Upcoming Programs & Events at the Maine Historical Society
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.
Friday, November 7, 09:30 am – 2:00 pm
Co-hosted by Maine Historical Society and Maine Humanities Council
Maine National History Day: A Teacher Workshop
Maine Historical Society and Maine Humanities Council co-host a one-day workshop for teachers of grades 6-12 on participating in Maine National History Day. The workshop runs from 9:30AM – 2:00PM in the MHS lecture hall. It is free of charge. A .5 CEU or certificate of attendance with credit hours will be available to teachers attending the full workshop.
The workshop will be facilitated by veteran History Day teachers and Maine NHD Coordinator John Taylor. The agenda will include hands-on activities and address all aspects of both the middle and high school levels of the competition. An opening address on the 2015 History Day theme, “Leadership and Legacy in History” will be given by Maine Historical Society curator Candace Kanes.
Advance registration is required. To sign up, email MHS Director of Education Larissa Vigue Picard at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include name, school, grade level, phone number, mailing address, request for CEUs if applicable, and indicate whether you have participated in History Day previously. For questions, please call Larissa at (207) 744-1522 x215.
Saturday, November 8, 09:00 am – 3:00 pm
Museum Shoppers Day
Visit our table at the Maine Audubon Society, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth, for a one-day museum store extravaganza. Nine area museums will have a wide array of goodies from their shops, including special seasonal items. It's a great opportunity to do your holiday shopping all in one place!
Tuesday, November 11, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
The Children's Hour: Weekly 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.
Tuesday, November 11, 3:30pm – The Wall by Eve Bunting
Tuesday, November 18, 3:30pm - Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin
Tuesday, November 25, 3:30pm - Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Karen and James Dean
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, email@example.com.
Friday, November 14, 5:30 – 6:45 pm
Presented in partnership with the American Library Association and the Maine Irish Heritage Center
Opening Reception for Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War Exhibition
LOCATION: Second Floor Reading Room, Brown Research Library
Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, a national traveling exhibition focusing on Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War, formally opens with a reception and brief remarks. Brown Library Director Jamie Rice will unveil her newly published Civil War bibliography. A special lecture by Lincoln historian Jared Peatman follows the reception. (See the next program listing for details on his talk.) These programs are free and open to the public.
Abraham Lincoln was elected the sixteenth President of the United States in 1860, at a time when the nation was falling apart. By the time he took the oath of office, seven states had already seceded from the Union. The exhibition vividly evokes Lincoln’s struggle to resolve the basic questions that divided Americans at the most perilous moment in the nation’s history: Was the United States truly one nation, or was it a confederacy of sovereign and separate states? How could a country founded on the belief that “all men are created equal” tolerate slavery? In a national crisis, would civil liberties be secure?
The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the exhibit with the help of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): Great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
In addition to Peatman's lecture, two other programs, on November 18 and December 2, are being offered in connection with the exhibition. Please see those program listings for more details.
Friday, November 14, 7:00 pm
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), joins us for the opening reception of the traveling exhibition, Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War. His talk reveals the interconnected history between the United States Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and constitutional theory around the world. This program is free and open to the public.
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.
Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War is on display in the Brown Library from November 12 to December 20. The exhibition is being co-sponsored by Maine Irish Heritage Center, and was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
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.
Tuesday, November 18, 12:00 pm
Maine During the Civil War
Speaker: Lee Webb
A PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Maine, Webb has been researching and writing extensively about Maine politics and culture during the war. He’ll share his research in this talk relating to the travelling exhibition, Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War, on display in the Brown Library from November 12 to December 20. This program is free and open to the public.
Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War is being co-sponsored by Maine Irish Heritage Center, and was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
Monday, November 24, 5:30 pm
Presented in partnership with Portland Landmarks, Portland Public Library, Friends of the Eastern Promenade, and the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization
The History and Significance of the Portland Company Complex
Speaker: Scott Hanson, Architectural Historian, Sutherland Conservation & Consulting
LOCATION: Rines Auditorium, Portland Public Library
Scott Hanson will present the findings of SCC’s recent report on the Portland Company complex. The 97-page report was commissioned by the City of Portland to document the historic significance and integrity of the complex and to examine its role in the history of Portland and Maine.
Based on extensive research in primary source materials, particularly the Portland Company collection of more than 25,000 documents and images at Maine Historical Society, the report documents the history of the company and the development of the complex between 1845 and 1983. Portland Company was the first fully self-contained complex built for the manufacture of steam locomotives in the United States and is the only surviving pre-Civil War locomotive factory in the nation. As the builder of more than 600 locomotives, hundreds of railroad cars, and boilers for hundreds of Maine-built ships, the Portland Company was once the city’s largest business.
The presentation will use numerous historic images and drawings from the MHS collection to help illustrate the history of the complex and will examine its significance at the local, state, and national levels.
The program is free and open to the public. For more information, or to reserve a spot, visit www.portlandlandmarks.org or contact Jennifer Pollick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-774-5561 ext. 104.
Friday, November 28 – Sunday, December 28, 2014
Celebrate the Season with MHS!
Glad Tidings: The Merry Friendship of Longfellow & Dickens
This holiday season, Maine Historical Society explores the friendship between the man who is said to have "invented America" and the man who is said to have "invented Christmas”—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Charles Dickens. Guests who tour the house will learn about both men, Dickens's visit to Portland, Christmas traditions of the Longfellow family (including stories about Christmas cooking!), and the enduring effects of A Christmas Carol on our modern understanding of the holiday.
Tours feature A Christmas Carol echoes throughout the rooms, a Dickens mini-exhibit, holiday décor by the Longfellow Garden Club, a scavenger hunt for kids, Scrooge Selfies, and sweet treats. As always, our museum store will feature special products--including those inspired by A Christmas Carol in a holiday bazaar that stretches into the Shettleworth Lecture Hall. Select weekend days will also feature pianist David Maxwell playing the Chickering piano in the parlor, or Portland blacksmith Sam Smith demonstrating his trade (and selling his wares) on the front lawn. (Date details below.)
MHS HOLIDAY SEASON - NOVEMBER 28 to DECEMBER 28
Tour Dates: November 28-30 (Fri-Sun); Dec 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 26-28 (Thurs-Sun)
Tour Times: 12-5PM (last tour leaves at 4PM)
David Maxwell, Chickering Piano: Nov 30, Dec 7, Dec 14 (Sundays); 1-3PM
Sam Smith, Blacksmith: Dec 6, Dec 13; 11AM-3PM
Holiday Bazaar: November 28 - December 28, Shettleworth Lecture Hall
Echoing A Christmas Carol's charity theme, we invite guests throughout the season to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to MHS’s holiday food drive.
Tuesday, December 2, 12:00 pm
Portland’s Irish in the Civil War
Speaker: Matthew Jude Barker
Did you know that the second-youngest recipient ever of the Medal of Honor was 14-year old John Anglin, son of Irish emigrants who grew up near Gorham's Corner? Or that Colonel Patrick R. Guiney, leader of Boston's Fighting Irish Ninth, also hailed from Portland? Hundreds of Irishmen and boys from Portland fought in the war, and more than 90 were killed or died from their wounds or disease. Fascinating facts like these are being unearthed by historian and genealogist Matthew Jude Barker as he works on his second book. Come hear some of the stories. This program is free and open to the public.
This program relates to the traveling exhibition, Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War, on display in the Brown Library from November 12 to December 20. The exhibition is being co-sponsored by Maine Irish Heritage Center, and was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
Friday, December 5, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
First Friday Art Walk: Holiday House Tours, Caroling, & Lincoln Exhibition
Don't miss December's full-to-bursting First Friday at MHS!
In addition to free admission to our museum and lecture hall galleries (featuring Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland and Wholesome Habitations: Architectural Collections of the Maine Historical Society), the brand new exhibition, Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War is up in the Brown Library's second floor reading room. This national traveling exhibition, co-hosted by the Maine Irish Heritage Center, focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s struggle to meet the constitutional challenges of the Civil War.
While you're on campus, take a special holiday tour in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, which this year focuses on the friendship of Longfellow and Dickens with echoes of A Christmas Carol throughout the rooms. In front of the house, members of the Deering High School chorus will delight passersby with holiday carols from 6-7:30PM.
During the Art Walk, the Museum Store will be open late!
The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the "Lincoln" exhibit with the help of a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): Great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
Tuesday, December 9, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Presented in partnership with University of Maine's Canadian-American Center, History Department, and Humanities Center
Reflections on Editing the Historical Atlas of Maine: A Scholarly Epic
Speaker: Richard Judd, Professor of History, University of Maine
Just in time for holiday gift-buying, Dr. Richard Judd joins us to talk about co-editing a brand new visual extravaganza of Maine history. After more than a decade of extensive research, the Historical Atlas of Maine presents in cartographic form--maps, paintings, graphs, and text--the historical geography of Maine from the end of the last ice age to the year 2000. Organized in four chronological sections, the Atlas tells the principal stories of the many people who have lived in Maine over the past 13,000 years. A reception and book-signing follows the presentation. Free and open to the public.
Dr. Richard Judd is editor of Maine Historical Society's Maine History journal and Professor of History at the University of Maine. In addition to the Atlas, his book publications include the forthcoming Second Nature: An Environmental History of New England; A History of New England Landscapes (2011); The Untilled Garden: Natural History and the Origins of American Conservation, 1730-1850 (2009); Natural States: The Environmental Imagination in Maine, Oregon, and the Nation (2003); Common Lands, Common People: The Origins of Conservation in Northern New England (1997); Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present (1995), and Aroostook: A Century of Logging in Northern Maine, 1831-1931 (1989).
Thursday, December 11, 7:00 pm
Presented in partnership with Portland Stage Company
An Evening with Longfellow and Dickens
Ever wish you could sit in on an intimate conversation between two literary giants? Now's your chance! Join us for a holiday evening of conversation, poetry, stories, and reminiscences with longtime friends Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Charles Dickens. How did the friendship begin and grow? What writings might they have shared with one another? What did Dickens think of Maine? And what were the origins of A Christmas Carol, anyway?
Portland Stage Company affiliates Daniel Noel ("Marley" in PSC's 2014 production of A Christmas Carol) and Andrew Harris bring Longfellow and Dickens to vivid life in front of our eyes.
A reception follows the performance. Advance registration required. Cost: $12 MHS members; $15 non-members. Reserve your seat online.
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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.)
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.
Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland
Opens June 27, 2014
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.
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.