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Local & Legendary: Maine in the Civil War Grants

Civil War Grants Program. Apply Today. Click here.

From 2013-2015, Maine Historical Society (MHS) and Maine Humanities Council (MHC) are collaborating on 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 teams are 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. The project invites communities to consider how national issues and events shaped town's experience, and how, in turn, the citizens of their town shaped the national story of the Civil War?

Ten communities from around the state were selected to participate over two program years of the project. In 2013-2014, Belfast, Gorham, Portland/Westbrook, Presque Isle, and Windham participated. In 2014-2015 Bethel, Livermore/Livermore Falls/Jay, Pittsfield, Rumford, and Scarborough are participating. Selection of the communities were based on geographic and population diversity, and the strength of their applications.

Program Information

Program Activities

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

Program Support

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

Local Teams

Work in each local community is planned and coordinated by a local planning team. Each planning team includes at least one representative from a local library, historical organization, and educational institution, and may also include students. Each team designates a team coordinator to serve as its local point person and to help coordinate project activities. The planning team meets 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 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.

The planning team can 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 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.

Benefits of Participation

Participating in Maine in the Civil War helps communities to:

For More Information on the project, contact Larissa Vigue Picard at Maine Historical Society, or 774-1822 x215.

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