More than 170 people attended Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Sesquicentennial Symposium at USM’s Hannaford Hall on Saturday, April 27. The event was the kick-off to more than two years of programming as part of a joint Civil War project between Maine Historical Society and Maine Humanities Council.
Keynote speakers Manisha Sinha (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Patrick Rael (Bowdoin College) delivered talks on emancipation and Maine in the Civil War, respectively, while popular breakout sessions on medicine, theater, literature, and photography explored scientific and cultural aspects of the time.
Special presentations by living history presenter (and theater breakout session facilitator) Richard Sautter as Civil War-era actor James E. Murdoch, and a rousing musical performance by the 3rd Maine Infantry Fife and Drum Corps, were highlights of the day.
As part of the MHS/MHC joint project, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, four communities will participate in a year-long exploration of their local Civil War history. Teams from Belfast, Gorham/Windham, Portland/Westbrook, and Presque Isle were in attendance at the Symposium and will attend a three-day orientation in July at Bowdoin College to begin their projects in earnest.