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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

State of Mind: Becoming Maine

The history of the region now known as Maine did not begin at statehood in 1820. What was Maine before it was a state? How did Maine separate from Massachusetts? How has the Maine we experience today been shaped by thousands of years of history?

Exhibit

The Shape of Maine

The boundaries of Maine are the product of international conflict, economic competition, political fights, and contested development. The boundaries are expressions of human values; people determined the shape of Maine.

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The British capture and occupation of Eastport 1814-1818

The War of 1812 ended in December 1814, but Eastport continued to be under British control for another four years. Eastport was the last American territory occupied by the British from the War of 1812 to be returned to the United States. Except for the brief capture of two Aleutian Islands in Alaska by the Japanese in World War II, it was the last time since 2018 that United States soil was occupied by a foreign government.

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John Hancock's Relation to Maine

The president of the Continental Congress and the Declaration's most notable signatory, John Hancock, has ties to Maine through politics, and commercial businesses, substantial property, vacations, and family.

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Amazing! Maine Stories

These stories -- that stretch from 1999 back to 1759 -- take you from an amusement park to the halls of Congress. There are inventors, artists, showmen, a railway agent, a man whose civic endeavors helped shape Portland, a man devoted to the pursuit of peace and one known for his military exploits, Maine's first novelist, a woman who recorded everyday life in detail, and an Indian who survived a British attack.

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Prisoners of War

Mainers have been held prisoners in conflicts fought on Maine and American soil and in those fought overseas. In addition, enemy prisoners from several wars have been brought to Maine soil for the duration of the war.

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Liberty Threatened: Maine in 1775

At Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775, British troops attempted to destroy munitions stored by American colonists. The battles were the opening salvos of the American Revolution. Shortly, the conflict would erupt in Maine.

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The Jews of Maine

Like other immigrant groups, Jews came to Maine to make a living and enjoy the natural and cultural environment. Their experiences have been shaped by their occupational choices, Jewish values and, until recently, experiences of anti-Semitism.

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The Establishment of the Troy Town Forest

Seavey Piper, a selectman, farmer, landowner, and leader of the Town of Troy in the 1920s through the early 1950s helped establish a town forest on abandoned farm land in Troy. The exhibit details his work over ten years.

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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.

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Doing Good: Medical Stories of Maine

Throughout Maine’s history, individuals have worked to improve and expand medical care, not only for the health of those living in Maine, but for many around the world who need care and help.

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Maine Politicians, National Leaders

From the early days of Maine statehood to the present, countless Maine politicians have made names for themselves on the national stage.

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We Used to be "Normal": A History of F.S.N.S.

Farmington's Normal School -- a teacher-training facility -- opened in 1863 and, over the decades, offered academic programs that included such unique features as domestic and child-care training, and extra-curricular activities from athletics to music and theater.

Exhibit

Colonial Cartography: The Plymouth Company Maps

The Plymouth Company (1749-1816) managed one of the very early land grants in Maine along the Kennebec River. The maps from the Plymouth Company's collection of records constitute some of the earliest cartographic works of colonial America.

Exhibit

A Convenient Soldier: The Black Guards of Maine

The Black Guards were African American Army soldiers, members of the segregated Second Battalion of the 366th Infantry sent to guard the railways of Maine during World War II, from 1941 to 1945. The purpose of the Black Guards' deployment to Maine was to prevent terrorist attacks along the railways, and to keep Maine citizens safe during the war.

Exhibit

Maine's 20th Regiment

The War was not going well for the Union and in the summer of 1862, when President Lincoln called for an additional 300,000 troops, it was not a surprise to see so many men enlist in an attempt to bring proper leadership into the Army.

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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.

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The Trolley Parks of Maine

At the heyday of trolleys in Maine, many of the trolley companies developed recreational facilities along or at the end of trolley lines as one further way to encourage ridership. The parks often had walking paths, dance pavilions, and various other entertainments. Cutting-edge technology came together with a thirst for adventure and forever changed social dynamics in the process.

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.

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Looking Out: Maine's Fire Towers

Maine, the most heavily forested state in the nation, had the first continuously operational fire lookout tower, beginning a system of fire prevention that lasted much of the twentieth century.

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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.

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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.

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Guarding Maine Rail Lines

Black soldiers served in Maine during World War II, assigned in small numbers throughout the state to guard Grand Trunk rail lines from a possible German attack. The soldiers, who lived in railroad cars near their posts often interacted with local residents.

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Civil Defense: Fear and Safety

In the 1950s and the 1960s, Maine's Civil Defense effort focused on preparedness for hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters and a more global concern, nuclear war. Civil Defense materials urged awareness, along with measures like storing food and other staple items and preparing underground or other shelters.