Skip to main content
Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

Exhibitions

Admission to gallery: Free for MHS members. Non-members: Adults - $10; Children (age 6-17) $5; age 5 and under, Free.

All exhibitions are located at 489 Congress Street in Portland unless otherwise noted.
Hours and Directions

See current visitation information.

Buy Tickets link

NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society

Part II: Clothing circa 1890–1980 : August 12–December 31, 2022

MHS main gallery at 489 Congress Street, Portland, Maine

Learn about and view the virtual exhibit of Northern Threads: Part I

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are not available for Northern Threads in the MHS Main Gallery from July 31 through August 11, 2022 while the exhibition transitions to Part II: Clothing Circa 1890–1980. Full access to the Main Gallery and Northern Threads will be restored on Friday, August 12, 2022.

Access to the exhibits in the Shettleworth Lecture Hall and Showcase Gallery will not be affected during the Northern Threads closure, however are meanwhile only available by purchasing a Wadsworth-Longfellow House/Gallery combination ticket.

Northern Threads exhibit logo

Experience 20th century Maine life through fashion in Part II of MHS’ landmark exhibition NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society. With all-new themed vignettes from 1890-1980, Part II shares fascinating stories about Maine people, and explores clothing’s role in social, economic, and environmental histories.

Central to our 200th anniversary, Northern Threads highlights MHS’ collecting expertise with newly-conserved, never-before-seen pieces from our permanent collection. Look for Main Gallery groupings like Turn of the Century; Bridalwear; Maine Outdoors; Women at Work; Designed with Style; and Silhouettes in Sequence as well as a limited engagement companion exhibit in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House featuring family clothing.

Buy Tickets link

***New England Magazine lists Northern Threads among "10 exhibitions to discover in Maine this summer"

View Part I: NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society which was on display March 16–July 30, 2022

NORTHERN THREADS is made possible by contributors, partners, and donors, including:

BHA Foundation Fund, Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, Elsie A. Brown Fund, Inc., The Coby Foundation for Textiles, Ltd., The Davis Family Foundation, Institute ofƒ Museum & Library Services, William Sloane Jelin Foundation, The Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust, Karen and Kirk Pelletier, Deborah S. Reed, The Phineas W. Sprague Memorial Foundation, and Doris S. Stockly.

Cosmopolitan Stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage

May 25–September 24, 2022
Shettleworth Lecture Hall.

Cosmopolitan stylings exhibit logo

Sisters Mildred Giddings Burrage (1890-1983) and Madeleine Burrage (1891-1976) were renowned artists and world travelers. Mildred's experiences studying painting in Paris and Italy, and the sisters' trips to Mexico and Guatemala inspired their artwork and shared passions for cosmopolitan and stylish attire.

This exhibition features original drawings from Parisian fashion houses dating from 1928 to 1936 and images of Madeleine's gemstone jewelry and Mildred's artwork accompany intimate family photographs.

View the online version of Cosmopolitan Stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage.

Representing every particular: John Martin's 19th century fashion illustrations

March 16–August 6, 2022
Showcase Gallery.

Representing every particular: John Martin's 19th century fashion illustrations graphic

Fashion was one of accountant and shop keeper John Martin's (1823-1904) many interests. Martin, from Bangor, began what would become a 650-page journal in 1864. He intended to create a history for his family, accentuated with his "own editorials" and laced with strong opinions on fashion and society. To accompany his written descriptions, Martin illustrated portions of the text with hand drawn sketches.

Martin compiled four scrapbooks in addition to his journal, reflecting on events and people from the 1820s to the 1890s, a time period concurrent with the rise of Maine's lumber industry. Bangor's status as the world's largest lumber shipping port led to an era of extreme wealth. Access to international trade goods in Bangor's harbor added to the city's fashion consciousness.

In this exhibition, John Martin's drawings are paired with images of clothing in the MHS collections to demonstrate how Martin's art imitated life. Several of the garments appear in Northern Threads: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society exhibited in the MHS main gallery.

Martin's journal and scrapbooks are available in their entirety on Maine Memory Network: johnmartin.mainememory.net

Buy Tickets link

COMING SOON: NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society

Part II: Clothing circa 1890–1980 : August 12–December 31, 2022

MHS main gallery at 489 Congress Street, Portland, Maine

Northern Threads exhibit logo

Experience 20th century Maine life through fashion in Part II of MHS’ landmark exhibition NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society. With all-new themed vignettes from 1890-1980, Part II shares fascinating stories about Maine people, and explores clothing’s role in social, economic, and environmental histories.

Central to our 200th anniversary, Northern Threads highlights MHS’ collecting expertise with newly-conserved, never-before-seen pieces from our permanent collection. Look for Main Gallery groupings like Turn of the Century; Bridalwear; Maine Outdoors; Women at Work; Designed with Style; and Silhouettes in Sequence as well as a limited engagement companion exhibit in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House featuring family clothing.