On Thursday, March 5, Small School from South Portland visited our campus to celebrate the completion of their Local History Local Schools study. Fourth grade students from Mr. Stoner’s and Ms. Cloutier’s classes gave presentations and shared their work with fellow classmates, parents, and MHS staff. Their projects will continue to be on display in the Student Gallery, we invite you to come check them out!
This exhibition uses the House as a prism to explore how Portland has grown and changed over more than 230 years. When Peleg Wadsworth built the House on Back Street in 1785, it was on the rural outskirts of Portland. By the early 1800s, the House was at the center of a bustling, modern New England city. Since then, Portland has boomed, burned, boomed again, busted, and reemerged as a vibrant, forward-looking city. Through it all, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House has been a constant, and witness to the life of an emerging community.
Here are some images from the opening, taken by MHS Creative Manager Dani Fazio:
Learn how you can participate in the display “Your Home, Past & Present” here.
Maine Historical Society is about people, as is Maine history itself. That’s a theme you’ll hear regularly as we move forward. I want to recognize and thank a particular group here: Maine Historical Society’s long-time members.
Let me share an incredible statistic: more than 300 people have been members of MHS for over 20 years. (MHS currently has about 2,500 members.) I’ll break it down. 139 have been members for 20-29 years, 110 for 30-39 years, 43 for 40-49 years, 10 for 50-59 years, and 3 for longer than 60 years. 240 of these long-time members live in Maine, while 60 live in other states.
Last week, we held a reception for this remarkable group, and 35 of our long-time members were able to attend.
This group has seen us through and supported tremendous change—the modernization and professionalization of the organization that got underway in the 1960s; the purchase of our museum building; the restoration fo the Longfellow House; the recent renovation of the Library; the creation of Maine Memory Network; and, the expansion of the role that MHS plays throughout the state.
A number of these members shared their stories of how they became involved with MHS —Mike Connolly (26 year member), Didi Stockly (32 years), Ruth Ayers (44 years), Bob Carroll (52 years), and Mert Henry (63 years).
Their interests—like yours—represent the wide range of things that MHS does: genealogy, scholarship, and our wonderful library; the Longfellow House; our museum, exhibits, and incredible collection of objects; our school and public programs; and yes, Maine Memory Network.
Long-time members include former trustees who have contributed significant time, energy, and financial support. It also includes volunteers, regular visitors, and others who connect to and champion our work in myriad ways.
What all have in common has been steadfast support for MHS—it’s because of their support and participation that we are where we are today. We feel a deep bond of affection and appreciation for our members. Thank you.
Last month, cake was served up for Longfellow’s 204th and now it’s time to celebrate another of Portland’s finest.
Among the highlights in This Week at MHS, you’ll find all the details on Wednesday’s 180th birthday party for civic father James Phinney Baxter.
Businessman, historian, and philanthropist, Baxter led efforts to create the Boulevard that bears his name, secure public lands, and build the original Baxter Library. He also served MHS as president during a period (1889-1921) of tremendous growth, overseeing the gift of the Longfellow House and the construction of the Library.
Join us from 5-7PM for Maine State historian Earle Shettleworth, Jr.’s illustrated introduction to Baxter’s life and work, followed by a reception featuring–what else–birthday cake!
“An Old Sea Dog Takes to the Air,” a Maine Memory exhibit about Paris Hill resident Henry (Harry) Lyon, Jr., the navigator for the Southern Cross, which flew the first trans-Pacific flight from Oakland, California, to Sydney, Australia, with stops in Hawaii and Fiji, in 1928.
Our Local History Local Schools celebration Tuesday night gave students from Wentworth Intermediate School in Scarborough, Lyseth Elementary in Portland, and Small Elementary in South Portland the opportunity to show off their great work based on our gallery exhibit, “ZOOM IN: New Approaches to Maine History.”
While they all go through a similar learning process, their final projects are entirely custom-designed to the class and the student. As they should be!
Please enjoy these wonderful photos, join us in thanking their inspiring teachers, and come see ALL the fabulous results of their work, which will be up in the hallway off the lecture hall through April.