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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

Educating Oneself: Carnegie Libraries

Industrialist Andrew Carnegie gave grants for 20 libraries in Maine between 1897 and 1912, specifying that the town own the land, set aside funds for maintenance, have room to expand -- and offer library services at no charge.

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

Hermann Kotzschmar: Portland's Musical Genius

During the second half of the 19th century, "Hermann Kotzschmar" was a familiar household name in Portland. He spent 59 years in his adopted city as a teacher, choral conductor, concert artist, and church organist.

Exhibit

A Soldier's Declaration of Independence

William Bayley of Falmouth (Portland) was a soldier in the Continental Army, seeing service at Ticonderoga, Valley Forge, Monmouth Court House, and Saratoga, among other locations. His letters home to his mother reveal much about the economic hardships experienced by both soldiers and those at home.

Exhibit

For the Union: Civil War Deaths

More than 9,000 Maine soldiers and sailors died during the Civil War while serving with Union forces. This exhibit tells the stories of a few of those men.

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

Fashionable Maine: early twentieth century clothing

Maine residents kept pace with the dramatic shift in women’s dress that occurred during the short number of years preceding and immediately following World War I. The long restrictive skirts, stiff collars, body molding corsets and formal behavior of earlier decades quickly faded away and the new straight, dropped waist easy-to-wear clothing gave mobility and freedom of movement in tune with the young independent women of the casual, post-war jazz age generation.

Exhibit

Hiking, Art and Science: Portland's White Mountain Club

In 1873, a group of men, mostly from Portland, formed the second known hiking club in the U.S., the White Mountain Club of Portland, to carry out their scientific interests, their love of hiking and camaraderie, and their artistic interests in painting and drawing the features of several of the White Mountains.

Exhibit

Chansonetta Stanley Emmons: Staging the Past

Chansonetta Stanley Emmons (1858-1937) of Kingfield, Maine, experimented with the burgeoning artform of photography. Starting in 1897, Emmons documented the lives of people, many in rural and agricultural regions in Maine and around the world. Often described as recalling a bygone era, this exhibition features glass plate negatives and painted lantern slides from the collections of the Stanley Museum in Kingfield on deposit at Maine Historical Society, that present a time of rapid change, from 1897 to 1926.

Exhibit

A Tour of Sanford in 1900

This collection of images portrays many buildings in Sanford and Springvale. The images were taken around the turn of the twentieth century.

Exhibit

The Irish on the Docks of Portland

Many of the dockworkers -- longshoremen -- in Portland were Irish or of Irish descent. The Irish language was spoken on the docks and Irish traditions followed, including that of giving nicknames to the workers, many of whose given names were similar.

Exhibit

Independence and Challenges: The Life of Hannah Pierce

Hannah Pierce (1788-1873) of West Baldwin, who remained single, was the educated daughter of a moderately wealthy landowner and businessman. She stayed at the family farm throughout her life, operating the farm and her various investments -- always in close touch with her siblings.

Exhibit

Northern Threads: Two centuries of dress at Maine Historical

Organized by themed vignettes, Northern Threads shares stories about Maine people, while exploring how the clothing they wore reveals social, economic, and environmental histories. This re-examination of Maine Historical Society's permanent collection is an opportunity to consider the relevance of historic clothing in museums, the ebb and flow of fashion styles, and the complexities of diverse representation spanning 200 years of collecting.

Exhibit

Hannibal Hamlin of Paris Hill

2009 marked the bicentennials of the births of Abraham Lincoln and his first vice president, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine. To observe the anniversary, Paris Hill, where Hamlin was born and raised, honored the native statesman and recalled both his early life in the community and the mark he made on Maine and the nation.

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

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

Good Will-Hinckley: Building a Landscape

The landscape at the Good Will-Hinckley campus in Fairfield was designed to help educate and influence the orphans and other needy children at the school and home.

Exhibit

Great War and Armistice Day

In 1954, November 11 became known as Veterans Day, a time to honor American veterans of all wars. The holiday originated, however, as a way to memorialize the end of World War I, November 11, 1918, and to "perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations." Mainers were involved in World War I as soldiers, nurses, and workers on the homefront aiding the military effort.

Exhibit

George W. Hinckley and Needy Boys and Girls

George W. Hinckley wanted to help needy boys. The farm, school and home he ran for nearly sixty nears near Fairfield stressed home, religion, education, discipline, industry, and recreation.

Exhibit

The Life and Legacy of the George Tate Family

Captain George Tate, mast agent for the King of England from 1751 to the Revolutionary War, and his descendants helped shape the development of Portland (first known as Falmouth) through activities such as commerce, shipping, and real estate.

Exhibit

Cosmopolitan stylings of Mildred and Madeleine Burrage

Born in Portland, sisters Mildred Giddings Burrage (1890-1983) and Madeleine Burrage (1891-1976) were renowned artists and world travelers. Mildred's experiences studying painting in Paris and Italy, and the sisters' trips to Mexico and Guatemala inspired their artwork and shared passions for cosmopolitan and stylish attire. Housed at Maine Historical Society, The Burrage Papers include selections of original advertising drawings called "line sheets" from Parisian fashion houses dating from 1928 to 1936. Images of Madeleine's gemstone jewelry and Mildred's artwork accompany intimate family photographs of the sisters.

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

From French Canadians to Franco-Americans

French Canadians who emigrated to the Lewiston-Auburn area faced discrimination as children and adults -- such as living in "Little Canada" tenements and being ridiculed for speaking French -- but also adapted to their new lives and sustained many cultural traditions.

Exhibit

Harry Lyon: An Old Sea Dog Takes to the Air

Through a chance meeting, Harry Lyon of Paris Hill became the navigator on the 1928 flight of the Southern Cross, the first trans-Pacific flight. His skill as a navigator, despite his lack of experience, was a key factor on the flight's success.