Maine Historical Society
Maine Historical Society
4.5
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
Founded in 1822, Maine Historical Society (MHS) is celebrating 200 years of preserving and sharing the story of Maine. We are located in the heart of Portland’s downtown cultural district, across from Monument Square. Our one-acre campus is comprised of the MHS Museum, Store, Research Library, and world famous Wadsworth–Longfellow House and Longfellow Garden. We also manage Maine Memory Network, a collaborative and expanding digital history resource. Summer Hours (May-Oct): Museum, Store, Longfellow House and Garden, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm; Library, Wed-Sat by appointment; Administrative Offices: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
90 reviews
Excellent
50
Very good
30
Average
6
Poor
3
Terrible
1

Charles W
Kentucky532 contributions
Sep 2013 • Family
Absolutely fantasic tour guide with bounding energy gave us many interesting stories about the people who lived in the Longfellow House of Portland. House is located next to the Maine Historical Society building and should not be missed. Great history and literature lessons here! The main building held an especially interesting history of Maine's involvement in the Civil War. Nice gift shop with lots of books as well.
After this visit, I'm going back to read more of Longfellow's works.
Written September 5, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

RCP012
Somerset68 contributions
Jul 2012
Spent 90 minutes for $10 with a well-informed and amiable guide. Highly recommended!
Written July 9, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ann F
Saco, ME100 contributions
Oct 2011 • Friends
Although I have lived in Maine most of my life, this was my first visit to the museum at the Maine Historical Society. (shame on me, don't wait 40 years) It's small, but packs a lot in a little space. The current exhibit, "Dressing Up ..." was very well organized and interesting and included an eclectic mix of styles of dress from over 200 years. From military uniforms to wedding dresses and everything in between. Nice displays of jewelry, hats and hair combs. Not for small children, however, but kids 10 and older would be interested. The gift shop offers an excellent selection of books of all kinds and unique gifts for kids and adult.
It's definitely worth the money to to buy a combined ticket and tour the Longfellow House next door. All in all, a great way to spend a rainy fall afternoon.
Written October 15, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chgo_biz_trvler
Chicago, IL19 contributions
Aug 2019
I am a big history buff and wanted to like this place, but it is very narrow in scope. It consists of two buildings: (1) The home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's family, where he lived as a child; and (2) a history museum which is focused solely on the Maine Native American Wabanaki tribe. It was interesting but I was expecting a little broader coverage of the history and settlement of Maine, growth of the state, etc. The house tour was good. They do tours, or you can download their app and do a self-guided tour of the house if you don't want to wait for the tour, or you missed it. Also, it looks like a large museum from the street, but the museum itself occupies only the first floor of the building. The rest is offices.
Written August 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

UrbanRecycler
Ann Arbor, MI17 contributions
Oct 2013 • Solo
The exhibit space at the Maine Historical Society is small, but it’s worth the price of admission just to tour the Wadsworth-Longfellow House next door. The guide was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and he made the house come alive. Unlike some of the houses at the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, which I toured earlier the same day, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House is filled with the family’s own possessions, and that makes such a difference. I’ve been on other house tours, but this one was memorable and I’m glad I made time for it.
Written October 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ilkkats
Concord, MA337 contributions
Aug 2019
We had a good visit but a guided tour might have made it better. The exhibit on Maine Native Americans was a bit overwhelming with lots of treaty displays, artifacts and basketry. Letter from George Washington was fascinating. Could have been better if there was more focus on a historical timeline.
Written September 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Will
Boston, MA24 contributions
Mar 2019 • Couples
We visited MHS in March, when they only had one exhibit up (this did mean free entry!). Nonetheless, we loved our visit. The staff were very nice and talked us through the exhibit which was up (on the history of medicine in Portland). The youtube videos on display were a nice touch. At no point did we feel rushed, despite the small size of the Society's building. I will definitely come back again when next in town.
Written April 12, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Von
Sheffield, UK42 contributions
Sep 2016
The two small exhibitions here were interesting but there is no history of Portland apart from the 'great fire'. It was disappointing and expensive for what is on offer
Written September 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

anthonyfrazer
Portland, ME7 contributions
Jul 2016 • Solo
Before touring the birthplace of American poet Henry Longfellow, a visitor can see an exhibition showing the development of Acadia National Park located on Mt. Desert Island. The Wabanakis were the original natives of the island which was explored and named by French explorer Samuel Champlain. Because the summits of the island were bare, as recorded by Champlain, the island's name was derived from such scenery. Acadia National Park was a tourist spot for the middle and upper classes who were known as "rusticators." Maine politicians such as James Blaine and President Benjamin Harrison visited there in 1889. Women wore cotton dresses and/or dusters which are on display near the exhibit's front entrance. People would rain a small train to Green Mountain what is now called Cadillac Mountain. Roads for cars were idealized by John D. Rockefeller but the actualization of the roads was done by landscape architect Frederick Olmsted. A Ford 1927 Model T was a car driven on the roads which is on display too. Rockefeller did construct carriage roads though. There's a design for a direction sign on a wall used then...In an adjacent room, lies artifacts and pictures taken from the custom house of the great fire of 1866. The badly burned buildings show the devastation and direction of the conflagration such as at Congress and Franklin sts. One of the artifacts, is a stereoview used to create 3-D optical illusion and a tall clock dating back to about 1810.
The docent for the Longfellow tour starts by saying that Longfellow's grandparents built the house during the 1700's and they lived there before his parents moved in and that the original house was only 2 stories tall and that the third floor was added later. The brick used for the first 2 floors came from Philadelphia whereas the brick used for the third floor came from Maine. The back view allowed them to see as far as the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a side view as far as the Portland Observatory and the front view as far as the bay. The original name of Congress street was Back street because it was literally the back street of Portland at that time. Subsequently, after Back street came Middle st then Fore st which is near the bay. Ann, Henry's sister, was the last Longfellow to live in the that house (1901). Even though in-door plumbing was started in the 1860's, she only had a spigot for cold water installed a few years before her death. She had left the house and married George Pierce. I forgot to ask if he was related to President Franklin Pierce. Anyhow, she became a widow at an early age because a typhoid fever epidemic killed him and she returned to her parent's house. On the first floor of the tour, there's a fireplace, stove and pots and other accessories showing how meals were cooked and kept warm. As a child, he would usually play in the kitchen during the winter being it the warmest room in the house. A rocking horse, paddles and a board with pegs were toys they played with. They played instruments too such as Henry's flute and Mary on the piano in a room with an engraving of George Washington which has been hanging on the wall since 1805. Zilpah's, Henry's mother, father had served under Washington during the war. She slept in a bedroom with canopy on top arranged in its original 19th century setting. The wallpaper is figured like a trellis because they loved gardens and farmed. His father, Stephen, was a lawyer and his law books and those of his family are on exhibit too. Henry wrote his first poem at age 13. The wooden escritoire on which Henry wrote The Rainy Day is in good condition and is very interesting to see. Tens of thousands of his poems sold in England as well and thus he lived a lucrative life. When Henry died, Queen Victoria of England formed a committee and had a bust of him put in Westminster Abbey even though she made it clear that she didn't want to be directly associated with him. The tour last about 40 minutes.
Written July 13, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Robby S
Atlanta, GA1 contribution
Jun 2016
For $8 per person this was a disappointing museum. Two exhibits of the formation of Acadia National Park and Allagash Wilderness. In and out in 10-15 minutes. It was such a tiny exhibit: two rooms and a corridor of photos and maps, and a car, that's it. Smelled of paint fumes. Not the 4 1/2 rating I was expecting. Skip it.
Written June 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Maine Historical Society (Portland) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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  • Tue - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM


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