Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: May | June | July | August | On-Demand 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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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.

May Programs

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

Monday, June 7, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Book launch with Bill and Kathy Kenny
Historic Taverns and Tea Rooms of Maine

Historic Taverns and Tea Rooms of Maine

Holding an integral place in Maine’s community, the story of its early taverns and tea rooms is an important account of commerce and political and social life. From famed Revolutionary War incidents to Civil War generals, stagecoaches and the story of rum, the history of Maine’s early taverns is captivating.

Tea rooms of the early 1900s were just as interesting and important. They played a large role in the national tea movement, the temperance and suffrage movements, the promotion of women’s independence, and they also symbolized Maine’s culture and sophistication. Join local authors Kathy and Bill Kenny as they unveil the stories behind these historic places explored in their latest publication.

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

Location: online via Zoom, REGISTER HERE.

Thursday, June 10, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: A Talk with Bob Greene
Maine Black History / Heritage

Bob Greene

Bob Greene


About the speaker: A native of Portland, Bob Greene is a retired Associated Press journalist and a Maine historian. He has done extensive research into his own genealogy and discovered that he is at least the 8th generation of his family to be born in Cumberland County. Bob has taught Black History of Maine at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and served on the Board of Trustees of the Maine Historical Society.

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

Thursday, August 19, 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 27, 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.