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 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)
Tour Prices: General Public $15; AAA $14; Seniors & Students $12; Family $30 (up to 5 people); Children (ages 3-17) $3, under 3 free
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.
Saturday, December 6, 3:00 – 4:00 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.
Saturday, December 6, 3:00pm – Lucy's Christmas by Donald Hall
Saturday, December 13, 3:00pm - Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
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.
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.
Wednesday, January 7, 12:00 pm
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 774-1822 x207.)
Thursday, January 8, 7:00 pm
A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience
Speaker: Emerson "Tad" Baker
In 1692 more than 150 people would be accused of witchcraft, and 25 would die in the Salem witch trials, the largest witchcraft outbreak in American history. In this illustrated talk about his new book, Tad Baker explores the catalogue of explanations that have been put forward over the years to solve the mystery of what happened in 1692. Behind the events in Salem and surrounding towns was a unique convergence of conditions, including a new charter and government, a grim and bloody frontier war in Maine, and sectarian and political power-struggles. Indeed, the destruction of Falmouth in 1690 (present-day Portland) and York in 1692 were key triggers to a witch hunt that would see Falmouth’s minister, George Burroughs tried and executed for witchcraft. Cost: Free for MHS members; $8 for non-members.
Baker is a professor of history at Salem State University and the award-winning author of many works on the history of early Maine and New England. His previous book is The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England. A resident of York, he has served as an advisor for PBS-TV’s American Experience and Colonial House, and has also co-authored an iPhone app on the witchcraft crisis.
Tuesday, January 13, 12:00 pm
In partnership with Maine Humanities Council
Taste of the Humanities: William Butler Yeats
Bring your brown bag lunch for an inspiring hour about Irish poetry and history with facilitator John Ward in this Maine Humanities Council program. The presentation include readings, historical context, and discussion about Yeats -- a poet whose works reveal the power of art to transform destruction and despair.
This program is free and open to the public. Beverages and sweets will be provided.
Saturday, February 28, 2:00 pm
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 email@example.com.
Tuesday, March 3, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
In partnership with Maine Archives & Museums
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, February 27.
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.)
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."
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.