Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: April | May | June | July | August | Online Programs | Ongoing Programs | Group Trips | Exhibitions | Online Exhibitions | Regional Genealogy Events

Maine History Maker Award

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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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.

April Programs

Thursday, April 22, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Book Talk with Anne Gass
We Demand

We Demand

Join Maine author Anne B. Gass as she takes us on a historic journey with her newest book, We Demand: the Suffrage Road Trip, based on the true story of a team of women determined to win the right to vote. They left San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition in September, 1915, carrying a petition to Congress and President Wilson, demanding an amendment to the United States Constitution enfranchising women.

Over sometimes dangerous, poorly signed roads and through blazing heat, rain, snow, and mud, they battled their way across the country, stopping in towns as they went to collect more signatures and to raise awareness of the suffrage cause. Gass has retraced the original route and recounts the story of these determined women with her latest book.

About the author: Anne B. Gass wrote Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage, published by Maine Authors Publishing in 2014. As Whitehouse’s great-granddaughter, Anne Gass speaks regularly on Florence Brooks Whitehouse and women’s rights history at conferences, historical societies, libraries, high schools, and other venues. She serves on the steering committee of the Maine Suffrage Centennial Collaborative, and as the Maine Coordinator for the National Votes for Women Trail, a project of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites. She also serves on Maine's Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. She is a co-curator of the social justice MHS exhibition Begin Again: Reckoning with Intolerance in Maine, and is a panelist for the Maine Arts Commission's suffrage mural project.

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

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER HERE.

May Programs

Tuesday, May 4, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Book Talk with Michael G. Hillard
Shredding Paper: The Rise and Fall of Maine's Mighty Paper Industry

Shredding Paper: The Rise and Fall of Maine's Mighty Paper Industry

From the early 20 century until the 1960s, Maine led the nation in paper production. Local paper companies in Maine dominated the political landscape, controlling economic, workplace, land use, and water use policies. The state could have earned a reputation as the Detroit of paper production, however, the industry eventually slid toward failure.

What happened? Shredding Paper describes the industry's colorful origins, depicts its unusual character as industrial workplace, unwraps the changing US political economy since 1960, uncovers how the paper industry defined and interacted with labor relations, and peels away layers of history that encompassed the rise and fall of Maine's mighty paper industry.

Join us for a discussion with Michael G. Hillard about how his book deconstructs the paper industry's unusual technological and economic histories and examines the many contributing factors surrounding how Maine became a paper powerhouse and then lost that position to changing times and foreign interests.

About the author: Dr. Michael Hillard has taught at the University of Southern Maine for the past 33 years, and is the Director of the University of Southern Maine’s new Food Studies Program. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, receiving a BA in 1980 (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), a Master's in Economics in 1986, and a PhD in Economics in 1988. He taught at Wellesley College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst before coming to USM.

He has published widely in the fields of labor relations, labor history and the political economy of labor in academic journals including Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas, Labor History, Review of Radical Political Economics, Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, Journal of Economic Issues; and Historical Studies in Industrial Relation, and is co-editor with Jonathan Goldstein of Heterodox Macroeconomics: Keynes, Marx, and Globalization (Routledge Press, 2009). His essay, “Labor at Mother Warren,” won the Labor History’s Best Essay, U.S. Topic prize for 2004 and his article “Capitalist Class Agency and the New Deal Order,” co-authored with Richard McIntyre (University of Rhode Island) won the Review of Radical Political Economics Best Essay award for 2013.

He has also written over 20 op-ed and special essays for The Boston Globe, Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News, Lewiston Sun-Journal, and The Nation. Professor Hillard works actively with the Maine food-based business sector and also participates in economic public policy debates on issues affecting Maine working people, including periodic testimony to the Maine legislature. Dr. Hillard also co-produced two related radio documentaries, Madawaska Rebellion and Remembering Mother Warren.

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

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER HERE.

Thursday, May 6, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Maine History Maker Award 2021 - Honoring the L. L. Bean Family

Maine History Maker Award 2021 - Honoring the L. L. Bean Family

The Maine Historical Society is proud to honor the L. L. Bean Family in a special virtual event this spring. L.L.Bean has had a profound impact in shaping Maine’s identity, iconic brand, and our nation’s relationship to the outdoors. Leon Leonwood Bean’s love of the outdoors, business drive, and story laid the foundation. Continued family leadership has built L.L.Bean into a modern corporation that has driven Maine’s economy and defined its image to the world for more than a century. Throughout, family members have given back to the Maine community through volunteerism, philanthropy, and their corporate leadership.

MHS’s annual Maine History Maker Award recognizes contemporary Mainers who are making significant contributions to Maine today. It celebrates traditions of innovation, leadership, and commitment to community that have defined Maine throughout its history.

For tickets or more information, visit our Maine History Maker site

Wednesday, May 12, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: Curator Panel Discussion
Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine

Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine

Join exhibit curators Anne Gass, Tilly Laskey, Darren Ranco, and Krystal Williams to discuss topics covered in Maine Historical Society’s newest exhibition and initiative Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine. The panel will review the structures of systemic racism and discrimination that have perpetuated inequity and intolerance in Maine for the past 500 years as well as talk over how they came together to explore and interpret Maine’s diverse and complicated history.


ANNE B. GASS is author of a book about her great-grandmother, Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage, published in 2014. She is a popular speaker on her book and women’s rights history at libraries, museums, senior colleges, high schools, and other venues. In 2015 she retraced the route suffrage activists took in 1915 from San Francisco to Washington, DC. This is the basis for her new novel, We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip. During her trip she met with women’s rights activists to learn what impact having won the vote made to women- what had changed, and what had not- since 1915; she blogged about it at Gass has continued her great-grandmother’s activist tradition, serving on the Steering Committee for the Maine Suffrage Centennial Collaborative, and as the Maine Coordinator for the National Votes for Women Trail. In 2019 she was appointed to Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, and she is the Vice-Chair of the Gray Town Council. Her writing is inspired and informed by her activism.

TILLY LASKEY is a museum curator specializing in Native art and culture. Born and raised in Maine, she has curated at nationally-recognized museums in Maine, Minnesota, and South Dakota. In 2014, Laskey joined the Maine Historical Society in Portland, where she currently works as the curator, managing onsite and Maine Memory Network online exhibitions. She has curated and co-curated significant exhibitions at MHS such as 400 Years of New Mainers (2016); Maine Eats (2018); Holding up the Sky: Wabanaki People, Culture, History, and Art (2019); State of Mind: Becoming Maine (2020), and the forthcoming Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine (2021). Laskey is a published author of articles and book chapters, and is the co-author of the book, Precious and Adored: the love letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Marrs Whipple, 1890-1918 (2019).

DARREN J. RANCO, PhD is a citizen of the Penobscot Nation, and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair of Native American Programs at the University of Maine. He has a Masters of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School and a PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University. His research focuses on the ways in which indigenous communities in the United States resist environmental destruction by using indigenous science, diplomacies, and critiques of liberalism to protect natural and cultural resources. He teaches classes on indigenous intellectual property rights, research ethics, environmental justice and tribal governance. As a citizen of the Penobscot Nation, he is particularly interested in how better research relationships can be made between universities, museums, Native and non-Native researchers, and indigenous communities.

KRYSTAL WILLIAMS is founder and manager of Providentia Group, a legal and business advisory firm that works with entrepreneurs and established organizations to create paths to economic belonging for historically disenfranchised individuals. Prior to starting her own firm, Krystal practiced as a transactional and regulatory attorney at Pierce Atwood and Bernstein Shur. Krystal holds a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Maine School of Law, an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and dual BAs in Mathematics and Psychology from Williams College. In 2011, she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail.

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

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER HERE

Thursday, May 20, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: A Talk with Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr.
"Doing One's First Works Over": Imagining a New America

Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. Photo Sameer A. Kahn

Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. Photo Sameer A. Kahn

Known to be a convener of conversations and debates, Dr. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. takes care to engage fellow citizens of all ages and backgrounds – from young activists, to fellow academics, journalists and commentators, and followers on Twitter -- in dialogue about the direction of the nation. His scholarship is driven by a commitment to think carefully with others. Join us for a talk with Dr. Glaude on the challenges our democracy faces, as well as the country’s complexities, vulnerabilities, and the opportunities for hope come into full view.

About the speaker: Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is an intellectual who speaks to the complex dynamics of the American experience. He holds a master’s degree in African American Studies from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University. He began his teaching career at Bowdoin College in Maine. His most well-known books, Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, take a wide look at black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States, and the challenges our democracy face.

Dr. Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. He is the former president of the American Academy of Religion. His books on religion and philosophy include An Uncommon Faith: A Pragmatic Approach to the Study of African American Religion, African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction and Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America, which was awarded the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize. Glaude’s most recent book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, was released on June 30, 2020. He is a columnist for Time Magazine and an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe, and Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace. He also regularly appears on Meet the Press on Sundays.

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

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, May 26, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: Book Talk with Edward Ball
The Life of a Klansman

Edward Ball. Photo by Nina Subin

Edward Ball. Photo by Nina Subin

In Life of a Klansman: A Family History in White Supremacy, Edward Ball returns to the subject of his classic, Slaves in the Family: the mechanisms of white supremacy in America, as understood through the lives of his own ancestors. This time, he tells the story of a warrior in the Ku Klux Klan, a carpenter in Louisiana who took up the cause of fanatical racism during the years after the Civil War. Ball, a descendant of this Klansman, paints a portrait of his family’s anti-black militant that is part history, part memoir rich in personal detail.

About the speaker: Edward Ball’s books include The Inventor and the Tycoon, about the birth of moving pictures in California, and Slaves in the Family, an account of his family’s history as slaveholders in South Carolina, which received the National Book Award for Nonfiction. He has taught at Yale University and has been awarded fellowships by the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard and the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center. He is also the recipient of a Public Scholar Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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

Location: online via Zoom, REGISTER HERE.

June Programs

Thursday, June 10, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: A Talk with Bob Greene
Save the Date!

Bob Greene

Bob Greene


Thursday, June 17, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: A Talk with Dr. Andrea Louie
From Chinese Laundress to Mother of the Year: Bringing the Story of Toy Len Goon Beyond the Model Minority Myth

Dr. Andrea Louie

Dr. Andrea Louie

In 1952, Toy Len Goon, a modest widow and mother of eight, was selected as Maine Mother of the Year, and then for the national title, by the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Foundation. An immigrant from China, she came to the U.S. in 1921 as the wife of Dogan Goon, a WWI veteran and laundryman. After Dogan became disabled and unable to work, passing away in 1941, Toy and her children ran the laundry and household, located at 615 Forest Ave in Portland, ME.

However, there is much of Toy Len Goon’s story that was not told by the media coverage celebrating her honor. As one of her grandchildren, cultural anthropologist Dr. Andrea Louie places her story within a fuller context in the hopes of doing justice to Toy Len Goon's legacy as a mother, and a woman who broke out of a number of traditional roles, while also remaining filial to relatives back in China.

About the speaker: Andrea Louie is Professor of Anthropology and founding director of the Asian Pacific American Studies Program at Michigan State University. She has conducted research exploring how ideas constructed around “Chineseness” as a racial and cultural identity have been reworked as transnational processes and bring Chinese from different parts of the world into contact with one another. She is author of Chineseness Across Borders: Re-negotiating Chinese Identities in China and the U.S. (Duke University Press, 2004) and How Chinese Are You? Adopted Chinese Youth and their Families Negotiate Identity and Culture (New York University Press, 2015). She has conducted research with her MSU colleagues on international Chinese students at MSU, funded by a Spencer Foundation Small Grant. With funding from a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Dr. Louie is currently working on a book focusing on her maternal grandmother’s selection as U.S. Mother of the Year in 1952, tentatively titled Chinese American Mothering Across Generations: Toy Len Goon and the Creation and Recirculation of the Model Minority Myth.

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

Location: online via Zoom, REGISTER HERE.

Thursday, June 24, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: A Conversation with David Freidenreich
200 Years of Jews in Maine

David Freidenreich

David Freidenreich

Hosted by Steve Bromage
Jews have a long history in Maine, with thriving communities across the state. They came to Maine for the same reasons as so many others: to live well and raise their families within the state's appealing natural and cultural environment. The experiences of Jewish Mainers, however, have also been distinctive on account of their occupational choices and traditions as well as their encounters with antisemitism.

How have Jews sought to contribute to Maine's economic, cultural, and social landscape, and how did they gain widespread acceptance? How have these Mainers sustained their own religion, culture, and ethnic ties while embracing the broader communities to which they belong? How did the challenges and opportunities that Jews faced in Maine change over time? Join us for an engaging conversation with Dr. David Freidenreich to learn more!

About the speaker: David M. Freidenreich is the Pulver Family Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Colby College, where he serves as director of the Jewish studies program and associate director of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life. He directs Colby's Maine Jewish History Project, whose website ( features dozens of essays on the state's Jewish history, including several he wrote. After receiving a B.A. from Brandeis University, he earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER HERE.

July Programs

Saturday, July 17



Thursday, July 22, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: Panel Discussion
Nineteenth-Century Black Politics in Maine: Historical Research and Legacies

Van Gosse

Van Gosse

This event is co-sponsored by the McGillicuddy Humanities Center at the University of Maine.

In September 1826, a group of six African American men addressed a letter “To the Public” on behalf of about 600 of their brethren in Portland, Maine, in which they announced their intention to “erect a suitable house for public worship” to serve their community. Their plan came to fruition in the construction of the Abyssinian Meeting House, built in 1828, which became the epicenter of Maine abolitionism and African American politics.

The original Meeting House building still stands in Portland and is a focal point for ongoing research and preservation efforts. The meetinghouse campaign represents one of the most visible moments of activism for these Black Mainers, but their activities and influence extended into almost every aspect of 19th-century American history and politics. Black Mainers held political offices and appointments, campaigned on behalf of national parties, and shaped political debates surrounding slavery, abolition, and racism.

This panel discussion will explore the political endeavors of the creators of the meetinghouse plan and their activist allies in the decades surrounding its construction, putting this research in conversation with ongoing public history and preservation work. The panel will highlight important new research by Van Gosse (Franklin & Marshall University) whose book, The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America, From the Revolution to the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), includes chapters devoted to the partisan politics of Black Mainers. Panelist will respond from their respective viewpoints, leaving time for further questions and discussion with the audience.


~ PAMELA CUMMINGS (President of the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian Meeting House)
~ MARY FREEMAN (University of Maine)
~ BOB GREENE (Journalist & Independent Scholar)
~ VAN GOSSE (Franklin & Marshall University)

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

Location: online via Zoom, REGISTER HERE.

August Programs

Sunday, August 8, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: A Talk with Matt Barker
The Know-Nothings Menace: When Hate, Fear, and Prejudice Ruled Maine and America

Matt Barker

Matt Barker

Prejudice and discrimination in Maine against immigrants dates back to at least the mid-1700s, when Pope's or Pope Day (Guy Fawkes Day in Britain) was celebrated in Falmouth (Portland), effigies of the Pope and the Devil were carried around town to loud cheers and slurs. Protestants had been taught since birth to hate Roman Catholicism. After all, French Catholics had been their enemy since the 1690s during the French and Indian Wars.

When large numbers of Irish Catholics started to immigrate beginning in the 1820s, Protestant anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant and anti-Irish groups were formed all over, including Maine. The large influx of Irish people who came during and after the Great Hunger (the Great Irish Potato Famine, 1845-51) only accelerated these groups, culminating with the formation of the Know Nothings (also Know-Nothings), a secret anti-Irish, anti-Catholic political party who gained political power throughout the United States in 1854-55.

Their poster child in Portland was Mayor Neal Dow. In Maine, they burned down three Catholic churches (in Bath, Lewiston, and Ellsworth). In 1854, they tarred and feathered Father John Bapst, a Swiss Jesuit, in Ellsworth. The issue of slavery, as well as their excesses, finally doomed the Know-Nothings and they disappeared. But the hate and suspicion of foreigners resurfaced again in the 1870s and 1890s, when the American Protective Association was in their heyday. This group was, of course, followed by the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Join Matt Barker to learn more about this history in Maine.

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

Location: online via Zoom, 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 and Upcoming Exhibitions

Begin Again exhibit logo

Begin Again:
reckoning the intolerance in Maine

Opening May 2021

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.