Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: October | November | December | 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.

Please review our Refund and Return Policies for tickets and event admissions.

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.

October Programs

Thursday, October 19, 6:30 pm

Annual MHS Olmsted Lecture 2017

Annual MHS Olmsted Lecture 2017

Addy Smith-Reiman, Executive Director of Portland Society for Architecture and Board member for the National Association of Olmsted Parks, will deliver MHS’s annual Olmsted Lecture on the topic of Legacy in the Landscape of Change.

The environmental, economic, and equitable considerations that challenged Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. nearly two centuries ago confront contemporary practitioners in the planning, design, and stewardship of our public open spaces today. Parks, roads, civic squares, campuses, and communities are the literal common ground reflecting societal values and needs. As these needs and values change, some see progress, while others see threats. Is there a balance? Join in the discussion on the evolution of place, politics, and planning for these cultural and ecological systems – learning from our past to plan for our future.

$10 MHS Members; $10 Portland Society for Architecture Members; $20 general admission.

Register today!

Tuesday, October 24, 5:00 pm

Maine History Maker Award Honoring the Cianchette Family

Maine History Maker Award Honoring the Cianchette Family

Maine Historical Society’s annual celebration Maine History Maker Award honoring the Cianchette Family

Each year Maine Historical Society recognizes traditions of innovation, leadership, and commitment to community that have defined Maine throughout its history. This year, Maine Historical Society has selected the Cianchette family as its 2017 Maine History Maker. The award honors the direct descendants of Ralph and Edna Cianchette—their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. 100 years of Cianchette family history reflects essential aspects of the Maine experience—Ralph’s immigration to Maine, his sons’ service during World War II, and the brothers’ hustle and acumen in building Cianbro, Main Line Fence and other businesses. Now, in this century, we see the many ways in which their children and grandchildren continue to lead in diverse endeavors. Cianchette leadership—past, present, and future—is what we honor.

The program features:
• Presentation of the Maine History Maker Award to Ken Cianchette by MHS executive director Steve Bromage.
• Remarks by Mac Cianchette, “Cianbro: A Family Perspective”
• Panel discussion on visions for the state’s future with Andrea Cianchette Maker, an attorney at Pierce Atwood whose practice supports Maine businesses and whose civic leadership focuses on ensuring that Maine's economy will thrive in the future; Jason Cianchette, founder of Liquid Wireless and Huzzap, and focused on growing the digital economy here in Maine, and Michael Cianchette, business executive, former Chief Legal Counsel and Senior Advisor to Gov. Paul LePage, and Maine Turnpike Authority Member.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
5:00 pm Reception: Wine, Beer, and Light Fare
6:00 pm Maine History Award Ceremony
Location: Hannaford Hall at the University of Southern Maine 88 Bedford Street, Portland (free parking in USM garage)

Purchase Your Ticket or Become a Patron Here

Wednesday, October 25 – Monday, October 30, 2017

Longfellow's Haunted House

Longfellow's Haunted House

Don't miss our annual evening tour of the Longfellow House in the week leading up to Halloween! Based on Longfellow's poem, "Haunted Houses" ("All houses wherein men have lived and died / Are haunted houses") the tour is written and led by seasoned guide James Horrigan. It evokes the various family members that died in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House over its long history. Two tour types will be offered this year; one for families and one for adults.

Family Tour
This 30-minute tour is followed by cookies and cider in the ell of the house. Offered on October 27 and 28 only, at 5pm. Each tour is limited to 15 people. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. Cost: $10 MHS Members; $15 general admission.

+ Friday, October 27, 5:00pm - Register Here

+ Saturday, October 28, 5:00pm - SOLD OUT

Adult Tour
This 60-minute tour is followed by a variety of beverages – including beer and cider – and snacks in the ell of the house. There are 5 tour evenings: October 25-28, and 30 from 6-7:30pm. Advance reservations are required. Each tour is limited to 12 and appropriate for ages 21+. Cost: $15 MHS Members; $20 general admission

+ Wednesday, October 25, 6:00pm - SOLD OUT

+ Thursday, October 26, 6:00pm - SOLD OUT

+ Friday, October 27, 6:00pm - SOLD OUT

+ Saturday, October 28, 6:00pm - SOLD OUT

+ Monday, October 30, 6:00pm - SOLD OUT

November Programs

Wednesday, November 1, 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.

Free and open to the public. Limited to 10; sign up in advance by sending an email to or calling 774-1822 x207.

Saturday, November 11, 1:00 pm

Family Program – Charlie and the M.T.A.

Family Program – Charlie and the M.T.A.

Do you know why the transit fare card in Boston is called the CharlieCard? Readers of all ages are invited to join us and find out (and don’t worry, you won’t need an extra nickel to get in on the fun)! Join MHS for a very special edition of The Children’s Hour with author Julia M. O’Brien-Merrill and illustrator Caitlin Marquis as they share and read their new book Charlie on the M.T.A.: Did He Ever Return? Inspired by the beloved folk song composed for her father Walter A. O’Brien’s 1949 mayoral campaign and made by famous by the Kingston Trio, O’Brien-Merrill uses both history and the original “M.T.A.” song lyrics to take us on a trip beneath the streets of old Boston. The city and the song come to life in Marquis’ fun and colorful full-page illustrations. The program will feature a special exhibition of artifacts from MHS’s Walter A. O’Brien collection, as well as arts and crafts inspired by the story for the whole family, and maybe even some signing!

Program is free and open to the public. Children must be accompanied by a caregiver. All ages welcome!

Tuesday, November 21, 4:30 – 6:30 pm

Beer in the Garden: Traditional Toys & Games

Beer in the Garden: Traditional Toys & Games

Join us for beer and snacks, a rare opportunity to enjoy our historic garden in the evening, and a chance to see some very special artifacts from our collections!

Free for MHS Members; $5 general admission. Must be 21+. RSVP not required – drop in any time! Apply your program fee to MHS membership!

Beer in the Garden is sponsored by Shipyard Brewing Company.

Monday, November 27, 7:00 pm

A Christmas Carol, performed by Gerald Dickens

photo © Ian Dickens

photo © Ian Dickens

Maine Historical Society is pleased to offer a special, one-time performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, performed by Dickens’ great-great-grandson, Gerald Dickens. This one-man show is inspired by the 1860s performances by Charles Dickens. Offered in the historic First Parish Church, this is a rare opportunity to see this historic work of literature this holiday season. Gerald Dickens has worked as an actor, director, and producer for many years and has appeared at several arts and literary festivals in the United Kingdom. For event details, please email or call 207-774-1822 or visit

*Note: photography or audio/video recording during the performance is prohibited.

Performance venue: First Parish Church, 425 Congress St, Portland

Ticket price: $25 MHS members / $35 general admission / $15 for age 18 and under.

Sponsored by:
O'Donal's Nursery

Purchase your tickets

December Programs

Thursday, December 14, 7:30 pm

Christmas Bells: A Holiday Handbell Concert

Photo courtesy of the Penobscot Bay Ringers

Photo courtesy of the Penobscot Bay Ringers

in partnership with Penobscot Bay Ringers and Maine Charitable Mechanics Association
Join MHS and the Penobscot Bay Ringers to ring in the holidays with a festive program of seasonal music, including arrangements set to the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Christmas Bells (I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day).

Penobscot Bay Ringers is a community handbell choir based in Camden, Maine. The group has been ringing 5 octaves of handbells and handchimes in venues throughout Maine and New England since its founding in 2008.

For more information on the Penobscot Bay Ringers, visit

Ticket Price: $10 for MHS members, $15 general admission

Register today!

Program Podcasts

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Group Trips

Stay tuned for information on upcoming trips!


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Creative Maine: Trade Banners and the Crafts That Built Maine
June 22 through January 13, 2018
Museum Gallery

Creative Maine explores the creativity and ingenuity that created the Maine economy as we know it today through the historical parade banners of the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association and examples from some of the most innovative businesses in Maine today. Read More


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Making Paper, Making Maine
June 2 through October 28, 2017
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

Paper has shaped Maine's economy, molded individual and community identities, and impacted the environment throughout Maine. Making Paper, Making Maine recognizes the historic transition taking place in Maine's paper industry, and asks, what's next for Maine's economy? Read More


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Hats About the House: Victorian Bonnets, Top Hats, 1950s Fascinators and More
September 1 through October 22, 2017
Wadsworth-Longfellow House

Visit the Wadsworth-Longfellow House this fall to see a selection of the beautiful, fashionable, and sometimes awkward hats from the Maine Historical Society collection. Read More


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COMING SOON: Spark! Maine ART Stories
November 3 through March 31, 2018
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

Maine has always been a home and a haven to artists and creative makers. Spark! Maine ART Stories explores the varied ways Mainers express themselves today, and features sixteen contemporary Maine artists who are diverse in their geography, their artistic mediums, and in what compels them to create. Read More


Maine Memory Network homepage

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 as many as 270 organizations around Maine. New exhibits added regularly. Go to


Regional Genealogy Programs, Events, and Conferences

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