for you!

Participants in Junior Docent Camp will explore life in 18th and 19th century Portland and go behind the scenes of Maine's oldest historic house museum. The camp is based at the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the boyhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The mix of indoor and outdoor activities will include 19th century games, gardening, crafts, cooking, and storytelling. We'll learn how Henry and his siblings played, dined, studied, cleaned up, and even got into trouble!

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with librarians and museum staff, and conduct research on a topic or object of their choice. At the end of the week, all participants will be fully trained and prepared to give a tour of the house to family members and guests of their choice. After the tour, families and campers are encouraged to join us in the Longfellow Garden for a brown bag lunch.

Session 1 is for students entering grades 3-5. July 11-15 from 9am-1pm.
Session 2 is for students entering grades 6-8, and for Session 1 graduates. July 18-22 from 9am-1pm.

To register or request more information, contact Kathleen Neumann, Manager of Education and Interpretive Programs, at kneumann@mainehistory.org or (207) 774-1822 ext. 214.

Thursday, July 14, 12:00 – 12:30 pm

Curator Tour: Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Join Maine State Historian Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. for an insider’s view of the creation of Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866--our exhibit examining the city's devastating fire of July 4, 1866.

“Today we live in a city largely shaped by its rebuilding after the Great Fire 150 years ago,” says Shettleworth. “The Old Port, the Deering Street neighborhood, and the Western Promenade area are all products of the rebirth of Portland that followed the fire.”

Free for MHS Members; $8 general admission.

Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866 and related programs are supported by Luminato Condos: Building inspiration for a city on the rise.

Register today!

Monday, July 18 – Friday, July 22, 2016

Junior Docent Camp: Session 2 (grades 6-8 and Session 1 grads)

Junior Docent Camp: Session 2 (grades 6-8 and Session 1 grads)

Ever wonder what life was like before video games? Looking for a chance to step back in time? Want to be a history detective? Then Junior Docent Camp at MHS is for you!

Participants in Junior Docent Camp will explore life in 18th and 19th century Portland and go behind the scenes of Maine's oldest historic house museum. The camp is based at the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the boyhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The mix of indoor and outdoor activities will include 19th century games, gardening, crafts, cooking, and storytelling. We'll learn how Henry and his siblings played, dined, studied, cleaned up, and even got into trouble!

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with librarians and museum staff, and conduct research on a topic or object of their choice. At the end of the week, all participants will be fully trained and prepared to give a tour of the house to family members and guests of their choice. After the tour, families and campers are encouraged to join us in the Longfellow Garden for a brown bag lunch.

Session 1 is for students entering grades 3-5. July 11-15 from 9am-1pm.
Session 2 is for students entering grades 6-8, and for Session 1 graduates. July 18-22 from 9am-1pm.

To register or request more information, contact Kathleen Neumann, Manager of Education and Interpretive Programs, at kneumann@mainehistory.org or (207) 774-1822 ext. 214.

August Programs

Wednesday, August 10, 10:00 am

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: A is for Acadia: Mount Desert Island from A to Z

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: A is for Acadia: Mount Desert Island from A to Z

Children’s Hour returns to Maine Historical Society this summer! Join us each month for the reading of a favorite story book followed by crafts and activities for the whole family. In recognition of the centennial of both Acadia National Park and the National Park System, we’ll explore the fun and wonder of the great outdoors throughout the series!

Weather permitting, all programs will be held in the Longfellow Garden. Light refreshments will be provided. All programs are free; registration is recommended. All are welcome; recommended for ages 4-9. All children must be accompanied by a caregiver.

To register or request additional information please contact Manager of Education and Interpretive Programs, Kathleen Neumann at 207-774-1822, ext. 214, email kneumann@mainehistory.org.

Coming up!
September 7, 10am
When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs

September Programs

Wednesday, September 7, 10:00 am

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: When We Go Camping

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: When We Go Camping

Children’s Hour returns to Maine Historical Society this summer! Join us each month for the reading of a favorite story book followed by crafts and activities for the whole family. In recognition of the centennial of both Acadia National Park and the National Park System, we’ll explore the fun and wonder of the great outdoors throughout the series!

Weather permitting, all programs will be held in the Longfellow Garden. Light refreshments will be provided. All programs are free; registration is recommended. All are welcome; recommended for ages 4-9. All children must be accompanied by a caregiver.

To register or request additional information please contact Manager of Education and Interpretive Programs, Kathleen Neumann at 207-774-1822, ext. 214, email kneumann@mainehistory.org.

Program Podcasts

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Group Trips

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

On the Scenic Cadillac Mt. Road, Bar Harbor, ca. 1935

Designing Acadia: Creating Maine's National Park Experience

June 17, 2016 through January 14, 2017
MHS Gallery

For one hundred years, Acadia National Park has captured the American imagination and stood as the most recognizable symbol of Maine's important natural history and identity. Join us during Acadia's centennial anniversary year for an exploration of the landscape design that visitors continue to experience today. Read More.

 

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.

 

George Frederick Morse painting of the Portland fire 1866

COMING SOON: Images of Destruction: Remembering the Great Portland Fire of 1866

June 30 through October 2, 2016
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall and Showcase Gallery

On July 4, 1866, fireworks caused a fire on the waterfront of Portland that quickly overtook much of the city. Photographs of the fire's aftermath, memorial paintings, maps, and commemorative newspapers shown with objects that survived the fire will bring the visitor back to this pivotal time in Portland's urban history. 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.

Regional Genealogy Programs, Events, and Conferences

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