Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: October | November | On-Demand Programs | Ongoing Programs | Group Trips | Exhibitions | Online Exhibitions | Regional Genealogy Events

Begin Again banner

NEW! BEGIN AGAIN Virtual Program Series
(May-December 2021)

Join us for an outstanding program series that examines the roots of social justice issues and Maine’s role in the national dialog on race and equity. Reflecting themes from our BEGIN AGAIN: reckoning with intolerance in Maine exhibition, this series provides a unique opportunity to engage with dynamic scholars, historians, community leaders, and citizens. Unless otherwise noted, BEGIN AGAIN highlighted programs are free and air via Zoom on specified times. Visit this page often for new additions. Register early to avoid disappointment.

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On-Demand Programs - Videos and Podcasts

VIDEOS: Watch topical dialogues, lessons & demonstrations related to Maine history.
PODCASTS: Hear audio recordings of MHS public lectures, stories, and events.

October Programs

Thursday, October 21, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: A Talk with Jen Manion
Trans & Nonbinary Adventures in 19th century New England

Jen Manion

Jen Manion

Long before the modern LGBTQ rights movement, individual queer and trans people challenged gender and sexual norms to express themselves and their love freely, often in defiance of laws against same-sex sex and cross-dressing. Join Jen Manion for a talk on the lives and adventures of those assigned female at birth who embraced trans and nonbinary gender expressions in 19th century New England, including so called "female husbands", "female sailors", and "female soldiers”.

About the speaker: Jen Manion is Professor of History and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College. She is a social and cultural historian whose work examines the role of gender and sexuality in American life. Manion is author of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (Penn, 2015) which received the inaugural Mary Kelley Best Book Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. Jen's most recent book Female Husbands: A Trans History (Cambridge, 2020) was a finalist for the OAH Lawrence Levine Award for the best book in U.S. cultural history and recipient of the best book prize by the British Association of Victorian Studies. This research was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Manion has published dozens of essays for popular and scholarly audiences and serves on the editorial boards of Amherst College Press, Early American Studies, and The William and Mary Quarterly. Manion is working on a two-volume series, The Cambridge History of Sexuality in the United States with co-editor Nicholas Syrett. Previously, Jen worked for ten years at Connecticut College as a faculty member in the history department and was founding director of the LGBTQ Resource Center. Jen received a PhD in history from Rutgers University and a BA in history with an English minor from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER.

November Programs

Monday, November 8, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

A Talk with Peter Morelli
A Man, A Horse-Drawn Wagon, and a Moving Panorama: The Travels of L. E. Emerson

Peter Morelli

Peter Morelli

In the 1850s -- long before movies, and just when the magic lantern’s popularity was beginning -- a night out at the pictures meant a moving panorama performance. The performer, or “professor,” made the giant picture story come alive.

The travels of one traveling showman are documented in the MHS collection in the remarkable surviving “exhibitor’s diary” of L. Eaton Emerson. It describes his 1855 travels presenting the “Grand Moving Mirror of California,” a giant series of 23 paintings on a linen scroll on reels. Emerson’s diary includes a daily account of his solo shows, with their obstacles, as he traveled by horse-drawn wagon to Western Maine villages, through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and in remote Northern Vermont and Southern Quebec.

The diary also includes some humorous stories and even barbed comments about hall proprietors and audiences. Together, the diary and the handwritten script for the California panorama tell an intriguing story of life on the road with travel panorama shows. This illustrated talk will include related images of 19th century prints, photographs of the diaries, maps of Emerson’s route, and some images of the still existing small halls where he performed his show.

About the speaker: Peter F. Morelli of Portland, has been involved in panorama research, exhibition, and performance since the 1996 rediscovery of the Pilgrim’s Progress Moving Panorama in Saco. He presented at the 2004 International Panorama Council conference on that panorama, and on a successful plan to conserve, exhibit, and perform it. He was a trustee of the Saco Museum and Dyer Library Association when he assisted the staff. He presented on Emerson’s diary at the International Panorama Council’s annual conference in September. The former director of development and city planner for the City of Saco, Peter was responsible for planning, economic development, and historic preservation for 27 years. Later, he led the Age Friendly Community program for AARP in Maine. He earned a graduate certificate in museum studies, and a master’s degree in planning and public policy at Tufts University, and is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine.

Cost: Free and open to the public

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER.

Wednesday, November 10, 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: In partnership with Upstander Project & Portland Press Herald
BOUNTY: Film Screening -- Live Online World Premiere

BOUNTY: Film Screening -- Live Online World Premiere

Don't miss this live online World Premiere of the film Bounty.

The following synopsis of Bounty is by Dawn Neptune Adams, Maulian Dana, Adam Mazo, Ben Pender-Cudlip, and Tracy Rector:

"We are citizens of the Penobscot Nation. For this film, we bring our families to Boston to read our ancestors' death warrant. This abhorrent proclamation, made in 1755 by the colonial government, paid settlers handsomely to murder Penobscot people. It declared our people enemies and offered different prices for the scalps of children, women, and men.

Bounty proclamations like this, some even paid in stolen land, persisted for more than two centuries across what is now the United States. The memory of being hunted is in our blood. We know this to be true, and the science now affirms that trauma can be passed down from generation to generation. In Bounty we step into the future together with our children into the colonizer's hall of injustice, to read their hateful words and tell the truth about what was done to our ancestors. We exercise our power by sharing the horrors of this hard history as an act of resistance, remembrance, and a step toward justice."

Join the filmmakers for a conversation after the film: Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana, Dawn Neptune Adams(Penobscot), and Adam Mazo, and Upstander Project learning director Mishy Lesser.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Location: online via OVEE, REGISTER NOW.

Please note this a LIVE EVENT only and this program will NOT be recorded.

Learn more about the film at

Wednesday, November 17, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

A Talk with Dr. Calvin Mires
The Wreck of the Steamship Portland: Rediscovering the Titanic of New England

Passenger Steamer S.S. Portland, ca. 1895, MHS/MMN #12138

Passenger Steamer S.S. Portland, ca. 1895, MHS/MMN #12138

On November 27, 1898, the paddlewheel steamship PS Portland was on its way from Boston, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine when it was hit by a powerful storm and sank off of Cape Ann with all hands. Often labeled "New England's Titanic" due to the long-unknown position of the wreckage and substantial loss of life, the loss represented New England's greatest steamship disaster before 1900. It was a significant blow to Portland's Black community as the ship's crew included 19 African-American members of the Abyssinian Meeting House.

Today, the location of the wreckage lies within the federally-protected Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Since 2002 the sanctuary has been exploring the wreck with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Marine Imaging Technologies, collecting video imagery to develop virtual 3-D models and educate the public about underwater research. Join Dr. Calvin Mires, WHOI research associate, to learn more about this history, preservation efforts, and the new mission to create a virtual exhibit of the shipwreck.

About the speaker: Dr. Calvin Mires is a Research Associate III at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and has led and worked on over 30 maritime archaeology projects around the world. He is co-founder and instructor of SEAMAHP, a training program that leverages the concept of a ship's life-cycle to provide hands-on experiential learning to the public in maritime archaeology. Since 2015, he has co-directed the only maritime archaeology field schools in Massachusetts with cooperation of the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, the Trustees of Reservations, and the National Park Service, and has run maritime archaeological summer programs for middle and high school students. He is a Senior Tutor for the Nautical Archaeology Society for the New England region, a group that provides maritime archaeological training for the public. Dr. Mires has received grants from the National Park Service Maritime Heritage Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and has published in The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, The Society for Historical Archaeology, and Bermuda Maritimes. He is currently involved in several projects in Massachusetts, including archaeological investigation of the 1626 Sparrow Hawk and deep-sea research on shipwrecks in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Cost: Free & open to the public.

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER.

Ongoing Programs

Wadsworth-Longfellow House Tours - May - October. See details.

Exhibition Galleries (self-guided) - See details.

Historical Walking Tours of Portland - See details.

Current Exhibitions

Begin Again exhibit logo

Begin Again:
reckoning the intolerance in Maine

Opening May 27, 2021

Purchase Tickets

POW exhibit logo

Passing the time: artwork by World War II
German Prisoners of War in Aroostook County

August 11–December 31, 2021

Purchase Tickets


Sagadahoc County exhibit

Sagadahoc County through the Eastern Eye:
Selections from the Penobscot Marine Museum

Octboer 6–December 31, 2021

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Maine Memory Network exhibit logo

Maine Memory Network: over 300 online exhibits


Group Trips

Stay tuned for information on upcoming trips!

Regional Genealogy Programs, Events, and Conferences

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