May Basket Full of Treasures in This Month’s e-Connection

May basket made by Sarah Owen of Cape Porpoise, ca. 1980. Owen made these for neighborhood children.

The old-time tradition of leaving treasure-filled baskets on doorknobs or doorsteps on the first of May is the subject of both “Stories from Maine Memory Network” and “From the Collections” in this month’s e-Connection. Among other things, learn how World War I-era Biddeford children earned themselves a party after initially being chased away during their May basket reverie.

Speaking of treasures, the newsletter also announces the first round of Community Mobilization Grants–the new Maine Memory Network (MMN) program made possible by funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Open up e-Connection and discover the nine organizations and communities who made the cut! Then hop on over to our “Living History” blog, which shares MMN project work, and read in detail about their plans.

A lush spot by the Longfellow Garden fountain.

May baskets should include something from the garden, and we’ve got that in spades in this month’s newsletter. On May 19, the annual Olmstead lecture focuses on “The Longfellow Gardens: The Evolution of Two Landmarks.” (Yes, there is another Longfellow Garden, here.)

Plus, the Longfellow House and Garden are now open to the public for the season. (At long last… it seemed like that winter would never end!) Check out the tour details and times and come on in.

We’ve even got a way to get you intimately involved with the Garden–right down into the dirt, in fact. May’s e-Connection features a call for volunteers to weed and prune this spring. Check out the details and the dates, and sign up to become one with the soil.

Rounding out the surprises “in store” for you: A seasonally-apt Portland Sea Dogs book coupon good in the museum shop or online.

So now that we’ve left this virtual basket full goodies on your electronic doorstep… won’t you open it? You’ll be glad you did!


This Week at MHS: Maine Patriots and Genealogy Workshop

Maine Memory Network #11621

As we celebrate Patriot’s Day today, we remember not only Lexington and Concord, but also Maine’s role in the early battles of the American Revolution. Through letters, engravings, and maps, the Maine Memory Network online exhibit, Liberty Threatened: Maine in 1775, explores some of the events of 1775, including disputes between patriots and loyalists, escalating conflicts in Falmouth (Portland) and Machias, and Benedict Arnold’s march through Maine to Quebéc. View the exhibit.

At left is an illustration for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere from The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with numerous illustrations/ Boston : Houghton, Mifflin and Company; James R. Osgood and Company, 1880 (which can be found at the MHS Library). The poem is from Tales of a Wayside Inn.

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.

Today’s e-Connection “This Week at MHS” highlights an excellent genealogy workshop happening this coming Saturday, April 23rd from 10-11:30am. The workshop, Using,  will be lead by Ryan Woods, Director of Internet Technology at New England Historic Genealogy Society.

Psssst! MHS is leading a trip to Boston to visit NEHGS on May 14- details here.

Join us for an insider’s look into this extensive new online genealogy resource. NEHGS recently launched their flagship website, This new online resource has more than 3,000 digitized collections and more than 135 million records covering New England, New York, and other areas of family research dating back to 1620. This workshop will offer strategies for maximizing your search experience as well cover tips and techniques for navigation and personalizing your online experience. Registration required. Fee: MHS Members: $15; Non-Members: $25. To register, please call 774-1822.

Coming up in a few weeks is our annual gala event, the Mad Hatter Affair.

We hope to see you all there!

Saturday, May 7, 2011
Location: The Woodlands, Falmouth, Maine

Reservations Required. 
Call 207-774-1822 for details and
to purchase tickets. 

Details and Ticket Prices Online

View Auction Items Online

Good Things Spring Forth from April’s e-Connection

"Nest, Nook & Cranny," by Susan Blackaby; 20% off this month at MHS

After what seems like one of the longest winters on record here in Maine, the robins have finally landed! And so has this month’s e-Connection, just as chock full as those fat little birds now hopping around on your lawn.

To celebrate, we have a 20% off coupon in the newsletter good toward ANY poetry book from the MHS museum store (or shop online). Why? Because despite T. S. Eliot’s claim that April is “the cruelest month,” it also happens to be National Poetry Month.

Something Fishy: One of the last cans of sardines to be packed at the last U.S. sardine cannery is a recent addition to the MHS collection.

April may well stand as the cruelest month for the U.S. sardine industry. The Prospect Harbor Cannery closed its doors on April 18, 2010, ending a 135-year history of canning on the coast of Maine. This can of sardines, from the last batch, is now in our permanent  collection. (An unscientific internet search suggests that 2-3 years might be the shelf-life of an unopened can. Will it start to become, er, aromatic at that point? Hmmm…)

Nothing fishy–except maybe some smoked salmon appetizers–will be served up on May 7 at the Woodlands in Falmouth. That’s the date of our annual gala, the Mad Hatter Affair. For full details on the shindig, see our post Get Your Hat On.

The Mad Hatter is a lot of work behind the scenes and we all pitch in, but much of it is done by MHS “events guru” (translation: Marketing & PR Manager) Elizabeth Nash.

Marketing & PR Manager Elizabeth Nash

Fittingly, she’s profiled in this month’s e-Connection under our Spotlight section. The words “panache,” and “pizazz” are included, as might be expected in a write-up about an events guru. (MHS Factoid: Did you know that there are three Bates College alums working at MHS? Elizabeth is one of them. We’ll let you ferret out the other two.)

If that’s not enough to whet your April e-Connection appetite:

To name a locker in the MHS Library, call Development Director Deborah Tillman Stone at 774-1822 ext 231.
  • there’s a link to a Maine Memory exhibit on Hannah Pierce, another woman with her own sense of self, albeit in the 19th century;
  • an opportunity to name one of the MHS library lockers;
  • a busted myth about the Dutch once ruling Maine;
  • a feature on Downeast Magazine’s recent use of several Maine Memory images;
  • upcoming April programs;
  • and an announcement about a delightful new MHS blog (hmmm… sounds strangely familiar…).

If you don’t want to miss all this goodness in the future, sign up for the monthly e-Connection (and our in-between weeklies, “This Week at MHS”) here–sent right to your email IN-box. You’ll be glad you did!

Get Your Hat On: “Triple Crown” is the Theme for this Year’s Annual Gala

Mark your calendar for May 7 and get thee to a millinery (that’s old-fashioned lingo for hat store)… it’s time for Maine Historical Society’s annual show-stopping (or is that show-topping) event–the Mad Hatter Affair!

This year’s theme is “Triple Crown” to tie in the fun and festive focus on headwear with the annual viewing of the Kentucky Derby. Here are a slew of colorful and decorative images from the 2010 gala to inspire your creativity.

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Our biggest fundraiser of the year, the annual gala is held at The Woodlands in Falmouth and features:

  • delightful cocktails,
  • a delectable dinner,
  • a silent auction (with fabulous items like a Jackson Hole condominium, a private gallery tour at the MFA in Boston, dinner for two at the Black Point Inn, a sailing adventure, a schooner trip, overnight stays, one-of-a-kind gifts, and much, much more),
  • dancing to the lively Jim Ciampi Band,
  • watching the Kentucky Derby live from Churchill Downs,
  • and–yes–a “Triple Crown Hat Contest” with prizes for Best Male, Best Female, and Most Historical Hat.

What could you possibly have to do that weekend that could be more fun than that?!

Now, for the finer details: Tickets are $100 for individuals or $175/patron (which will get your name in print on the evening program). Or, get your friends together and purchase a table of 10 for $750. Corporate sponsorship are available for $2,500. For more information, visit the MHS Mad Hatter page. Or contact event organizer Elizabeth Nash for tickets at or 774-1822 x206.

We hope to see you there!