Founded in 1822, the Maine Historical Society is the third oldest state historical society in the nation, and curates museums, programs, and events to celebrate the state's long history. The MHS Museum features a collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, including pieces of Native American archaeological material, political memorabilia, and pictures of the first governor with his head caught in a lobster trap. The society's 1-acre campus is also home to the the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet best known for penning "Paul Revere's Ride" and The Song of Hiawatha. Membership to the society includes invitations to exhibit openings, member parties, lectures, trips, access to the Brown Research library, a subscription to the Maine History Journal, and a 10% discount at the museum store, web store, and all vintage Maine image purchases.
When most people think of Italian villas, elaborate textiles, and Turkish smoking rooms, they don't picture them in the United States. But they used to be. The Victoria Mansion showcases the grandeur of art, design, and architecture before the Civil War. Based in the 19th-century Morse-Libby house, the museum is now open to the public, although it was once in peril of being ripped down and turned into a gas station in 1940.
Visitors can tour the house to see rooms dripping with stained glass, gilded mirrors, and satin textiles. From the very large?chestnut paneled walls?to the very small?a silver salt cellar by Tiffany & Co.?the home displays the most opulent architecture and decor of the age. In addition to guided tours, the museum sponsors public lectures, discussion groups, and scholarly symposiums on 19th-century topics, like the mansion's artwork.
Since Portland Museum of Art opened in 1882, its collection has blossomed to include more than 17,000 pieces of art from the 18th century to the present day. Amid works of sculpture, ceramics, and furniture, the museum sports paintings by European luminaries, such as Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. At its core, however, are works by Maine artists.
Roughly 10 changing exhibitions round out the museum’s displays, which are spread throughout three buildings: the L.D.M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, the Charles Shipman Payson Building, and the 1801-built McMellan House. Besides artwork, these spaces house the museum’s events, which range from lectures to film screenings.
Roughly 100 billion stars twinkle in our galaxy, and upward of 400 billion galaxies exist in the universe. For more than 40 years, Southworth Planetarium has kept an eye on them from its University of Southern Maine home. Visitors to the facility can explore exhibits and attend lectures to learn about planets such as Venus, which rains down sulfuric acid, and Saturn, which is fed up with Venus's negative attitude. The planetarium also hosts impressive omni-dome shows with picturesque space narratives and laser lights set to music.
During the course of its more than 50-year history, the Maine Maritime Museum has amassed a collection of more than 21,000 artifacts, including 140 small watercraft. Knowledgeable docents unveil this collection on tours, as well as guided walks through two shipyards and a Victorian-era shipbuilder's house. In warmer weather, guides also dispense nautical trivia during cruises down the Kennebec River. A series of rotating exhibits have focused on naval architecture, examined mariners' relationships with weather, and traced the history of nautical humor.
Reservations/Appointments: Not offered
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Pro Tip: Don't miss our collection of more than 60 antique autos, from a 1902 Rambler to a 1962 Rolls Royce.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Narrow Gauge Steam Train Rides
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
Apart from the antique autos and our collection of trains and train-related items, we also care for more than 28 historic buildings and structures, including the original Freeport Station (c1912), moved here in 1964 when Maine Central Railroad stopped cargo service on that line. For more than fifty years LL Bean shipped packages around the world from that station. Other buildings on the grounds include a rare octagonal crossing shanty from Portland (c1905), Thorndike Station (c1871), Boothbay Town Hall (c1847), and Spruce Point Chapel (c1927).
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Maine?s Merci boxcar is part of the permanent collection at the Boothbay Railway Village. A restoration of the car and its beautiful plaques, bearing the coats of arms of all of the provinces of France, was completed in 2009. The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens. They were showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948. The Merci Train arrived in New York harbor on February 3rd, 1949 and each of the 48 American states at that time received one of the gift laden box cars. The 49th box car was shared by Washington D.C. and the Territory of Hawaii.