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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

Making Paper, Making Maine

Paper has shaped Maine's economy, molded individual and community identities, and impacted the environment throughout Maine. When Hugh Chisholm opened the Otis Falls Pulp Company in Jay in 1888, the mill was one of the most modern paper-making facilities in the country, and was connected to national and global markets. For the next century, Maine was an international leader in the manufacture of pulp and paper.

Exhibit

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.

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

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

Maine Medical Center, Bramhall Campus

Maine Medical Center, founded as Maine General Hospital, has dominated Portland’s West End since its construction in 1871 on Bramhall Hill. As the medical field grew in both technological and social practice, the facility of the hospital also changed. This exhibit tracks the expansion and additions to that original building as the hospital adapted to its patients’ needs.

Exhibit

Washington County Through Eastern's Eye

Images taken by itinerant photographers for Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company, a real photo postcard company, provide a unique look at industry, commerce, recreation, tourism, and the communities of Washington County in the early decades of the twentieth century.

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

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

War Through the Eyes of a Young Sailor

Eager to deal with the "Sesech" [Secessionists], young deepwater sailor John Monroe Dillingham of Freeport enlisted in the U.S. Navy as soon as he returned from a long voyage in 1862. His letters and those of his family offer first-hand insight into how one individual viewed the war.

Exhibit

The Kotzschmar Memorial Organ

A fire and two men whose lives were entwined for more than 50 years resulted in what is now considered to be "the Jewel of Portland" -- the Austin organ that was given to the city of Portland in 1912.

Exhibit

Poland Spring: Summering in Fashion

During the Gilded Age at the end of the nineteenth century, Americans sought to leave increasing urban, industrialized lives for the health and relaxation of the country. The Poland Spring resort, which offered a beautiful setting, healing waters, and many amenities, was one popular destination.

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

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

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

Umbazooksus & Beyond

Visitors to the Maine woods in the early twentieth century often recorded their adventures in private diaries or journals and in photographs. Their remembrances of canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing helped equate Maine with wilderness.

Exhibit

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.

Exhibit

John P. Sheahan, 1st Maine Cavalry, 31st Maine Infantry

John P. Sheahan of Dennysville served in the 1st Maine Cavalry from August 1862 until March 1864 when he was commissioned as a lieutenant in Co. E of the 31st Maine Infantry. His letters reveal much about the life of a soldier, including political views and thoughts about the war.

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

Lincoln County through the Eastern Eye

The Penobscot Marine Museum’s photography collections include nearly 50,000 glass plate negatives of images for "real photo" postcards produced by the Eastern Illustrating and Publishing Company of Belfast. This exhibit features postcards from Lincoln County.

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

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

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

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

George F. Shepley: Lawyer, Soldier, Administrator

George F. Shepley of Portland had achieved renown as a lawyer and as U.S. Attorney for Maine when, at age 42 he formed the 12th Maine Infantry and went off to war. Shepley became military governor of Louisiana early in 1862 and remained in the military for the duration of the war.