Maine Historical Society

MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PRESERVING HISTORY
ENGAGING MINDS
CONNECTING MAINE

2020 Impact Report

Impact Report 2020

2020 was a year like no other. The pandemic, economic decline, calls for social justice, and political strife brought new challenges for many of us. The year also underlined the importance of history and the pride so many of us feel about our connection to Maine. With increased support from individuals, corporations, and foundations, MHS continued core mission-centric activities and gained momentum in new areas, including online programming.

Thanks to all who contributed last year: together, your gifts had a tremendous impact across the organization. Some highlights include:

Online Programs
Maine's Bicentennial'
Maine Memory Network
Responsive Exhibits
Collections Initiatives
Scholarship and Publications
Acquisitions
Images and Loans
Library Services

ONLINE PROGRAMS

MHS pivoted quickly from in-person to online events, organizing 25 public events with 3,500 registrants between June and December. With topics ranging from "An Apple History of Maine" to "Pandemics in Wabanaki Communities," there was something for everyone. Our Zoom programs broke geographic barriers and enabled MHS to reach new audiences; attendance more than tripled over the previous year.

"I am so glad that I registered for this event and then discovered the Maine Historical Society! I have now registered for more online programs and am thrilled--they really look like treasures! I have two cottages that are now summer vacation rentals...and I like to tell the guests vacationing there about interesting Maine topics--and these will be some of them." - Participant, Mémère's Notebook, August 2020.

MAINE'S BICENTENNIAL

MHS found new ways to commemorate Maine's Bicentennial in the face of COVID-related event cancellations.

MAINE MEMORY NETWORK

MHS added several new items to our online digital history platform, Maine Memory Network, and provided numerous opportunities for people to share their stories and engage with Maine history. MHS recorded 1.9 million page views from close to 500,000 users, a 47% increase over the previous year. Among the most popular:

RESPONSIVE EXHIBITS

MHS created responsive programming, highlighting new voices and stories, to provide context for contemporary issues and concerns.

A Convenient Soldier: The Black Guards of Maine, by guest curator Asata Radcliffe, shared the stories of African American army soldiers sent to guard the railways of Maine from enemy attacks during World War II, from 1941-1945.

State of Mind: Becoming Maine looked at Maine statehood and history through the experiences of the Wabanaki, European American, African American, and Acadian communities.

"The State of Mind: Becoming Maine exhibit was very informative and provided a rich history of the state. I particularly appreciated the focus on underrepresented and marginalized communities such as the Wabanaki people, Acadien people, and Black people. These were groups whose history I was not familiar with, and it was really interesting to learn about their role both in the history of Maine as well as Maine today..." - Museum visitor, December 2020.

REDACT: Obscuring the Maine Constitution examined a redaction of Maine's Constitution in 1875, and explored the ramifications that ceasing to print sections 1, 2, and 5 of Article 10 had upon Wabanaki communities and public lands.

COLLECTIONS INITIATIVES

MHS engaged in exciting Collections initiatives core to our mission to preserve the Maine story:

SCHOLARSHIP & PUBLICATIONS

MHS supported new Maine history research and scholarship initiatives.

ACQUISITIONS

MHS added a considerable number of collections to our permanent holdings, including historic clothing and uniforms, fine art, manuscript, original newspapers, and photographs. Highlights include a set of 1850s-era daguerreotypes from the Wiscasset area; a 1930s-era Elsa Schiaparelli hat from the Pachios family; and a series of ledgers kept by Portland tailors.

IMAGES AND LOANS

MHS continued to serve as a key resource for numerous organizations, businesses, and individuals, providing digital images, collections loans, and Maine material.

LIBRARY SERVICES

The Brown Research Library maintained a safe, but active schedule, supporting visitors in person and remotely.