Maine 200: Bicentennial Education

Bicentennial Education Initiative Bicentennial Education Initiative

In 2020, MHS marked the 200th year of Maine statehood. Maine Historical Society was founded just two years after Maine was admitted to the Union as the 23rd State, and is dedicated to telling Maine stories, preserving Maine history, and connecting Mainers to the story of this state as we look toward the future. We were excited to partner with, the Maine Department of Education, and Jane's Trust in developing and sharing bicentennial-related lesson plans, and we invited teachers to share lesson plans of their own! This website supported Maine educators of all grade levels in sharing ideas and best practices for creating engaging and effective lessons to commemorate Maine's Bicentennial and continues to support educators exploring and sharing Maine’s history with their students.

Commemorating Statehood

The bicentennial of Maine statehood offered us an opportunity to reflect, commemorate, learn, and ponder. While the bicentennial served as an important bookmark in state history, it was not a celebration for all. The region of the continent that includes Maine and the Canadian Maritimes has been home to the Wabanaki peoples for thousands of years, and today we learn from and honor the heritage, resilience, and contributions of the members of the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik and at Motahkomikuk, the Houlton Band of Maliseets, and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs. Looking back at the past 200 years of statehood and more than 12,000 years of human livelihood in what we now know as Maine can give us a unique perspective on Maine's environment and economy, politics and notable figures from Maine's many communities.

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.

For Classroom Teachers

Lesson Plans

These lesson plans provide teachers and students with diverse subject matters for each Social Studies strand, and promote critical thinking as students interact with primary documents, oral histories, and the treaties, choices, industries, and influential people who populate Maine's storied past.

Maine Historical Society's lesson plans are designed for K-12 classroom teachers and include curated online image slideshows from the collections within Maine Memory Network to facilitate teaching and learning.

Maine history is all around us—it's happening right now! We would love your feedback on our Bicentennial Lesson Plans, and suggestions for additional topics and resources.

Virtual Learning Hub

These mini lessons, videos, and activities are designed for virtual distance learning and ideal for students working independently and outside the classroom. Students and teachers can also engage with our online exhibits, including Bicentennial exhibits State of Mind and Holding Up the Sky. Student worksheets are available in the Virtual Learning Hub for these online exhibits and more.

COVID-19 Resources

Maine Historical Society is also frequently adding resources relating and reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic, including videos contextualizing the current pandemic with past pandemics in Maine. View and respond to a five-minute video about an outbreak of influenza and measles in Brunswick in 1815, or watch MHS Director Steve Bromage in conversation with Dr. Richard Kahn about the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and its effect on Maine. You may also be interested in our Healthcare History primary sources lesson plan, which offers students the chance to engage with primary documents and objects hosted virtually on Maine Memory Network and respond to thematic questions relating to more than 200 years of medical organizations and professions here in Maine.

My Maine Stories

Maine Historical Society documents history as it happens—read or contribute to the many reflections from fellow Mainers on My Maine Stories. Topics of stories range from Wabanaki lived experiences, to immigration stories, to workers reflecting on their experience in Maine mills and hospitals, to daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic, to the Maine experience during current Black Lives Matter demonstrations and protests and the rising public call and need for anti-racist ideologies and actions.

Classroom Visits

While we are currently not always able to accommodate in-class visits from MHS educators, or field trips to the MHS galleries and/or Wadsworth-Longfellow House due to COVID-19 precautions, we are happy to work with you to bring Maine history to your classroom.

Many of our lessons and programs can be offered virtually via video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. These programs are 45- to 60-minute interactive virtual presentations led by an MHS educator. If you are interested in learning more, or having an MHS educator virtually visit your classroom to present one of our lessons, or if you are interested in tentatively booking an in-class visit or field trip for the future, please visit our page about student programs or contact us at the number or email below.

If you are interested in having a Maine Historical Society educator visit your classroom to present one of the MHS lessons, or if you are interested in bringing your students to MHS for a tour of our exhibit(s) and/or the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, please visit our page about student programs or contact us as the number below.

Question? Comments?

If you have any questions, comments, or need more information about any of these programs, please contact our education department at or call (207) 774-1822 x214.