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Maine Historical Society




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.
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NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society

Part I: Clothing circa 1780–1889 : March 16–July 30, 2022
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 Maine history through fashion in a landmark two-part exhibition NORTHERN THREADS: Two Centuries of Dress at Maine Historical Society. Organized by themed vignettes, Northern Threads shares stories about Maine people, while exploring how the clothing they wore reveals social, economic, and environmental histories. This re-examination of MHS' permanent collection is an opportunity to consider the relevance of historic clothing in museums, the ebb and flow of fashion styles, and the complexities of diverse representation spanning 200 years of collecting.

There exists a broader myth that the people in Maine historically did not have access to, or care about fashion. As evidence to the contrary, Northern Threads aims to dispel this myth through two installations. The first (March–July 2022) includes garments, military uniforms, and accessories from circa 1780 through 1889. The second installation (August–December 2022) includes selections from 1890 through 1980. A companion exhibition in the Wadsworth-Longfellow House featuring family clothing is schedule for the summer season. Stay tuned!

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Maine Historical Society in Pictures: Exploring Our First 200 Years

March 16–May 21, 2022
Shettleworth Lecture Hall.

Maine Historical Society in Pictures exhibit logo

Two years after separating from Massachusetts, Maine leaders—many who were part of the push for statehood—also separated from Massachusetts Historical Society, creating the Maine Historical Society in 1822. The legislation signed on February 5, 1822 positioned MHS as the third-oldest state dedicated historical organization in the nation.

On February 5, 2022, Maine Historical Society will mark our 200th year with the exhibition, Maine Historical Society in Pictures. The exhibition features images of MHS's five locations over the institution's two centuries, alongside images of leaders who have steered our organization through pivotal times.