News & Announcements

Become a facilitator in the Midcoast

Our facilitators value, enjoy, and are really really good at reading and exploring poems, stories, and ideas in conversation with other curious, interested people. They attend closely to what is happening in a book group discussion as it happens, listening closely to what people say and also for what they don’t say, observing reactions and… Read more

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2019 Letters About Literature awards

Level 1 (grades 4-6) First Place: Maya Faulstich, Bangor, about Echo Second Place: Nestor Powers, Windsor, about The Parker Inheritance Finalists: Faizan Ahmad, Bangor, wrote about the book Harry Porter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Jack Brune, Windsor, wrote about the book Wonder Ethan Castonguay, Poland, wrote about the book Where the Red Fern Grows Lydia Desrochers, Alfred, wrote about… Read more

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Read ME libraries

Over 70 libraries are participating in this summer’s  Read ME, our statewide community read offered in partnership with Maine State Library. For 2019, recommending author Tess Gerritsen has chosen Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley and After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search. Participating libraries Alice. L. Pendleton Library Auburn Public Library Bangor Public Library Berwick Public… Read more

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Governor Mills honors Monica Wood

  On May 7, 2019, Maine author Monica Wood was awarded our 2019 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize. In attendance was Governor Janet Mills, who honored Monica by delivering the event’s opening remarks. Hear the Governor’s remarks below. Read more

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Book Registry

Search the book registry For over two decades, Let’s Talk About It has been at the core of the Maine Humanities Council’s library-based initiatives. A scholar-led reading and discussion program, Let’s Talk About It reaches at least 35 libraries throughout Maine each year. It’s a program known for delighting, inspiring, and educating participants. As one… Read more

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Maine Indian Basketry exhibit

Arts & Humanities Grant awards

  $1,000 for “Design for Permanent Exhibit on Saint John Valley Folklore“– Association culturelle et historique du Mont-Carmel, Lille The Association culturelle du Mont-Carmel is creating a permanent exhibit focusing on the folk traditions of the Saint John Valley. Funds will be used to design the physical space for the exhibit which will be completed… Read more

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2019 Veterans Book Group sites

For Women Veterans at University of Maine Augusta, Katz Library Fridays at 11:45am | February 1 – March 8 | Facilitated by Sarah Firth In the Maine State Prison Veterans Housing Unit Tuesdays at 1:30pm | February 5 – March 12 | Facilitated by Dr. Ellen Taylor Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick Wednesday at 6pm | … Read more

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Book club a place for Veterans to open up

Originally published on March 28, 2019 by the Baltimore Sun By Patti Restivo “Coming together to read and discuss literature is healing, but it isn’t clinical. It’s social; but it isn’t merely social,” Bindas-Tenney wrote in an email. “For the veterans of Maine, this program is a unique and important opportunity to connect deeply with… Read more

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Veterans Book Group awarded NEH grant of $98,779

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information: Jan Bindas-Tenney, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051 April 12, 2019 PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Humanities Council has been awarded $98,779 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support Hard Journeys Home, a multi-session facilitated reading and discussion program for justice-involved Veterans in Maine. Beginning in August 2019, the… Read more

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2019 Poetry Express sites

Belfast Free Library with Belfast’s new Poet Laureate Arielle Greenberg June 18, 2019 Themes: Home, Shelter, and Development New Vineyard Public Library with poet Margaret Yocom August 14, 2019 Themes: Natural landscape, Community, and Abandonment Ivan O. Davis Liberty Library with poet Ellen Taylor September 23, 2019 Themes: The Natural World, Tools, and Small Town… Read more

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NEH Announces $28.6 Million for 233 Humanities Projects Nationwide

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $28.6 million in grants for 233 humanities projects across the country. “These new NEH-supported projects will help shore up the nation’s most valuable assets: its history, literature, historic sites, regional traditions, and cultural institutions,” said NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. “NEH is proud to support the advancement… Read more

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2019 Major Grant awards

$3,800 for “A Celebration of Local Native American History, Culture, and Heritage“– Presque Isle Community Development Association In recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, Presque Isle Community Development Association is partnering with the Arookstook band of Micmacs, the City of Presque Isle, and other local organizations to celebrate the local Native American Tribe with a… Read more

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Imagine Maine’s Story

Inspired by the Collaborative Summer Library Program, Imagine Maine’s Story is a collection of Maine bicentennial program ideas and resources for all ages to support libraries of all sizes in their goals to bring the celebration of Maine’s statehood into their communities.  MHC and the Maine State Library have partnered in representing Maine’s libraries as… Read more

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Honoring Monica Wood

  Monica receives the 2019 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize for her commitment to Maine communities, her support of Maine libraries, and all that she does to support and nourish the literary and cultural life of the State.   Read more

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Read ME 2019

Read ME is a statewide community read that gets Maine adults all reading two books recommended by a well-known Maine author. For 2019, recommending author Tess Gerritsen has chosen Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley and After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search by Sarah Perry. The season will culminate on August 29 with an… Read more

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New Books, New Readers sites

Ellsworth Adult Education- Shoes of Another  February 27, March 27, April 24 at 9:30AM SAD 1 Adult Education, Presque Isle- What It Takes March 12, April 9, May 14 at 9AM RSU 19 Adult Education, Newport- Shoes of Another February 26, March 26, April 30 at 5:30PM Kittery Adult Education- Caught Between Cultures February 26, March 26, April 30 at 6PM… Read more

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Bicentennial or Bust

2020 marks the 200th anniversary of Maine’s statehood. This bicentennial moment provides a unique opportunity for communities all over the state to think about their history, how it has shaped the way we live here now, and how we might collectively envision the future of our state.   Thank you for joining us in Hermon… Read more

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Journalism Grant awards | Fall 2018

  $1,825 for “All the President’s Men: Discussions on Journalism and Democracy”– Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, Dover-Foxcroft Supports book and film discussions of All The President’s Men for adults and high school students in Dover-Foxcroft. Three high school classes at Foxcroft Academy and an adult reading group from Thompson Free Library will each discuss the book independently… Read more

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Maine Indian Basketry exhibit

Arts & Humanities Grant awards | Fall 2018

$1,000 for “Content and Context: Connecting Art to Time and Place“– Maine Jewish Film Festival, Portland Speakers will lead discussion on two films at the 2019 Maine Jewish Film Festival, focusing on the relationship of the arts to the social and historical context in which it was created.   $1,000 for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in… Read more

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Audio | Tim Peltason | The Way We Live Now

Professor of English at Wellesley College, Timothy Peltason writes and teaches on nineteenth and twentieth-century British and American literature and Shakespeare. His essays on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, focuses on its relationship to Wilde’s life, its origins in earlier Victorian literature, and its extraordinary afterlife in 20th and 21st century literature and culture. He… Read more

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Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith shares her poems with Lewiston

Originally published on November 1, 2018 in the Sun Journal. By Jon Bolduc, Staff Writer “Smith visited the Lewiston library as part of her project ‘American Conversations: Celebrating Poems in Rural Communities.’ She read personal poems from her newest book, ‘Wade in the Water,’ and several poems that she selected from her new poetry anthology titled ‘American… Read more

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U.S. poet laureate to visit Maine

Originally published on October 30, 2018 in the Portland Press Herald By Bob Keyes, Staff Writer “Smith, the 22nd U.S. poet laureate, will visit Maine this week as part of her ongoing project ‘American Conversations: Celebrating Poems in Rural Communities.’ She will talk about the power of poetry at 1 p.m. Thursday at Norway Memorial… Read more

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Audio | Declan Kiely | The Way We Live Now

Declan Kiely is the Director of Exhibitions at New York Public Library where he oversees exhibitions at the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. He was most recently the Robert H. Taylor Curator at the Morgan Library and Museum and Head of its Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts. During this time he curated major exhibitions focusing… Read more

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The Moving Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress 4

Mini Grant awards | Summer 2018

$867 for “Exploring the Complexities of Racism” – York Public Library, York   $867 for “Intersections of History and Community” – Maine Jewish Film Festival, Portland   $867 for “A Doll’s House Part II: What Does the Door Slam Heard All Around the World Sound Like Now?” – Everyman Repertory Theatre, Rockport   $900 for “Animal Farm Presentation and Workshop” – Chocolate Church Arts Center,… Read more

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2018 Letters About Literature awards

2018 Awards Level 1 (grades 4-6) First Place: Jasmine Lockwood, SeDoMoCha Middle School, about Too Tought to Hurt Second Place: Aelia Russell, Center for Teaching and Learning, about Because of Mr. Terupt Semifinalists: Olivia Bean, Daniel F. Mahoney Middle School, about Out of My Mind Abigail Bergmark, Mary Snow School, about Hello, Universe Ruth Burchstead, Center for Teaching and Learning, about I… Read more

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2018 Letters About Literature: Sylvette Dupé-Vété-Congolo

  Entry from the 2018 Letters About Literature competition   Dear Ms. Angie Thomas, I am a fourteen-year-old Maine ninth grader. Since elementary school, I have heard comments about who I am intrinsically: “Can I touch your hair?”, “What the heck do you ha ve on your head?” Even a teacher told me once that he could… Read more

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2018 Letters About Literature: Olivia Martin

  Entry from the 2018 Letters About Literature competition   Dear Shannon Hale, Reading the book Dangerous was like riding a roller coaster of emotions. One book allowed me to pursue dreams, survive danger, have hope, grieve losses, and endure pain. All of these things I felt by embodying Maisie Brown through your words. Before reading your… Read more

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2018 Letters About Literature: Jasmine Lockwood

  Entry from the 2018 Letters About Literature competition   Dear Mary Lou Carney, “She must hate me. Really hate me.” I have parent problems, just like Garren. If you are anything like me you know life can be hard at times, but you can always get through them. If you have ever been abused like I… Read more

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Maine Indian Basketry exhibit

Arts & Humanities Grant awards | Spring 2018

  $750 for “Bridgton at 250: Music of the Times“– Bridgton Historical Society, Bridgton As part of its season long commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Bridgton’s settlement, the Bridgton Historical Society is partnering with the Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival to present an informal concert of music from the period of settlement. The concert will be held… Read more

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Audio | Grappling with questions

Each year, on the third Saturday of October, The Question Is…brings people together with expert guides to grapple with a basic question. In 2017, we asked the question “How can we know?”  Listen to MHC Program Officer Meghan Reedy  talk to folks about how they know things in the work they do. As you listen, you… Read more

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The Moving Panorama of Pilgrim’s Progress 4

Mini Grant awards | Spring 2018

$500 for “Beholdings: Making Connections with Collections” – Mount Desert Island Historical Society, Mount Desert Through an assortment of objects representing different eras, events, and personae in the island’s history, Mount Desert Island Historical Society will engage the public in an exploration of cultural history extending from southern New England to the outer islands in the Gulf of Maine…. Read more

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2018 Major Grant awards

$2,300 for “Community Conversations“– Center for Small Town Jewish Life, Waterville “Community Conversations” will  bring together Waterville’s faith and community leaders with Colby College faculty and students to talk about political and social issues of common concern. The format will feature two thought leaders, one from the field of Jewish Studies and one from another civic leadership… Read more

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War veterans use ancient epics to cope

Originally published on March 14, 2018 by the Associated Press By Wilson Ring “Homer isn’t just for student veterans. Discussion groups are also being offered at veterans centers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Maine Humanities Council has sponsored sessions for veterans incarcerated at Maine’s Kennebec County jail, as well as for other veterans.” Full… Read more

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Audio | Birds and citizen science

Each year, on the third Saturday in October, the Maine Humanities Council Schwartz Forum brings people together with expert guides to grapple with a really big question. In 2017, the question we asked ourselves was ‘How can we know?’ One of the most exciting things about asking this question was getting to talk with all sorts of… Read more

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Audio | Violence & Belonging

“Violence & Belonging: The 14th Amendment and American Literature” is a Let’s Talk About It book and discussion series that addresses issues of diversity, identity, and inequality. For many Americans, the promises of citizenship fall short of reality, and the books in this series remind us that the more expansive version of American citizenship brought… Read more

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Audio | How can we know?

The fundamental, personal, urgent question at the heart of this year’s Dorothy Schwartz Forum is: how can we know? Want to find out more? Register now and tune in below to hear part one of a preview on the day’s discussion surrounding doubt, curiosity, and trust. Read more

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Winter Weekend teachers

Audio | 20th anniversary Winter Weekend

In this episode of Humanities on Demand we visit the 20th annual Winter Weekend, held March 10-11, 2017, at Bowdoin College. Read more

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Audio | Khaled Fahmy | Palace Walk

Khaled Fahmy is a Professor of History at the American University in Cairo. With a BA in Economics, an MA in Political Science from AUC and a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford, Fahmy taught for five years at Princeton University, then for eleven years at New York University before joining AUC in… Read more

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Sharing the Poetry of Maine’s Unheard Voices

Gary Lawless, who was awarded the 2017 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize, has long worked to bring poetry and the creative process to the people of Maine.   Follow Gary as he shares poetry from Mainers of all backgrounds. Poems will be released monthly in Notes from an Open Book, the MHC’s e-newsletter, and collected below.    … Read more

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Audio | Buckfield Civil Rights and Street Art

In this episode of Humanities on Demand, we visit Buckfield Junior-Senior High School. Supported by a grant from the Maine Humanities Council, their Civil Rights Team hosted Portland-based artist Pigeon for a discussion on identity, belonging, and street art. Read more

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Don’t Let Anyone Tell You the Humanities Aren’t Worth the Cost

This Maine Voices op-ed by MHC Executive Director Hayden Anderson appeared in the Portland Press Herald on March 4, 2017.   The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are again under fire in Washington, reportedly targeted for elimination in the Trump administration’s upcoming budget proposal. Let’s be clear: this move… Read more

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Looking Back on “Civil Rights Through Art & Law”

Portland’s Knack Factory has produced a series of videos on Civil Rights Through Art & Law, our summer 2016 partnership with the University of Maine School of Law and Portland Museum of Art. As part of  The 14th Amendment in American Life and Imagination, the MHC’s statewide programming that explored concepts of equality, citizenship, and… Read more

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Audio | Reza Jalali | Palace Walk

A Muslim scholar, educator, and writer, he is the coordinator of multicultural student affairs at the University of Southern Maine and advises Muslim students at Bowdoin College. His most recent work includes the 2013 book Homesick Mosque and Other Stories as well as the 2015 play The Poets and the Assassin, which offers historic and contemporary… Read more

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The Trickle-Down of Winter Weekend

  By Diane Magras, Director of Development Claire Moriarty and Jim Bulteel, members of Orono High School’s English Department (with Erika Dixon, Amanda Johnston, Don Joseph, and Chris Luthin), are among a group of educators who have, in various combinations, attended Winter Weekend for the past 15 years. For years, I’ve heard about these teachers… Read more

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How I Learned to Read the Odyssey

A colleague of mine once claimed that an epic poem is best understood as an extended meditation on a theme. I liked the idea and immediately tried to identify the themes of my favorites. Homer’s Iliad was easy: it’s an extended meditation on war. Virgil’s Aeneid can be read as an extended meditation on empire…. Read more

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The conversation about equality in Maine is just getting started

Originally published in the Bangor Daily News on May 15, 2016 By Hayden Anderson “Equality is a bedrock American value, yet somehow it feels like we’re not very good at it. From the founding to the present day, we have always talked pretty well about equality while falling well short of the ideal. It’s worth… Read more

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Donald Soctomah Donald Soctomah rows a birch bark canoe with his son, also named Donald. The canoe was built based on a 21-foot Passamaquoddy canoe dating from 1850.

Committed to His Native Roots: Soctomah to Be Honored for Contributions

Executive Director Hayden Anderson was interviewed for an article in Indian Country Today highlighting Donald Soctomah, 2015 recipient of the Constance H. Carlson Prize. This is the Maine Humanities Council’s highest honor, and is awarded to an individual, institution, or group in recognition of exemplary contributions to public humanities in Maine. Here is an excerpt from Alysa… Read more

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