Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

Upcoming Programs & Events

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

Program fees and registration details are listed in the program description. Programs for MHS members are free or discounted. Support MHS by becoming a member today. All programs take place at our facilities at 489 Congress Street in Portland, unless otherwise noted. Click here for Directions or Parking information.

Please review our Refund and Return Policies for tickets and event admissions.

If you have questions about any of the programs listed below, please contact us at (207) 774-1822.

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Ongoing Programs

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

Exhibition Galleries (self-guided) - Changing schedule, year-round. See details.

Historical Walking Tours of Portland - June - October 10, 2019. Tours offered Monday through Friday at 1:30pm, and on select special weekend dates. See details.

November Programs

Saturday, November 30 – Saturday, December 21, 2019

Comfort and Joy: Christmas in Olde New England

Snow-covered Longfellow House, ca. 1904. MMN Item: 11512

Snow-covered Longfellow House, ca. 1904. MMN Item: 11512

Special holiday tours of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House with extended hours and discounted shopping in the Museum Store!

“…the coal & wood are still burning warmly and tempt me to sit awhile longer…”
~ Anne Longfellow Pierce in a letter to her sister Mary on December 24, 1850


Saturday, November 30, 12:00-6:00 pm
Saturday, December 7, 12:00-6:00 pm
Saturday, December 14, 12:00-6:00 pm
Saturday, December 21, 12:00-6:00 pm

*last tour departs each day at 5:30pm

Looking to warm your hands and your heart this season? Keep a cozy and very merry holiday with us at MHS! Tour the first floor of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House decked out for a 19th century Christmas and learn about the New England holiday traditions of long ago. What yummy treats might the Longfellows have enjoyed this time of year? Did they hang stockings for St. Nicholas on Christmas eve? What games did they play and which songs did they sing? After touring the house, stop by our museum shop to find unique gifts for everyone on your list and receive a 10% discount on your purchases while sipping hot cider and munching delicious cookies!

Tickets for these special holiday tours of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House include a guided tour of the first floor of the house and can be purchased in the Museum Store on the day of your visit.

Tours are limited to 12 guests, will last approximately 30 minutes, and will depart from the Museum Store on the hour and half hour from 12:00-5:30 pm on Saturday, November 30, and December 7, 14, and 21.

Ticketholders will receive a 10% coupon good towards any purchases they make in the Museum Store on the day of their visit. The Museum Store will be open until 6:00 pm for these four Saturdays.


Cost: $10 adults; $5 for 17 years old and younger; free for MHS members
Location: Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, Portland.

December Programs

Tuesday, December 17, 6:00 pm

Restoring Your Historic House: The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners - Book Launch!

Restoring Your Historic House: The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners - Book Launch!

with Scott T. Hanson (author) and David J. Clough (photographer)

Is your house historic? Do you want to preserve what makes it unique while keeping it a comfortable place to live? MHS loves old houses and as the caretakers for the oldest building on the Portland peninsula – the Wadsworth-Longfellow House - we know a thing or two about and appreciate the work that goes into caring for a historic home! Join us for the book launch of Restoring Your Historical House: The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners with author Scott T. Hanson. Beyond the typical DIY text for homeowners, this book explains in expert detail how to adapt your DIY skills to the specialized needs of a historic house, prioritizing the identification and preservation of the significant, character-defining features of an antique home. Learn about the best practices for updating historic homes for modern life in ways that won’t break the bank or sacrifice the history of your habitat!

Scott T. Hanson is a Maine based architectural historian, preservation consultant, and historic-building preservation professional who has 40 years’ experience rehabilitating historic houses. He grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, before settling on the Maine coast. He is the author of Homes Down East: Classic Maine Coastal Cottages and Towns and the co-author of "The Architecture of Cushing's Island," written with Maine State Historian, Earle G. Shettleworth. He has appeared, along with Whitten House, on the television program "If Walls Could Talk" on HGTV.

The book will be available for purchase in the Museum Store.

Cost: Free and open to the public.
Location: Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, Portland

Wednesday, December 18, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

With Tilly Laskey
Special Curator Tour: HOLDING UP THE SKY

Special Curator Tour: HOLDING UP THE SKY

Join Tilly Laskey, MHS Outreach Curator and curator for HOLDING UP THE SKY for a special guided tour of the exhibit. HOLDING UP THE SKY explores Wabanaki philosophies of leadership and obligation relating to humans and non-humans by highlighting 13,000 years of Wabanaki residence in what is now known as Maine.

This is a unique opportunity to experience a deep dive into this major exhibition with the curator. We have created a series of 1-hour, monthly tour dates on Wednesdays from June 2019 to January 2020 to accommodate as many groups as possible within the curator's schedule. Tours are limited to 15 guests.

Location: Maine Historical Society Gallery, 489 Congress Street, Portland
Cost: Regular museum admission rates apply Click here ; Free for MHS members. Please register in the Museum Store when purchasing your ticket.

Thursday, December 19, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Christmas Bells: A Holiday Handbell Concert

Christmas Bells: A Holiday Handbell Concert

In partnership with The Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers

Ring in the season with MHS and The Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers with a spirited program of seasonal music, including arrangements set to the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Christmas Bells (I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day).

The Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers play five octaves (61 bells) of English handbells and five octaves of choir chimes. The group consists of young musicians in grades 9 through 12. The Bell Ringers have performed throughout New England, Europe, and South America.

For more information on The Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers visit www.pinetreeacademy.org.

Location: First Parish Church, 425 Congress Street, Portland, ME
Ticket Price: $10 for MHS, $15 general admission

Purchase Tickets Here

January Programs

Wednesday, January 15, 12:00 – 1:00 pm

With Tilly Laskey
Special Curator Tour: HOLDING UP THE SKY

Special Curator Tour: HOLDING UP THE SKY

Join Tilly Laskey, MHS Outreach Curator and curator for HOLDING UP THE SKY for a special guided tour of the exhibit. HOLDING UP THE SKY explores Wabanaki philosophies of leadership and obligation relating to humans and non-humans by highlighting 13,000 years of Wabanaki residence in what is now known as Maine.

This is a unique opportunity to experience a deep dive into this major exhibition with the curator. We have created a series of 1-hour, monthly tour dates on Wednesdays from June 2019 to January 2020 to accommodate as many groups as possible within the curator's schedule. Tours are limited to 15 guests.

Location: Maine Historical Society Gallery, 489 Congress Street, Portland
Cost: Regular museum admission rates apply Click here ; Free for MHS members. Please register in the Museum Store when purchasing your ticket.


February Programs

Thursday, February 27, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Talk with Gemma Cannon, author of Voices of the Night
Love, Loss, and Longfellow: The Love Story that Launched the Poet

Mary Potter

Mary Potter

Most Henry Wadsworth Longfellow fans are familiar with the romantic and tragic story of Henry’s second wife Francis Appleton. But did you know that long before he met Fanny, Henry was married to Mary Storer Potter of Portland? Though not well remembered today, Mary was described in her lifetime as “a lovely woman in character…gentle, refined, and graceful, with an attractive manner that won all hearts.” She was a close friend of Henry’s sister, Anne.

What is Mary’s story? How did she and Henry meet and fall in love? Join author Gemma Cannon on the poet’s 212th birthday to learn this little-known history of the young Henry and his radiant first bride Mary -- and how their tale of love and loss led to his universal fame and his powerful works that we celebrate today.

Gemma Cannon has led hundreds of tours through the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. Her award-winning book, Voices of the Night, recounts Longfellow’s love story with Mary Potter, and his subsequent consolation poetry that has helped to transform grief for generations of readers worldwide. FMI visit her website gemmacannon.com.

Location: Maine Historical Society Shettleworth Lecture Hall, 489 Congress Street, Portland
Cost: Free and open to the public.


Image: Mary Storer Potter Longfellow, ca. 1831, collections of Maine Historical Society, MMN #4115.

STORM DATE: FEBRUARY 28. In the event MHS is closed due to a storm, this program will be held next day, FEBRUARY 28, same time/location. For storm cancellations, follow your local news or call MHS at 207-774-1822.

Program Podcasts

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Group Trips

Splendors of the Nile River & Ancient Jordan
September 28 - October 13, 2019. From $6,672 per person

Maine Historical Society is pleased to announce its 2019 trip—The Splendors of the Nile River and Ancient Jordan! We will begin in Egypt for 12 adventure-filled days and experience the Nile's most wondrous sites in style and luxury on an eight-day voyage onboard the all-suite Uniworld River Tosca—a manner once reserved for queens and pharaohs! From Egypt we are on to a 5 day visit to Jordan, a land rich in natural wonders and sites so ancient, that by comparison, the Crusader forts guarding the old trade routes are considered recent additions. Get Trip Details.

Exhibitions

Holding Up the Sky exhibit graphic

Holding Up the Sky: Wabanaki People, Culture, History & Art
April 12, 2019 through February 1, 2020

MHS Gallery, 489 Congress Street, Portland

Explore Wabanaki philosophies of leadership and obligation relating to humans and non-humans over 13,000 years in what is now known as Maine. Wabanaki voices contextualize present-day relevance of 400 years of shared histories between Wabanaki people and immigrants to their region through 17th century colonial treaties, photographs, and contemporary artworks—everything from ash baskets to haute couture fashion.Read More

 

Rudy Vallee and Fay Webb, ca. 1932

Icons & Influencers: Celebrity Photographs from the Evening Express, 1920-1935
August 30, 2019 through January 31, 2020

Maine Historical Society Shettleworth Gallery

America's obsession with celebrity is nothing new. While photo journalism began during the American Civil War, newspapers seldom used photography to illustrate or enhance stories until nearly seventy years later. Beginning in the 1920s, newspapers started featuring paparazzi-style candid photographs of cultural icons, including celebrities, politicians, and athletes, as a way to engage new audiences and increase sales. This exhibition features examples of celebrity photographs from the Evening Express, between 1920 and 1935. Read more.

 

My Island Home: Recollections of Verlie Colby Greenleaf of Westport Island
November 8, 2019 through April 25, 2020

Showcase Gallery at Maine Historical Society

Verlie Greenleaf (1891-1992) bore witness to over a century of Westport Island's history. From her earliest memories, there was no ferry or bridge—only boats to carry people on and off the island. Her words frame the exhibition, providing a first-person account of her life. Read More

 

UPCOMING: State of Mind: Becoming Maine
March 13, 2020-January 30, 2021

Maine Historical Society

State of Mind: Becoming Maine will analyze Maine as the homeland of the Wabanaki people, as a European province, as part of the District of Massachusetts, and the State of Maine. Read More

 

Online Exhibitions

Maine Memory Network homepage

Maine Memory Network - Over 300 Online Exhibitions

Offers online access to numerous Web–based exhibits and a constantly growing collection of over 46,000 historical documents, images, and objects contributed by as many as 270 organizations around Maine. New exhibits added regularly. Go to www.mainememory.net.

 

Regional Genealogy Programs, Events, and Conferences

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