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Online Exhibits

Your results include these online exhibits. You also can view all of the site's exhibits, view a timeline of selected events in Maine History, and learn how to create your own exhibit. See featured exhibits or create your own exhibit


Exhibit

Biddeford, Saco and the Textile Industry

The largest textile factory in the country reached seven stories up on the banks of the Saco River in 1825, ushering in more than a century of making cloth in Biddeford and Saco. Along with the industry came larger populations and commercial, retail, social, and cultural growth.

Exhibit

Art of the People: Folk Art in Maine

For many different reasons people saved and carefully preserved the objects in this exhibit. Eventually, along with the memories they hold, the objects were passed to the Maine Historical Society. Object and memory, serve as a powerful way to explore history and to connect to the lives of people in the past.

Exhibit

Les Raquetteurs

In the early 1600s, French explorers and colonizers in the New World quickly adopted a Native American mode of transportation to get around during the harsh winter months: the snowshoe. Most Northern societies had some form of snowshoe, but the Native Americans turned it into a highly functional item. French settlers named snowshoes "raquettes" because they resembled the tennis racket then in use.

Exhibit

400 years of New Mainers

Immigration is one of the most debated topics in Maine. Controversy aside, immigration is also America's oldest tradition, and along with religious tolerance, what our nation was built upon. Since the first people--the Wabanaki--permitted Europeans to settle in the land now known as Maine, we have been a state of immigrants.

Exhibit

Dressing Up, Standing Out, Fitting In

Adorning oneself to look one's "best" has varied over time, gender, economic class, and by event. Adornments suggest one's sense of identity and one's intent to stand out or fit in.

Exhibit

Graduation Season

Graduations -- and schools -- in the 19th through the first decade of the 20th century often were small affairs and sometimes featured student presentations that demonstrated what they had learned. They were not necessarily held in May or June, what later became the standard "end of the school year."

Exhibit

Laboring in Maine

Workers in Maine have labored in factories, on farms, in the woods, on the water, among other locales. Many of Maine's occupations have been determined by the state's climate and geographical features.

Exhibit

Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine

BEGIN AGAIN explores Maine's historic role, going back 528 years, in crisis that brought about the pandemic, social and economic inequities, and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.

Exhibit

Pigeon's Mainer Project: who decides who belongs?

Street artist Pigeon's artwork tackles the multifaceted topic of immigration. He portrays Maine residents, some who are asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants—people who are often marginalized through state and federal policies—to ask questions about the dynamics of power in society, and who gets to call themselves a “Mainer.”

Exhibit

Slavery's Defenders and Foes

Mainers, like residents of other states, had differing views about slavery and abolition in the early to mid decades of the 19th century. Religion and economic factors were among the considerations in determining people's leanings.

Exhibit

Port of Portland's Custom House and Collectors of Customs

The collector of Portland was the key to federal patronage in Maine, though other ports and towns had collectors. Through the 19th century, the revenue was the major source of Federal Government income. As in Colonial times, the person appointed to head the custom House in Casco Bay was almost always a leading community figure, or a well-connected political personage.

Exhibit

The Sanitary Commission: Meeting Needs of Soldiers, Families

The Sanitary Commission, formed soon after the Civil War began in the spring of 1861, dealt with the health, relief needs, and morale of soldiers and their families. The Maine Agency helped families and soldiers with everything from furloughs to getting new socks.

Exhibit

The Arrival of Winter

The astronomical arrival of winter -- also known as the winter solstice -- marks the year's shortest day and the season of snow and cold. It usually arrives on December 21.

Exhibit

Fallen Heroes: Jewish Soldiers and Sailors, The Great War

Thirty-four young Jewish men from Maine died in the service of their country in the two World Wars. This project, including a Maine Memory Network exhibit, is meant to say a little something about some of them. More than just names on a public memorial marker or grave stone, these men were getting started in adult life. They had newly acquired high school and college diplomas, they had friends, families and communities who loved and valued them, and felt the losses of their deaths.

Exhibit

Northern Threads: Civil War-era clothing

An exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads, Part 1," featuring American Civil War civilian and military clothing, 1860 to 1869.

Exhibit

Fallen Heroes: Maine's Jewish Sailors and Soldiers

Thirty-four young Jewish men from Maine died in the service of their country in the two World Wars. This project, including a Maine Memory Network exhibit, is meant to say a little something about some of them. More than just names on a public memorial marker or grave stone, these men were getting started in adult life. They had newly acquired high school and college diplomas, they had friends, families and communities who loved and valued them, and felt the losses of their deaths.

Exhibit

The Advent of Green Acre, A Baha'i Center of Learning

The Green Acre Baha'i School began as Green Acre Conferences, established by Sarah Jane Farmer in Eliot. She later became part of the Baha'i Faith and hosted speakers and programs that promoted peace. In 1912, the leader of the Baha'i Faith, 'Abdu'l-Baha, visited Green Acre, where hundreds saw him speak.

Exhibit

Chinese in Maine

In 1857, when Daniel Cough left Amoy Island, China, as a stowaway on a sailing ship from Mt. Desert Island he was on his way into history as the first Chinese person to make his home in Maine. He was soon followed by a cigar maker and a tea merchant who settled in Portland and then by many more Chinese men who spread all over Maine working mostly as laundrymen.

Exhibit

Rebecca Usher: 'To Succor the Suffering Soldiers'

Rebecca Usher of Hollis was 41 and single when she joined the Union nursing service at the U.S. General Hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania. Her time there and later at City Point, Virginia, were defining experiences of her life.

Exhibit

Silk Manufacturing in Westbrook

Cultivation of silkworms and manufacture of silk thread was touted as a new agricultural boon for Maine in the early 19th century. However, only small-scale silk production followed. In 1874, the Haskell Silk Co. of Westbrook changed that, importing raw silk, and producing silk machine twist threat, then fabrics, until its demise in 1930.

Exhibit

World War I and the Maine Experience

With a long history of patriotism and service, Maine experienced the war in a truly distinct way. Its individual experiences tell the story of not only what it means to be an American, but what it means to be from Maine during the war to end all wars.

Exhibit

Maine Eats: the food revolution starts here

From Maine's iconic lobsters, blueberries, potatoes, apples, and maple syrup, to local favorites like poutine, baked beans, red hot dogs, Italian sandwiches, and Whoopie Pies, Maine's identity and economy are inextricably linked to food. Sourcing food, preparing food, and eating food are all part of the heartbeat of Maine's culture and economy. Now, a food revolution is taking us back to our roots in Maine: to the traditional sources, preparation, and pleasures of eating food that have sustained Mainers for millennia.

Exhibit

Wired! How Electricity Came to Maine

As early as 1633, entrepreneurs along the Piscataqua River in southern Maine utilized the force of the river to power a sawmill, recognizing the potential of the area's natural power sources, but it was not until the 1890s that technology made widespread electricity a reality -- and even then, consumers had to be urged to use it.

Exhibit

Maine Streets: The Postcard View

Photographers from the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Co. of Belfast traveled throughout the state, especially in small communities, taking images for postcards. Many of these images, taken in the first three decades of the twentieth century, capture Main Streets on the brink of modernity.