News and Announcements

Maine Historical Society Awarded $852,000 National Leadership Grant to Launch The Maine Community Heritage Project in 16 Towns and Cities Throughout The State

October 24, 2007 – The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded Maine Historical Society (MHS) a National Leadership Grant of $852,000 over the next three years. The grant will enable MHS, in partnership with the Maine State Library, to launch the Maine Community Heritage Project in 16 towns and cities throughout the state. This is the largest programmatic grant MHS has ever received, and is the largest competitive grant awarded by this agency in Maine. It is an extremely prestigious honor: of the 213 applications submitted for this award, 43 were granted.

"The Maine Community Heritage Project will foster working partnerships among local libraries, historical societies, teachers and students–all toward the end of creating vital online presentations of community history and culture," noted Richard D'Abate, Executive Director of Maine Historical Society. "Out of this project will come a number of new models: for community partnership, for the innovative use of technology, for engaging youth and building intergenerational cooperation, and for using local history as a community development tool."

Anne–Imelda M. Radice, Director of IMLS, added, "Cultural institutions energize their communities by not just preserving culture, heritage, and knowledge, but by supporting life–long learning and engagement. National Leadership Grants harness the work of the best of these institutions. By promoting innovation and partnerships, they allow these institutions to create national models that address the challenges of the broader library and museum communities, and help strengthen their impact."

One reviewer of the proposal commented, "The Maine Community Heritage Project is an inspired, ambitious project that utilizes state and local resources and involves young people in a way that is particularly innovative. This is an excellent example of a Leadership Project that has the power to impact communities throughout Maine and, by example, the nation."

The mission of IMLS is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. To learn more about IMLS, go to

Maine Historical Society Awarded $15,000 Grant From Maine Community Foundation

November 2006 – MHS has received $15,000 from the PF Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to assist in improving the care of and public access to the privately held Pierce Family Collection. The collection will be cataloged and re–housed,then select items from the collections—approximately 200 pages of letters and other documents—will be digitized and made available to the public through MHS's online historical resource, the Maine Memory Network (MMN).

"The Pierce Family Collection is a remarkable historical resource and has great potential value to people in the Baldwin area and beyond," says MHS Historian Candace Kanes. "The project will focus on letters and other documents relating to education. These include letters between Pierce children and their parents when the children were away at school (Gorham Academy, Bridgton Academy, Bowdoin College). The material provides an opportunity to examine a family's commitment to the education of its children and the nature of nineteenth century education."

Maine Historical Society preserves the heritage and history of Maine: the stories of Maine people, the traditions of Maine communities, and the record of Maine's place in a changing world. Developed and managed by MHS, Maine Memory Network ( is an online museum and archive that houses digital copies of more than 13,000 historical items contributed by 180 organizations across the state.

New Timeline of Maine History on Maine Memory Network

September 2007 – Maine Historical Society developed its timeline in response to users of Maine Memory Network ( and visitors to the Maine Historical Society ( websites who wanted quick answers to questions such as "When did Maine become a state?" or "What happened in Maine during the Revolution?". The timeline can also help visitors put the items and exhibits from Maine Memory Network into a broader context.

"The timeline is intended to cover selected events in a variety of areas: settlement, politics and government, religion, education, labor and industry, and the arts and culture," notes Candace Kanes, Maine Memory Network Project Historian. "Although it does not cover all events or people, it should be useful to students of all ages and the general public in understanding the chronology and breadth of the state's history."

View the timeline

Maine Historical Society Awarded $349,000 From NEH To Create Maine History Online

September 2006 – Maine Historical Society (MHS) is pleased to announce it has been awarded $349,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Over the next three years, this grant will allow MHS to create Maine History Online (MHO), a new feature within the Maine Memory Network (, Maine's online history museum and archive. Maine History Online will introduce people to key topics, themes, and events in Maine history, and encourage them to think critically about how history is interpreted and used.

"Maine History Online is a response to the opportunities opened up by the Maine Memory Network, as well as a response to the clear demands of its users and many others in Maine who wish to understand the history of their state in a broader context," notes MHS Executive Director, Richard D'Abate. "MHO is designed to ensure that Maine Memory Network becomes a vibrant, engaging, ever–growing place for the public, in particular Maine school children, to learn about Maine history, a true online museum."

NEH awards are the result of a rigorous, highly selective review process; Maine Historical Society is one of only sixteen museums and historical organizations across the nation to receive NEH funds from this current round of applicants.

"The Endowment judged Maine History Online to be a potential national model and exactly the type of innovative use of digital technology that NEH hopes to encourage," says Nancy E. Rogers, NEH Director of Public Programs. "We are impressed by the extent to which this project will reflect a genuinely statewide effort, incorporating materials gathered from over 160 local historical organizations."

NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

Maine Community Heritage Project

The Maine Community Heritage Project is a pilot program that will explore, celebrate, and provide much-needed access to information about the history of Maine communities. MCHP teams, which will consist of representatives from local schools, historical societies, libraries, and/or other community groups, will work closely together with staff from the Maine Historical Society to create online Community Heritage Galleries that will describe the history of their towns.

Every community in Maine has a rich history and valuable historical resources. Often, though, information about that history is scattered, and the historical resources are difficult to access. Through Maine Memory Network, Maine Historical Society will help pilot communities gather this material together, and create a prominent place on the Web where people in the community and beyond, especially students, can access and use it.

Teams will be drawn from across Maine and will represent the state's geographical, social, and economic diversity.

The project will create a partnership model, resources, and the technological infrastructure that will enable communities across the state to subsequently develop similar partnerships, create their own Community Heritage Galleries, and share their history on Maine Memory Network.

The Maine Historical Society partners with the University of Maine Press to publish the Finding Katahdin Resource Guide on Maine Memory Network

In the fall of 2001, the University of Maine Press published Finding Katahdin: An Exploration of Maine's Past. This rigorous text presents Maine history in a format and style that will appeal to students from grades seven through twelve. Written by talented author Amy Hassinger, the book was shepherded through its formulation by a committee of education and history professors, public school social studies teachers, and the University of Maine Press. Draft chapters from the book were tested in middle school classrooms, with feedback incorporated into the text. Mindful of the State of Maine's learning results, the book presents an articulate, thoughtful understanding of Maine history in a way that engages students and introduces them to the discipline of historical research and scholarship.

Finding Katahdin explores Maine in its various incarnations: as a land of prehistoric hunters and gatherers, a frontier where English, French, and Wabanaki cultures mix and clash, a mecca for a shifting mosaic of loggers, fishermen, farmers, shipbuilders, artists, tourists, and others. The narrative is exciting and varied, with sections of dialogue, excerpts from primary source documents, short biographies, and other devices that illuminate the history. The design of the text is graceful and straightforward, with many reproductions of paintings and photographs, as well as sidebars, charts, maps and document-reproductions.

An accompanying Resource Guide for Finding Katahdin is available on the Maine Memory Network. The Resource Guide provides classroom activities, lesson plans and other materials for classroom use to accompany the textbook. It is presented on the MMN in electronic format, along with "document packets," collections of historical source documents from the state's collecting organizations. Click here to access these online resources.

Maine Historical Society Awarded Prestigious Certificate of Commendation from The American Association for State and Local History

Maine Historical Society is proud to announce it is the recipient of an American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Certificate of Commendation for its online museum, Maine Memory Network. The AASLH Annual Awards Program is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. Award winners were honored at a banquet in Pittsburgh, PA, on Saturday, September 24, 2005. Accepting the award for Maine Historical Society will be its Executive Director, Richard D'Abate.

"We're tremendously pleased with this award. Maine Memory Network (MMN) is one of the first statewide online museum archives in the country, allowing unprecedented access to Maine's historical collections and exhibits," notes D'Abate. "The website allows us to serve a wider and more diverse public through education, community partnership and technology."

"Maine Memory Network is Maine's first and only online database of historical images related to state and regional history," noted MMN nominator Patricia Burdick, Special Collections Librarian at Colby College, Waterville, ME. "Since its creation in 2000, the project has provided critical services: historical repositories statewide have become more aware of each other's holdings; educators have incorporated primary source materials into their classes using MMN lesson plans; students, researchers and private individuals have gained online access to important and fascinating archival collections. The project is significant for its ambitious access and outreach goals, its solid technological administration and its ability to bring the power of digitization to even remote places in Maine through training and support activities."

Maine Memory Network, a project of Maine Historical Society, was one of 87 national award winners this year. With more than 10,000 images from over 100 Contributing Organizations, MMN is an essential educational resource, promoting historical preservation and connecting communities throughout a geographically large state.

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