Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: June | July | August | Ongoing Programs | Podcasts | Annual Trip | 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.

If you have questions about any of the programs listed below, please contact Larissa Vigue Picard, Director of Education & Interpretation, at (207) 774-1822 x215.

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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 - Daily, June - Columbus Day weekend. See details.

Library Tours - First Wednesday at noon in January, March, May, July, September, and November. See below for next scheduled tour.

June Programs

Wednesday, June 17 – Friday, July 31, 2015

Historic House Tour: Maine and the American Revolution

Elijah Bradbury powder horn, 1778. Collections of MHS.

Elijah Bradbury powder horn, 1778. Collections of MHS.

Tour Guide: Kathleen Neumann, MHS Manager of Education & Interpretation

Tour takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:30PM, and Thursday evenings at 6PM. Tickets can be purchased online or on-site at the museum store the day of the tour.

General Peleg Wadsworth, who built the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The house was built shortly after the war, in 1785-86. Eighty-five years after the Revolution, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow helped define the national narrative of independence through his poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." The family remained committed to preserving the memory of the founding generation. This tour delves deeply into the Revolutionary era in Portland, and features a mini-exhibit of Revolutionary-era items in MHS collections.

Tour Guide: Kathleen Neumann, MHS Manager of Education and Interpretation. Cost: $20 general admission; $15 MHS members, seniors, and students; $10 for children under the age of 17; children under 6 are free.

July Programs

Saturday, July 4, 12:00 pm

Celebrate the 4th of July!
A Public Reading--and DISPLAY--of the Declaration of Independence

A Public Reading--and DISPLAY--of the Declaration of Independence

With Former State Representative Herb Adams

Join MHS to celebrate the Fourth of July with a public reading, by former State Representative Herb Adams, of the Declaration of Independence in front of the Longfellow House at 489 Congress Street. Lemonade and cookies will be served following the reading, which is free.

This great annual tradition features two extra special additions this year:

First is the Shettleworth Lecture Hall exhibition "Pursuit of Liberty: The Search for Compromise in the Declaration of Independence," featuring MHS's copy of the 1776 Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration and items from MHS's Fogg Collection relating to various signers of the Declaration. The Dunlap is one of only 26 surviving copies. See and zoom into Maine Historical's copy online.

Second is the "Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy, 1215-2015" traveling exhibition, sponsored by the American Bar Association and curated by the Library of Congress, in the Brown Library's second floor reading room. The Magna Carta exhibition shares the historical and contemporary relevance of this foundational document.

Viewing of the "Pursuit of Liberty" and "Magna Carta" exhibitions is included in our regular museum gallery admission. Exhibitions are on display from 10AM - 2PM on July 4. For more information about both exhibitions and the full list of hours for each, see our Exhibitions page.

Monday, July 6 – Friday, July 10, 2015

Junior Docent Camp

Junior Docent Camp

WHO: For students entering 3rd-5th grades
WHEN: Monday, July 6 - Friday, July 10: 9 AM-1 PM
COST: $100 per student from MHS member families/$125 per student from non-member families


Ever wonder what life was like before video games? Looking for a chance to step back in time? Want to be a history detective? Then Junior Docent Camp at MHS is for you!

Participants in Junior Docent Camp will explore life in 18th and 19th century Portland and go behind the scenes of Maine's oldest historic house museum. The camp is based at the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the boyhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The mix of indoor and outdoor activities will include 19th century games, gardening, crafts, cooking, and story telling. We will learn how Henry and his siblings played, dined, studied, cleaned up, and even got into trouble!

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with librarians and museum staff, and conduct research on a topic or object of their choice. At the end of the week, all participants will be fully trained and prepared to give a tour of the house to family members and guests of their choice. After the tour, families and campers are encouraged to join us in the Longfellow Garden for a brown bag lunch and Henry's favorite treat!

Slots are limited. Deadline for registering: June 29. To register or request more information, contact Kathleen Neumann, Manager of Student and Interpretative Programs, at kneumann@mainehistory.org or (207) 774-1822 ext. 214.

Saturday, July 11

Maine Genealogical Society Fair

The Maine Genealogical Society and the Maine State Library are teaming up to host the Maine Genealogical Society Fair at the Cultural Building in Augusta, ME on Saturday July 11, 2015. Admission is free and open to the public. Visitors will have an opportunity to meet with genealogical repositories from around the state. "A panel of professional genealogists will be on-hand for a Brickwall Busters workshop where attendees can get expert advice on tracking down elusive ancestors.  Staff from the Maine State Library and Maine State Archives will provide information on genealogy collections held by the State of Maine and the Maine State Museum will have free admission all day." The Maine Historical Society will be represented by members of the Brown Library staff. For more information, please visit the Maine Genealogical Society website.

Saturday, July 18 – Monday, July 20, 2015

Tall Ships Portland 2015: Non-profit Tent

Tall Ships Portland 2015: Non-profit Tent

Location: Maine State Pier (Compass Park), Commercial Street
Booth Times: July 18-19, 10AM-9PM; July 20, 10AM-6PM


Visit Maine Historical Society’s booth at one of the premier events of the summer—the Iberdrola USA Tall Ships are coming back to Portland! The MHS booth will feature a fun knot-tying activity, new merchandise related ships and the sea, and special give-aways. We hope to see you there! For more information, visit tallshipsportland.com.

Wednesday, July 22, 5:30 pm

Lost Skills Workshop: Knot-Tying

Lost Skills Workshop: Knot-Tying

Facilitators: Members of the Maine Coast Guard Auxiliary

Location: Longfellow Garden

Come try your hand at tying several simple and common, but highly useful, knots with instructors from the local Coast Guard Auxiliary. This is the first of four “lost skills” workshops this summer highlighting traditional skills and crafts in a fun, laid back how-to session. Bring a friend and learn something new that’s old. Beer, wine, alternative beverages, and snacks will be served. Supplies provided.

Cost: $10 MHS members; $15 non-members. Limited to 25. Advance registration required. Reserve tickets online.

Monday, July 27 – Friday, July 31, 2015

Junior Historian Camp

Junior Historian Camp

WHO: For students entering 6th-8th grades
WHEN: Monday, July 27 - Friday, July 31: 9 AM-1 PM
COST: $100 per student from MHS member families/$125 per student from non-member families


Ever wonder what it would be like to hang out in a museum and center of history? Would you like to search for and uncover clues in old photos, letters, maps, objects, and other items from the past? Want to see and learn about amazing things that few people get to see?

Participants in the Junior Historian Camp will have the chance to go behind the scenes in the third oldest historical society in the country--consisting of a historic house, a museum, a research library, and many work and storage spaces few members of the public get to see. They'll sharpen their detective skills by doing hands-on investigation in the collections, and using primary sources to conduct original research on a topic of Maine history of their choice.

Participants will meet and work with a variety of staff including curators, librarians, educators, and facilities staff. At the end of the week, all participants will share their newfound investigative and research skills in a presentation for family members and guests. After the presentation, families and campers are encouraged to join us in the Longfellow Garden for a brown bag lunch and celebration!

Slots are limited. Deadline for registering: July 20. To register or request more information, contact Kathleen Neumann, Manager of Student and Interpretative Programs, at kneumann@mainehistory.org or (207) 774-1822 ext. 214.

Tuesday, July 28, 12:00 pm

Poetry in the Garden: Portland's Poets Laureate

Longfellow Garden, Portland, ca. 1937

Longfellow Garden, Portland, ca. 1937

In the spirit of the original Portland poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, three of Portland's Poets Laureate share their work in the Longfellow Garden in front of the fountain. Readers include Steve Lutrell, who served from 2009-2011, outgoing laureate Marcia Brown (2013-2015), and the newest laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, whose tenure is 2015-2017. Lutrell's latest book is Plumb Line; Brown’s is When We Invented Water; Fay-LeBlanc's is Death of a Ventriloquist. Books will be on sale at the event. Bring your lunch and we'll provide beverages and cookies.

Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, July 29, 5:30 pm

Lost Skills Workshop: Basket Making

Lost Skills Workshop: Basket Making

Facilitator: Towanda Brown

Location: Longfellow Garden

Local basket maker and teacher Towanda Brown leads us in making a charming garlic basket in this beginner basket weaving session. This is the second of four “lost skills” workshops this summer highlighting traditional skills and crafts in a fun, laid back how-to session. Bring a friend and learn something new that’s old. Beer, wine, alternative beverages, and snacks will be served. Supplies provided.

Cost: $10 MHS members; $15 non-members. Limited to 20. Advance registration required. Reserve tickets online.

August Programs

Wednesday, August 5, 10:30 am

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: Blueberries for Sal

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: Blueberries for Sal

Facilitator: Kathleen Neumann, Manager of School and Interpretative Programs

Between the dark and the daylight, / When the night is beginning to lower, / Comes a pause in the day's occupations, / That is known as the Children's Hour… -- from "The Children’s Hour" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1863

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was often called “the children’s poet” and his love of children is still well remembered. Monthly, Maine Historical Society invites children ages 4-9 to celebrate reading and literature in an hour-long program called The Children’s Hour. The program begins with a read-aloud of a favorite children’s book, followed by a fun craft-making activity inspired by the story.

For this program, the book is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. The accompanying activity is a "blueberry" scavenger hunt and finger painting craft.

The program is free and refreshments will be served. Participating children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver; check-in at the Museum Store. Space is limited. Advance reservations required: Please call or email the Manager of School and Interpretative Programs the Friday before the program to reserve a spot at 207-774-1822, x214, or kneumann@mainehistory.org.

Wednesday, August 5, 5:30 pm

Lost Skills Workshop: Calligraphy

Lost Skills Workshop: Calligraphy

Facilitator: Abraham Schechter

Location: Shettleworth Lecture Hall

Abraham Schechter, Portland Public Library’s Portland history librarian, also happens to be an expert at the fine art of calligraphy. Take a break from texting and learn how to write your name and more in style. This is the third of four “lost skills” workshops this summer highlighting traditional skills and crafts in a fun, laid back how-to session. Bring a friend and learn something new that’s old. Beer, wine, alternative beverages, and snacks will be served. Supplies provided.

Cost: $10 MHS members; $15 non-members. Limited to 15. Advance registration required. Reserve tickets online.

Wednesday, August 12, 5:30 pm

Lost Skills Workshop: Drying and Using Herbs & Flowers

Lost Skills Workshop: Drying and Using Herbs & Flowers

Facilitator: Kate McCarty

Location: Longfellow Garden

Food blogger and author (Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine) Kate McCarty also teaches food preservation techniques for UMaine’s Extension program. At this workshop, she’ll show us how to make the most of herbs and flowers long after they’re picked. This is the last of four “lost skills” workshops this summer highlighting traditional skills and crafts in a fun, laid back how-to session. Bring a friend and learn something new that’s old. Beer, wine, alternative beverages, and snacks will be served. Supplies provided.

Cost: $10 MHS members; $15 non-members. Limited to 15. Advance registration required. Reserve tickets online.

Friday, August 14, 5:30 pm

Dawnland Voices: Indigenous Writing from New England

Dawnland Voices: Indigenous Writing from New England

Our final major program of the summer celebrates a new, and first-of-its-kind, anthology of native writing from the New England region. Editor Siobhan Senier, Associate Professor of English and English Graduate Program Director at the University of New Hampshire, speaks about compiling the writings and the importance of the volume to Maine and beyond.

Following her talk, six authors and poets who have pieces in the anthology will share some of their work. Readers include Carol Bachofner (Abenaki), Marie Francis (Passamaquoddy), Mihku Paul-Anderson (Maliseet), Cheryl Savageau (Abenaki), Donald Soctomah (Passamaquoddy), Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (Mohegan).

Cost: Free to MHS and tribal members; $10 non-members. Advance registrations are recommended. Reserve tickets online.

Saturday, August 15, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Genealogy 101 Workshop: How to Begin

Genealogy 101 Workshop: How to Begin

Facilitator: Jamie Rice, MHS Library Director

Due to popular demand... we're running a second session of this workshop! Act fast as spaces are limited and it sold out quickly in June.

Have you never really done any formal genealogy but are itching to get started? Are you wondering how to organize your research and what resources exist out there? This three-hour, hands-on workshop is geared toward you--the genealogy novice!

Learn about resources at Maine Historical Society, as well as numerous tips on getting started or diving deeper into current Maine / New England genealogy projects. We'll familiarize you with the wide variety of research options out there. Participants are encouraged to bring current family trees, research notes, and laptops to explore electronic resources including Ancestry.com, Heritage Quest Online, and American Ancestors.

Cost: $35 MHS Members; $45 non-members. Space is limited to 12 participants, so don't delay! Register today. Morning refreshments included.

Note: Intermediate and advanced researchers may wish to take advantage of a "Genealogy 201: Brick Walls & Missing Persons" event coming up on September 26. This day-long event will feature one-on-one appointments with experienced genealogists and librarians who can assist with specific stumbling blocks and individual queries. Stay tuned for more information!

Wednesday, August 19, 10:30 am

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: Island Boy

Children's Hour, a Story & Craft Activity for Kids: Island Boy

Facilitator: Kathleen Neumann, Manager of School and Interpretative Programs

Between the dark and the daylight, / When the night is beginning to lower, / Comes a pause in the day's occupations, / That is known as the Children's Hour… -- from "The Children’s Hour" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1863

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was often called “the children’s poet” and his love of children is still well remembered. Monthly, Maine Historical Society invites children ages 4-9 to celebrate reading and literature in an hour-long program called The Children’s Hour. The program begins with a read-aloud of a favorite children’s book, followed by a fun craft-making activity inspired by the story.

For this program, the book is Island Boy by Barbara Cooney. The accompanying activity is making paper sailboats.

The program is free and refreshments will be served. Participating children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver; check-in at the Museum Store. Space is limited. Advance reservations required: Please call or email the Manager of School and Interpretative Programs the Friday before the program to reserve a spot at 207-774-1822, x214, or kneumann@mainehistory.org.

Program Podcasts

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Annual Cruise - SOLD OUT - Call for Wait List

CRUISE - Elegant Elbe, River Cruisetour - Berlin to Prague
October 8 - October 21, 2015

Join MHS as we discover the natural beauty of former East Germany's dramatic landscape on a 13-day Elbe River cruise with Maine Historical Society. Start in Berlin and move on to tour the opulent palaces of Saxon monarchs and stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens; sail between the dramatic sandstone cliffs of Germany's "Saxon Switzerland." Get Trip Details.
Find out more about Viking River Cruises.

Exhibitions

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Morton Block and Wadsworth-Longfellow House, ca. 1912

Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland
Opens June 27, 2014

Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland uses the Wadsworth-Longfellow House as a prism to explore how Portland has grown and changed over more than 230 years. It's a fascinating new way to look at the House, its relationship to the community, and Portland history. Read More.

 

exhibit graphic

Pursuit of Liberty: The Search for Compromise in the Declaration of Independence
June 11 - August 2, 2015

Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr. Lecture Hall

Independence did not happen overnight. The writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence was the result of debate, negotiation, and compromise. Read More

Sponsored by Patriot Insurance.

 

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Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy, 1215-2015
June 30 - July 12, 2015
Opening Reception: Wednesday, July 1, 2015, 5-7pm

Brown Library, 2nd Floor Reading Room

In commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta, this traveling exhibition shares images of objects from Library of Congress collections that illustrate Magna Carta's influence throughout the centuries and explain the document's storied history. Read More

 

Maine Memory Network

Offers online access to numerous Web–based exhibits and a constantly growing collection of nearly 45,000 historical documents, images, and objects contributed by more than 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.