Project History

The Maine Memory Network grew out of an extensive assessment of state cultural resources and needs by the Cultural Affairs Council of Maine. In 1998, the Council, which includes the Maine Arts Commission, Maine Historical Society, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Maine Humanities Council, Maine State Archives, Maine State Library, and Maine State Museum, identified the need for a state-wide online resource to increase the public's access to its own heritage. The following is a timeline of the dynamic ways Maine Memory has grown and evolved over the past decade.


The Maine Communities in the New Century initiative provided seed funding and further financial support came from the state legislature. After the needs assessment, a working prototype of the site was developed.


A grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunities Program enabled us to build a dynamic database and web user interface to expand our content and collections.

An Institute of Museum and Library Services Learning Opportunities Grant enabled us to hire Outreach staff to attract and train more than 100 contributing partners and greatly expand the breadth of historical items in the database.


With an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant, we hired a Project Historian to improve our content standards and better tell the story of Maine's history through online exhibits.

Funding from the Maine Community Foundation and the guidance of Common Good Ventures helped us create, which allows our Contributing Partners to choose whether to make reproductions of their historical items available for sale and thus help generate much needed income.


A private foundation, Jane's Trust, provided funding to bring together schools and historical societies in three communities to collaborate, learn from each other, and create "mini-websites" within the Maine Memory Network. This effort built on continuing activity of the MHS Education Department to provide tools and resources through the Maine Memory Network to assist communities and schools around the state to study, celebrate, and share their local history.


The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Maine Historical Society a three-year grant to develop Maine History Online, which presents Maine's history through chronological, thematic, and critical essays. Online exhibits illustrate the essays and tell the stories of people, events, and ideas that have helped to make Maine Maine.


Maine Historical Society secured another National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to carry out the Maine Community Heritage Project, a partnership between Maine Historical Society and the Maine State Library. The program, based on the 2005 pilot projects, fostered intensive, yearlong collaborations among historical societies, public libraries, and schools selected communities. Over the course of 2008-2010, 16 teams around the State participated in the program. Team members digitized 150 items in their historical collections, researched and wrote local histories, and built online exhibits and community websites within Maine Memory Network.


Maine History Online was launched in March.

Due to the success of the Maine Community Heritage Project and Maine Memory Network in general, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Maine Historical Society a three-year National Leadership Grant for community outreach programming. The new Community Mobilization Program, which runs through 2013, disseminates the programs and tools of Maine Memory to approximately 25 communities a year through three grant levels. In addition, a series of 21st Century Skills Workshops for librarians, historical society members, and educators provide in-depth demos of Maine Memory and ways these professionals can become catalysts for local history in their communities. Find out more.

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