Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: January | February | March | Online Programs | Ongoing Programs | Group Trips | Exhibitions | Online Exhibitions | Regional Genealogy Events

Maine at 200 graphic

MHS has launched our Bicentennial public programming with MAINE at 200, an exciting virtual (Zoom) series! In live conversations, notable presenters explore how Maine became a State in 1820, what that has meant to Maine people, and how 13,000 years of history has shaped the complex issues that matter to Mainers today. Visit this page often for "Maine at 200 series" program updates. Register early! Most programs in the series are free and open to the public (unless noted as MHS Members Exclusive.)

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Past 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.

January Programs

Wednesday, January 27, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Book Talk with Zachary Dorner
Merchants of Medicines: The Commerce and Coercion of Health in Britain’s Long Eighteenth-Century

Merchants of Medicines: The Commerce and Coercion of Health in Britain’s Long Eighteenth-Century

The period from the late seventeenth to early nineteenth century — the so-called long eighteenth century of English history — was a time of profound change, marked by the expansion of intercontinental empires, long-distance trade, and human enslavement. It was also the moment when medicines, previously produced locally and in small batches, became global products.

In Merchants of Medicines, author Zachary Dorner follows the earliest industrial pharmaceuticals from their manufacture in the United Kingdom, across trade routes, and to the edges of empire, telling a story of what medicines were, what they did, and what they meant. He brings to life business, medical, and government records to evoke a vibrant early modern world of London laboratories, Caribbean estates, South Asian factories, New England timber camps, and ships at sea.

Join us as Dr. Dorner discusses his new history of economic and medical development, emphasizing the local consequences of the transatlantic medicine trade for colonial New England. The collections of the Maine Historical Society proved invaluable to connecting the clearing of Maine white pine and investment in local infrastructure to global circuits of power and profit.

About the author: Zachary Dorner is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the University Honors Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Cost: Free and open to the public. Registration required.

Location: online via Zoom, limited to 500 attendees. REGISTER HERE.

February Programs

Thursday, February 18, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Maine at 200 Series: Book Talk with Kathryn Olmstead
True North: Finding the Essence of Aroostook

Kathryn Olmstead

Kathryn Olmstead

Join us for a talk with Kathryn Olmstead on her most recent publication True North: Finding the Essence of Aroostook, a collection of her essays that appeared in the Bangor Daily News and Echoes magazine—all exploring the author’s experience with the people, places, and culture of Aroostook County.

These essays by Olmstead, who moved to Northern Maine in 1974, introduce readers to rural life and wildlife in an attempt to reveal the universal in the particular—the night sky and ice-out, the people and their cultural roots, and the intimacy with nature in every season.

“Aroostook County is not just a place in Northern Maine,” she writes in her Author’s Note. “It is symbolic of rural places throughout the nation that retain the vanishing qualities of life many people long for in today’s world. The pace is slow, nature is close, the beauty is breathtaking, and the people are authentic.”

About the author: Kathryn Olmstead co-founded Echoes with Gordon Hammond in 1988 and oversaw the magazine for its entire 117-issue run. She is a former Bangor Daily News columnist, prior editor of the Aroostook Republican, and served on the University of Maine journalism faculty for 25 years -- the last six as associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In addition to True North, she is author of Flight to Freedom: World War II through the Eyes of a Child, The Story of Philomena Keller Baker and editor of Stories of Aroostook, also released by Islandport Press in 2020. She lives in Caribou, Maine.

Cost: Free and open to the public. Registration required.

Location: online via Zoom. Limited to 500 attendees. REGISTER HERE.

Thursday, February 25, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Maine at 200 Series: A Talk with Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., State Historian
A Century of Portland Painters, 1820 - 1920

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

During the past two centuries, Maine Historical Society has created a distinguished collection of Maine art that includes portraits, landscapes, and marine paintings. This lecture by Maine State Historian Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. focuses on the life and work of fifteen Portland artists who contributed to the city's cultural development in Maine's first century of statehood. Their paintings in the Society's collection trace the evolution of a great New England city.

About the speaker: At the age of thirteen, Earle Shettleworth became interested in historic preservation through the destruction of Portland’s Union Station in 1961. A year later, he joined the Sills Committee which eventually founded Greater Portland Landmarks in 1964. In 1971, he was appointed by Governor Curtis to serve on the first board of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, for which he became architectural historian in 1973 and director in 1976. He retired as director of the Commission in 2015. Governor John E. Baldacci appointed him as State Historian for two successive terms in 2004 and 2008; and Governor LePage appointed him to a third in 2014. Mr. Shettleworth received a B.A. in Art History from Colby College in 1970, an M.A. in Architectural History from Boston University in 1979, an L.H.D. from Bowdoin College in 2008, and an L.H.D. from the Maine College of Art in 2012.

Cost: Free and open to the public, registration required.

Location: online via Zoom, limited to 500 attendees. REGISTER HERE.

March Programs

Thursday, March 11, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

MHS MEMBERS EXCLUSIVE! Maine at 200 Series: A Conversation with Colin Woodard
Maine's Bicentennial: Looking Backward and Forward

Colin Woodard

Colin Woodard


Join us for a conversation between award-winning author and journalist Colin Woodard and our Executive Director Steve Bromage as they look back on Maine’s commemoration of the Bicentennial and the profound ways in which history shapes the state and its people today.

About the speaker: Colin Woodard is currently the State and National Affairs Writer for the Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram, where he was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist and received a 2012 George Polk Award for his investigative reporting. He is also a contributing editor at Politico and reviews books for The Washington Post. He is author of The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier (Viking Press, 2004); American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (Viking, 2011); American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good (Viking, 2016); and Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood (Viking, 2020.) He lives in midcoast Maine.

Cost: MHS Members Only - Registration is required. NOT A MEMBER? IT'S EASY TO JOIN!

Location: online via Zoom. Limited to 500 attendees.

Registration ends at 4pm on March 10th.

Register Here!

Ongoing Programs

Wadsworth-Longfellow House Tours - Closed until further notice. See details.

Exhibition Galleries (self-guided) - See details.

Historical Walking Tours of Portland - See details.

Current Exhibitions

State of Mind exhibit logo

State of Mind: Becoming Maine
on exhibit through January 30, 2021

Purchase Tickets

Redact exhibit logo

REDACT: Obscuring the Maine Constitution
On exhibit through January 30, 2021

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Convenient Soldier exhibit logo

A Convenient Soldier:
The Black Guards of Maine

On exhibit through January 30, 2021

Purchase Tickets

Maine Memory Network exhibit logo

Over 300 online exhibitions
on Maine Memory Network


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.