10 Things to Keep Your Winter Interesting

Here are 10 shovel-out-and-leave-the-house-in-the-bitter-cold worthy events for lovers of Greater Portland's diverse history and historic preservation!

1. STILL STANDING, The Abyssinian Meeting House Story Archive

Friday & Saturday, February 2 & 3, 2018
Artists at Work Gallery at MECA, First Floor, Congress Street, Portland

"The Public Engagement Program at Maine College of Art presents the exhibition STILL STANDING, The Abyssinian Meeting House Story Archive, to be held at Maine College of Art. The show is a culmination of a three year oral history and storytelling project with elders and community leaders from Portland and students at MECA. The SALT Program in Documentary Studies will be conducting live interviews and audio recording on first Friday, February 2 and there will be a Story Circle event on Saturday, February 3 from 3-6PM. All events are free and open to the public."  The project opens February 2, and will be on view January 24—February 24, 2018.  In the dark, cold, winter First Friday Art Walk, MECA, and The Abyssinian Meeting House are all coming together to share in the rich history and community of this place. What a bright light! 

2. Quakers in Falmouth

Sunday, February 4, 2018
Hall's Tavern B&B, 377 Gray Road, Falmouth

“Spend a cozy winter afternoon with Innkeeper Donna Little and historic researcher Wayne Cobb touring Falmouth, Maine's Historic Quaker B&B and learning about the settlement of Quakers in Falmouth in the 1700s. Refreshments provided.”  You had me at cozy!

3. Lives of Consequence with Patricia Wall

Saturday, February 10, 2018
Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, Portland

"Through her new book, Lives of Consequence: Blacks in Early Kittery & Berwick in the Massachusetts Province of Maine, author Patricia Q. Wall reveals new startling information about the era of slavery in Maine’s earliest settled region...Mrs. Wall’s wealth of findings not only banish the old myth of slavery’s scarcity in Maine, they clearly point to significant impact of the labor, skills, and knowledge of hundreds of enslaved Blacks...on slave-owning families and on early economic development of communities and towns." In his book, Why Preservation Matters, Max Page says, "we have to keep talking about our difficult pasts, here, where the past took place, where it was built. We will preserve not to salve wounds, but to pursue a better country. " This event is a good opportunity to do the work Page suggests. 

4. Forging a Community: Lewiston's Refugees from Slavery

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Abyssinian Meeting House, 75 Newbury Street, Portland

"On April 6, 1866, about a dozen former slaves arrived in Lewiston through the auspices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, which worked to find permanent employment for those freed from bondage by the Civil War. They were the first black residents of Lewiston and among the 300-400 former slaves who came to Maine in the decade after 1863. While they did not know one another before their trip north, the Lewiston group created a community and a presence in their adopted city. Dr. Candace Kanes has been researching Maine's refugees from slavery for several years. This talk is part of a larger project."

5. Become A Portland History Docent!

Thursdays, February, 22, 2018 - April 26, 2018
Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, Portland and around town!

This program is the envy of other communities.  9 historic sites collaborate to educate and inspire a new group of volunteer docents every year.  Not only do you learn about Portland history from the city’s best historians, you get behind the scene tours of your favorite historic landmarks.   At the end you choose one site to volunteer at for the season. This a great opportunity to meet new people, both through the program and year-round through your volunteer site! 

6. Help Your Building Get to the Next Century

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Greater Portland Landmarks, 93 High Street, Portland

The workshop will provide guiding principles and specific techniques and efforts that can be taken to save energy, improve occupant health, and promote durability and sustainability of older buildings. Max Page says that, “preservation of existing buildings is not simply a gesture but the centerpiece of the world’s efforts to slow and ultimately reverse climate change.” Peter Taggart is one of Maine’s leading experts in combining preservation and sustainability. Help Your Building Get to the Next Century is a workshop designed to address  how to make the most of your old house in today's world! Attention REALTORS! This class also qualifies for 3 MREC approved CEU credits.

7. Historic Garden Design

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Yarmouth Historical Society, 118 East Elm Street, Yarmouth

To quote Max Page again (In case you haven’t noticed, Landmarks has been reading a lot by him!) “As human beings, we are drawn to historic places. We believe in them. We crave them. They appeal to some of our deepest desires.”   That crave-able environment starts with land surrounding a building, a park, or public space, and how it sustained the people that came before now.  Landscape is an important part of historic preservation. Erik Wochholz, Curator of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum, will be giving this talk in Yarmouth, just in time to make your 2018 garden plans. 

8. Shaping the Maine Landscape: Wabanaki in Casco Bay

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Lunt Auditorium at Oceanview, 20 Blueberry Lane, Falmouth

This lecture is part of Falmouth’s 300th year celebration but the story of the landscape began much earlier than that. “Join Bates College Professor Joseph Hall as he explores the question of how Wabanakis cultivated their ties to their homelands even as European-American colonists dispossessed them of most of that territory. Wabanakis, whose name translates as “the people of the Dawnland,” are the indigenous peoples of northern New England and eastern Canada. Their place names describe a particular set of relationships to Maine.” 

9. Residential Architecture - How to Uncover the Story of Your Historic Building

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Greater Portland Landmarks, 93 High Street, Portland

 Every home has a story if you know how to uncover it. With this program you will learn how to research the history of an historic home and share its story.  During the classroom portion of the class you will learn to identify architectural styles and to understand the historical background of residential buildings in Portland. The program will conclude with a walking tour of the State Street neighborhood for hands-on practice in identifying building styles while exploring one of Portland’s oldest and most distinctive neighborhoods. Any REALTORS out there? This class also qualifies for 3 MREC approved CEU credits.

10. OK, so you don't want to shovel out and leave the house in the bitter cold?!

Stay in and read the provocative, Why Preservation Matters, by Max Page.  He suggests that by standing against gentrification, working more closely with the environmental sustainability movement, and challenging communities to confront their past, preservationists can rejuvenate historic preservation for the next fifty years. Landmarks is bringing him here to speak on May 9 and we want to know what you think of his movement-changing ideas!