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Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Grants

Civil War Grants Program. Apply Today. Click here.


Maine Historical Society (MHS) and Maine Humanities Council (MHC) are pleased to announce Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War, a grant program to engage Maine communities in their Civil War history. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Local & Legendary brings together collaborative project teams comprised of libraries, historical organizations, and educational institutions to explore local Civil War history in multidisciplinary ways and investigate questions of that era's motivations, loyalty, identity, and politics at the community level. Digital exhibits created by the team will be added to Maine Memory Network's Civil War site.

The state of Maine holds a special place in the history of the American Civil War. Though far from the front lines, the state and its citizens played key roles in the coming of the war, the war itself, and its aftermath. More than 70,000 Mainers served in Union blue (including more than 24 Union generals), and nearly 10,000 lost their lives. But the story of Maine and the Civil War is also about the struggles, concerns, and triumphs of the 558,000 Mainers who remained at home. How did national issues and events shape your town's experience, and how, in turn, did the citizens of your town shape the national story of the Civil War?

We invite Maine's communities to take a journey through their Civil War history as a way to better understand who they are today. Ten communities from around the state will be selected to participate over two program years of the project. Five communities were chosen for the 2013-2014 academic year: Belfast, Gorham, Portland/Westbrook, Presque Isle, and Windham. Five more will be chosen in 2014-2015. Selection of the communities will be based on geographic and population diversity, and the strength of their applications.

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Program Information

Who Should Apply

Any Maine town, city, village, other community is invited to apply to the program. We will also accept two-town partner applications. One of the required organizations (library, historical society/archive, or educational institution) must take the lead on forming the team and directing the application process.

The Maine in the Civil War project requires a significant commitment of time and effort by your local team. Participation will enable your community to immerse itself in its history, discover new ways to come together, collaborate and share resources, and develop significant skills and capacity. Our staff is available to discuss your community's interest, team, and application.

Read the Maine Memory Network blog to get a sense of how Local and Legendary has looked for our 2013-2014 communities.

Program Activities

Each community selected for the program will participate in, organize, and host a number of activities to engage participants in local, state, and national themes related to the Civil War. These include the following:

Program Support

Your community team will receive extensive support, guidance, and technical training throughout the project from MHC and MHS staff. In addition to the $2,000 grant, community teams will receive:

Local Teams

Work in each local community will be planned and coordinated by a local planning team, the group that should submit its community's application. Each planning team should include at least one representative from a local library, historical organization, and educational institution. The planning team may also include students. Each team will designate a team coordinator to serve as its local point person and to help coordinate project activities. The planning team will meet monthly, often with MHC and/or MHS staff in attendance, to coordinate project activities, monitor progress, and discuss opportunities and issues that arise, and to facilitate communication with MHC and MHS. Maine Historical and Maine Humanities staff will help teams organize their work, identify specific project tasks, set priorities, define specific roles and responsibilities for team members and other local participants, and assist in all phases of the project. We anticipate that each team will be organized a little differently, and reflect the particular interests, needs, talents, and temperaments of its community.

There will be many opportunities for additional members of each community to get involved and contribute. The planning team, in fact, should form the nucleus of a larger team of local participants—historical society members, teachers, students, librarians, retirees, service club members, civically-engaged individuals, and other volunteers—who will contribute to the project in a variety of ways according to their time, interest, and ability. Some of these opportunities might include mentoring students, helping with research, sharing information and knowledge, organizing events, handling publicity, leading extension activities, transcribing documents, scanning photographs, writing, editing, or participating in interviews.

Expectations for Local Teams

Successfully completing the program requires a significant commitment of time and effort by your local team. Local teams will be expected to meet formally at least once a month to plan and monitor project activities and to get together regularly as needed throughout the program year to complete program activities. One representative from each partnering organization is required to attend the mandatory project orientation at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Summer 2014 (dates TBA), and a mid-year training in January 2015 (date TBA). Each partner is expected to contribute to the team and remain engaged throughout the program year. Team members must be prepared to participate in a series of program evaluation interviews prior to beginning the project, during the project, and upon completion of the project. Not every team will be chosen for this process necessarily, but all teams must be willing to participate if selected. Please discuss these expectations as a team prior to applying and contact program staff with any questions.

Benefits of Participation

Participating in Maine in the Civil War can help your community to:

Application Materials and Deadline

The application process opens on January 1, 2014, with a deadline of March 3, 2014. To apply, download the full grant guidelines and choose either the MSWord (DOC) version of the application or the PDF (to type or handwrite directly onto the hard copy; this is not a "fillable" PDF):

CW Grant Guidelines (PDF)
Team Application (DOC)
Team Application (Fillable PDF)

Download additional Project Partner forms as needed. Each partner must complete this form; a single copy is embedded in the master application.

CW Project Partner Form (DOC)
CW Project Partner Form (PDF)

Communities must speak with both representatives from MHC and MHS before submitting an application:

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.