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Arts & Culture

History Museums


Mainers excel at protecting important pieces of their past. The Maine Historical Society, local historical society museums, historic house museums, and living history sites specialize in preserving, documenting and celebrating Maine's history and you see real artifacts at nearly every one of these sites.

Historical Society Museums

If you have ancestors from Maine, you can search for them at The Maine Historical Society's Center for Maine History in Portland, which has exhibits, programs and a genealogical library. You'll also find excellent libraries at local historical society museums, many of which serve as their community's treasure-filled attic. You can see collections ranging from military and seafaring memorabilia to handmade quilts, Native American basketry and snowshoes.

Historic House Museums

At historic house museums, you can learn more about some of Maine's former residents, such as poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, author Sarah Orne Jewett, General Joshua L. Chamberlain, or Parson Jonathan Fischer, whose house museum in Blue Hill demonstrates his mastery of art, science and invention. You'll also find historical houses that are architectural or interior design gems: a magnificently ornamented Italianate-style mansion; a rural Federal house remarkable for its Palladian window and flying staircase; and a village Colonial home decorated with primitive wall murals.

Living History Programs

You can immerse yourself in a long-ago era through living history programs, which include talks, guided tours and special presentations. You can taste traditional baked bean dishes prepared in a "bean hole" in the ground, take part in an authentic ice-cutting operation, listen to classical music in an 18th-century church or meetinghouse, view battle re-enactments, or explore a fort by candlelight.