Maine Historical Society



Upcoming Programs & Events

Events on this page: August | On-Demand Programs | Ongoing Programs | Group Trips | Exhibitions | Online Exhibitions | Regional Genealogy Events

Begin Again banner

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.

August Programs

Saturday, August 7, 09:30 am – 12:00 pm

An interactive roundtable hosted by Ian Saxine
MHS HISTORIAN'S FORUM: Investing in Empire -- The Pejepscot Proprietors and Their World

Merryconeag & Maquoit marshes, ca. 1730 (detail). Coll. 61, Map 58. MMN #12627

Merryconeag & Maquoit marshes, ca. 1730 (detail). Coll. 61, Map 58. MMN #12627

Join host Ian Saxine in this compelling roundtable featuring Michael Blaakman (Princeton University), Sara Damiano (Texas State University), Alexandra Montgomery (Mount Vernon) and Darren Ranco (University of Maine), who will bring a diverse range of scholarly perspectives to bear on the Pejepscot Proprietors and the people they encountered.

The Pejepscot Proprietors were one of the largest companies of elite land speculators that played an outsized role in colonizing the lands in what became the State of Maine in 1820. In the early eighteenth century, a handful of wealthy Boston families acquired the deed to a tract of land encompassing much of the state. The original proprietors and their descendants spent the next century luring colonists onto company towns in order to improve the value of their claim. At the same time, the proprietors struggled to convince Indigenous Wabanakis, rival land companies, and even many of their own colonists to conform to their vision for mid-Maine.

In their quest to amass a fortune from their enterprise, the Pejepscot Proprietors left a rich trove of documents now held in the Maine Historical Society. Historians and other scholars from a wide range of disciplines have since made use of this collection to learn more about not only the proprietors themselves, but also Wabanaki people and colonists from all backgrounds.

In this roundtable, attendees will view items from the MHS collection along with the panelists as they discuss topics -- including Indigenous land deeds, how companies like the Pejepscot Proprietors functioned, the creation of towns in Maine, using company records to uncover overlooked people in the archives, and much more. The program will include a question and answer session with audience participants.

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

Location: online via Zoom, REGISTER HERE.

Tuesday, August 10, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

A Talk with Don Lindgren, Margaret Hathaway, and Karl Schatz
Cooking is Community: A Look at Historic Maine Community Cookbooks

Cooking is Community: A Look at Historic Maine Community Cookbooks

Community cookbooks: you know them and you probably have at least one in your kitchen! Collections of home cooked recipes put together by church groups, synagogues, school groups, political organizations, band boosters, and even biker gangs, these cookbooks are endlessly interesting and rich with stories. Existing at the intersection of technology, home economy, food safety, advertising and marketing, these recipe books bring over 150 years of American history to life.

Authors Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz, together with Don Lindgren of Rabelais Books in Biddeford, collaborated on publishing the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook in 2020 and now they continue to explore and share their love of these unique publications with their podcast Cooking is Community. Don has been collecting and researching community cookbooks for more than a decade, and in 2019 published volume one of a multi-volume exploration of the American community cookbook, titled UnXld: American Cookbooks of Community & Place. Each episode of the podcast examines a single community cookbook from Don's collection as a physical object, a reflection of community, and as a source of recipes from a very specific time and place. Season one is all about community cookbooks from Maine! Join us to learn more from Don, Margaret, and Karl about their podcast and the fascinating stories they’ve come across researching this delicious local history.

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

Location: online via Zoom, REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, August 18, 09:00 am – 12:00 pm

BEGIN AGAIN SERIES: Teacher Workshop
History and Justice in the Classroom

Supporting the ERA, Augusta, 1981, Collections MHS/MMN #11053

Supporting the ERA, Augusta, 1981, Collections MHS/MMN #11053

In partnership with the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine
For teachers of students in grades 6-12.

Join Maine Historical Society and the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine for an engaging and informative workshop on history and justice in the classroom. MHS will provide an in-depth look at their newest exhibit Begin Again; reckoning with intolerance in Maine and the Holocaust and Human Rights Center will present the workshop “Finding Your Voice”.

Maine Historical Society's powerful new initiative Begin Again examines the roots of social justice topics and aims to stimulate civic engagement and foster dialogue among Mainers. The exhibition invites visitors to re-evaluate ideas, items, and policies of the past 500 years, and an entrenched system which has led to today's civil, economic and environmental upheaval.

Participants will learn about supporting educational resources and programming for the exhibit designed to help teachers and students explore topics and histories often underrepresented in the classroom. “Finding Your Voice” introduces the topic of social injustice and the need for young people to speak up against it. Students today are faced with many serious and sometimes frightening issues that affect them both directly and indirectly. Many may wonder how to or even if they should respond. This program shows them that young people have been involved in the fight for social justice for hundreds of years and asks students to think about and discuss what they are willing to speak up for and against.

FMI email Kathleen Neumann, or Erica Nadelhaft,

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Location: online via Zoom. REGISTER HERE

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 - May - October. See details.

Exhibition Galleries (self-guided) - See details.

Historical Walking Tours of Portland - See details.

Current Exhibitions

Begin Again exhibit logo

Begin Again:
reckoning the intolerance in Maine

Opening May 27, 2021

Purchase Tickets

GreenAcres exhibit logo

The Advent of Green Acre, A Bahá'í Center of Learning
July 7–October 2, 2021

Purchase Tickets


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.