Maine @ 200: Commemorating Maine Statehood, 1820-2020

Share Local History: Learn how to share YOUR collections Maine Bicentennial: commemorating Maine Statehood

March 15, 2020 Marks the Bicentennial of Maine's Statehood

This site provides resources for learning about how Maine became a state, exploring Maine history, and participating in the commemoration of Maine's Bicentennial. The Maine Memory Network is a hub, launch pad, and point of connection that puts vast information about Maine and Maine history at your fingertips. Share your story!

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

The Bicentennial of Maine Statehood is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity people who care about Maine. Maine Historical Society is helping lead a participatory statewide commemoration of Maine's Bicentennial (1820-2020) that will celebrate Maine, explore how 13,000 years of history shapes the state today, and support efforts to prepare Maine for the future.

Maine history doesn't just reflect Maine's past. It helps us better understand Maine today, and illustrates how the state's diverse people and communities contribute to Maine's identity, well-being, and vitality. Their stories provide guidance, inspiration, and examples of what it takes to build, nurture, and sustain strong communities—a key perspective as Maine prepares for the future.

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  • Download our Community Guide to Commemorating Maine's Bicentennial. Resources to support your community's Bicentennial commemoration and participation in statewide activities.

  • Share your Maine history and stories here on Maine Memory Network. Every individual, community, business, and institution's experience, perspective, and story shapes Maine and matters. Your Maine story—photographs, documents, exhibits, and memories— will be accessible online, permanently archived, and become part of the narrative of Maine history, helping us all know and understand Maine better.


Explore Maine History

Brush up on how and why Maine became the 23rd State in the Union. Who was for it, who was against, and why? The Wabanaki had been living in the region now known as Maine for approximately 13,000 years. The path to statehood was centuries in the making and tied Maine to key national events and issues: the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Missouri Compromise, and, eventually, the Civil War. And, of course we cut ties with Massachusetts. The story of Maine statehood is fascinating, echoes many issues in Maine today, and was central to the development of the United States.

Maine Memory Network provides extensive resources to help you explore Maine history, including collections, exhibits, stories, and other content contributed by more than 270 organizations across Maine and beyond.

The following resources will help you begin your exploration of Maine Statehood:

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The Wabanaki, the First People of Maine

The continuing 13,000-year story of the first people of Maine, the Wabanaki, provides critical context for understanding Maine Statehood.

Holding Up the Sky. Explore the online version of MHS's exhibit Holding Up the Sky which was on view in our main gallery in Portland from April 21, 2019 - February 1, 2020.

The Path to Statehood

  • An Overview of Statehood. Learn how settlement of the District of Maine, its natural resources, and strategic location placed Maine at the center of global competition for control of New England prior to separation.

  • The Political Process. Between 1792 and 1819 there were six separate votes for separation. See what was at stake and why support for Statehood finally emerged.

Introduction to Maine History

Maine History Online offers a sweeping introduction to Maine history told through the eyes of Maine communities.

Finding Your Maine

What topics interest you? Search Maine Memory Network for materials about your community and interests.

To Continue Your Study:

There are many excellent books that will help you learn about Maine history. See this list to get started.

We are lucky in Maine: there are wonderful organizations throughout the state that have unique knowledge, collections, and resources that can help you explore Maine history. Start with your local public library and historical society, and then follow your interests to the resources provided by the organization listed at the end of the Community Guide available on this site.


These resources will connect you to partners and activities throughout Maine. We invite you to explore and to become part of the commemoration!