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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

Land Claims, Economic Opportunities?

The landmark 1980 Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act provided $81.6 million to Maine Indians for economic development, land purchase and other purposes. The money and increased land holdings, however, have not solved economic and employment issues for Maine Indians.

Exhibit

Home: The Longfellow House & the Emergence of Portland

The Wadsworth-Longfellow house is the oldest building on the Portland peninsula, the first historic site in Maine, a National Historic Landmark, home to three generations of Wadsworth and Longfellow family members -- including the boyhood home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The history of the house and its inhabitants provide a unique view of the growth and changes of Portland -- as well as of the immediate surroundings of the home.

Exhibit

Summer Camps

Maine is home to dozens of summer-long youth camps and untold numbers of day camps that take advantage of water, woods, and fresh air. While the children, counselors, and other staff come to Maine in the summer, the camps live on throughout the year and throughout the lives of many of the campers.

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

Great Cranberry Island's Preble House

The Preble House, built in 1827 on a hilltop over Preble Cove on Great Cranberry Island, was the home to several generations of Hadlock, Preble, and Spurling family members -- and featured in several books.

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

Maine Sweets: Confections and Confectioners

From chocolate to taffy, Mainers are inventive with our sweet treats. In addition to feeding our sweet tooth, it's also an economic driver for the state.

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Northern Threads: Colonial and 19th century fur trade

A vignette in "Northern Threads: Two centuries of dress at Maine Historical Society Part 1," this fur trade mini-exhibition discusses the environmental and economic impact of the fur trade in Maine through the 19th century.

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

Summer Folk: The Postcard View

Vacationers, "rusticators," or tourists began flooding into Maine in the last quarter of the 19th century. Many arrived by train or steamer. Eventually, automobiles expanded and changed the tourist trade, and some vacationers bought their own "cottages."

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

Longfellow: The Man Who Invented America

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a man and a poet of New England conscience. He was influenced by his ancestry and his Portland boyhood home and experience.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

This Rebellion: Maine and the Civil War

For Mainers like many other people in both the North and the South, the Civil War, which lasted from 1861-1865, had a profound effect on their lives. Letters, artifacts, relics, and other items saved by participants at home and on the battlefield help illuminate the nature of the Civil War experience for Mainers.

Exhibit

Field & Homefront: Bethel during the Civil War

Like many towns, Bethel responded to the Civil War by sending many soldiers and those at the homefront sent aid and supported families. The town grew during the war, but suffered after its end.

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The Mainspring of Fashion

The mainspring of fashion is the process whereby members of one class imitate the styles of another, who in turn are driven to ever new expedients of fashionable change.

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Northern Threads: Silhouettes in Sequence, ca. 1780-1889

A themed exhibit vignette within "Northern Threads Part I," featuring a timeline of silhouettes from about 1775 through 1889.

Exhibit

Portland Hotels

Since the establishment of the area's first licensed hotel in 1681, Portland has had a dramatic, grand and boisterous hotel tradition. The Portland hotel industry has in many ways reflected the growth and development of the city itself. As Portland grew with greater numbers of people moving through the city or calling it home, the hotel business expanded to fit the increasing demand.

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

Fashion for the People: Maine's Graphic Tees

From their humble beginnings as undergarments to today’s fashion runways, t-shirts have evolved into universally worn wardrobe staples. Named because the silhouette resembles the capital letter “T,” the t-shirt—also called a “tee”— is usually a short-sleeved, collarless shirt made of cotton. Original graphic t-shirts, graphic t-shirt quilts, and photographs trace the 102-year history of the garment, demonstrating how, through the act of wearing graphic tees, people own a part of history relating to politics, social justice, economics, and commemorative events in Maine.

Exhibit

How Sweet It Is

Desserts have always been a special treat. For centuries, Mainers have enjoyed something sweet as a nice conclusion to a meal or celebrate a special occasion. But many things have changed over the years: how cooks learn to make desserts, what foods and tools were available, what was important to people.