Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Events at the Maine Historical Society

Events on this page: April | May | June | July | Ongoing & Family Programs | Annual Cruise | Exhibits

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.

SIGN UP for E-mail notifications of programs and events

April Programs

Sanitary Concerns: Portlander Harriet Eaton, State Relief Work, and the Fight over Federal Benevolence during the Civil War

Thursday, April 24, 7:00 pm
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.

May Programs

Longfellow and the Occult: <i>A Talk and Open House to Kick off the 2014 Wadsworth-Longfellow House Season</i>

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. Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members. Reserve your seat online.

An Evening in the 1920s

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

African Americans & the U.S. Government During and After the Civil War

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 the relationship between the federal government and all individuals in the United States. 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 evolution of U.S. citizenship. $5 for MHS members; $10 for non-members. Reserve your seat online.

Soldier's Monument, Lewiston, 1868. MMN #6428

Soldier's Monument, Lewiston, 1868. MMN #6428

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. $10 general public; $7 students. Purchase tickets online.

“We respect the flag, but…”: Opposition to the Civil War in Down East Maine

Tuesday, May 13, 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. Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members. Reserve your seat online.

Genealogy Research Trip to Boston

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. Purchase your bus ticket online. *Does not include admission to NEHGS Library (NEHGS Admission: NEHGS Members: Free; non-NEHGS members: $15).

Freedom Trail Marker by Daniel Minter

Freedom Trail Marker by Daniel Minter

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. Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members Reserve your seat online.

Maine Memory Network Contributing Partner Conference

Thursday, May 22, 09:00 am – 4:00 pm
Maine Memory Network Contributing Partner Conference

Current, new, and prospective Maine Memory Network Contributing Partners (CPs) are cordially invited to this one-day conference on the MHS campus in Portland.

In addition to learning the latest about Maine Memory content and tools, the agenda includes:

* keynote address by Tom Rieger, Director of Imaging Services, Northeast Document Conservation Center, on
the latest trends in digital preservation,
* afternoon plenary by Charles Bacall, Partner, Verrill Dana LLP, on copyright issues,
* breakout sessions on digital photography and building a organizational website on Maine Memory,
* lightning talks from a variety of Maine Memory contributors about their experiences,
* facilitated discussion sessions about how Maine Memory can meet your organization's needs,
* a closing reception and optional campus tours.

Download the complete program flyer.

Advance registration required. Registration includes lunch, all sessions, materials, and reception. Cost: $40 per person*; or $35 per person* for 3 or more from a single organization. Register online by May 16 *Online processing fee not included.

June Programs

Third Annual Vintage Base Ball Day

Saturday, June 21, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
In partnership with Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society, Scarborough Historical Society, and South Portland Historical Society
Third Annual Vintage Base Ball Day

Featuring the Dirigo Base Ball Club, the Essex Base Ball Organization, and the Presumpscot Base Ball Club

Kicking off MHS's summer programming once again is a fun, festive, family-friendly, and FREE day of 19th century baseball! Last year, more than 200 people attended the double-header Vintage Baseball event at Southern Maine Community College’s baseball field on Fort Road in South Portland. This year will feature a triple-header, a special vintage ball clinic for kids, display items from the teams, and grill food provided by the SMCC Athletic Department. We hope you’ll grab some friends and come have some unique historical fun by the ocean. Come for one game, or come for all.

The teams will play three nine-inning games (60-90 minutes each): Game 1, 11AM-12:30PM; Game 2, 12:45-3:15 (includes clinic for kids); Game 3, 3:30-5PM. (Times are approximate.)

The clinic for kids, takes place mid-way through Game 2, and is open to any young person who wishes to participate. Kids will learn the 19th century rules, play catch, run the bases, and more. Between all the games, team members interact with the crowd and answer questions. The games are free and open to the public.

Maine's Dirigo Vintage Base Ball Club and Presumpscot Base Ball Club are educational and living history organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting the game of base ball as it was played during the mid-nineteenth century. The Essex Base Ball Organization, a growing league based in Newbury, Massachusetts, also plays by rules and customs of the 19th century. They wear period uniforms and play on an open field. EBBO has a well-established outreach program that focuses on education and engagement as well as playing the games.

July Programs

A Public Reading of the the Declaration of Independence

Friday, July 4, 12:00 pm
Celebrate the 4th of July!
A Public Reading of the the Declaration of Independence

With Former State Representative Herb Adams

An annual tradition not to be missed! Join MHS to celebrate the Fourth of July with a public reading, by former State Representative Herb Adams, of the Declaration of Independence in front of the Longfellow House at 489 Congress Street. Lemonade and cookies will be served. This event is free.

This half-hour event kicks off a series of July 4th Portland events. Visit for a full schedule of activities.
MHS owns one of only 25 surviving copies of the rare 1776 Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration. See and zoom into Maine Historical's copy online.

51-53 Exchange St, Portland, 1924 (MMN #50790)

51-53 Exchange St, Portland, 1924 (MMN #50790)

Tuesday, July 15, 12:00 pm
Portland in the '20s: Understanding City Life via the 1924 Tax Records

Speakers: Kathy Amoroso and Scott Hanson

After three years of research, scanning, and cataloging, the entire Portland 1924 Tax Records--complete with photos of every taxable property in the city at that time--are now on Maine Memory Network. Created as part of a city-wide tax reevaluation following a reorganization of the city government in 1923, the fragile records are now fully searchable to the public. Scott Hanson, Architectural Historian with Sutherland Conservation & Consulting, will talk about the records, their historical significance, and what information can be gleaned from them. Kathy Amoroso, Maine Historical Society’s Director of Digital Engagement, will demonstrate how to search and find these records on Maine Memory Network.

Student Spotlight Talk: Defining a Nuisance: Pollution, Science, and Environmental Politics on Maine's Androscoggin River

Tuesday, July 22, 12:00 pm
In partnership with Maine Audubon
Student Spotlight Talk: Defining a Nuisance: Pollution, Science, and Environmental Politics on Maine's Androscoggin River

Speaker: Wallace Scot McFarlane

Based on original research from an honors project completed at Bowdoin College in 2009 and a subsequent article published in Environmental History, Scot McFarlane explores the birth of the environmental movement in Maine by focusing on the heavily polluted Androscoggin River. Scot McFarlane conducted some of his research at MHS's Brown Research Library.

Whether because of the unsightly sludge or nausea-inducing odors, starting in the 1940s, Mainers found it impossible to ignore the Androscoggin. Scientists created novel methods of cleaning the river only to find that citizens were losing their patience with the limited results and unintended consequences of these large-scale experiments.

Scot McFarlane’s honors thesis was a co-winner of the 2009 Bowdoin History Department’s Class of 1875 Prize in American History. In 2011, he received a master of arts degree in teaching from Tufts University while simultaneously teaching humanities at Codman Academy Charter School in Boston. Currently, Scot McFarlane teaches history and writing at Chemeketa Community College in Oregon; he will be starting a PhD in history at Columbia this fall.

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) .

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

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, Aug, and Nov, at 12PM. Sign up in advance by sending an email to

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

Regional Genealogy Programs, Events, and Conferences

Annual Cruise

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.
Get Details.


image of exhibit banner

This Rebellion: Maine and the Civil War
(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.


John Nichols, Lewiston, ca. 1880
John Nichols, Lewiston, ca. 1880

From Slavery to Maine
April 4 - May 26, 2014

A number of former slaves, probably several hundred, settled in Maine during and after the Civil War. Some came through the auspices of Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, a native of Leeds and head of the Freedman's Bureau; some with individual soldiers, and others on their own. Letters, photographs, and newspaper articles tell the story of a few of the former slaves who came to Maine in the 1860s. 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


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 Support our efforts and become a member today.