The Scarborough Public Library and Scarborough Historical Society are collaborating to bring a series of programs to our community in celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial of Statehood. The following programs are open to the public and free to attend. They are made possible through the financial partnership of the Scarborough Public Library, the Scarborough Historical Society, and the Maine Humanities Council. For additional information, visit the Scarborough Public Library’s webpage about the Bicentennial Series, Please register for any of the first three programs by calling 883-4723 option 4 or emailing

Liam Riordan, Ph.D., will open our Bicentennial Series with the presentation Past and Present: Perspectives on Maine Statehood Sunday, March 1, at 2 p.m. This illustrated presentation explores the long statehood process in Maine that culminated in 1820 with formal separation from Massachusetts. That struggle engaged a range of challenging public issues that are still recognizable in contemporary Maine politics and culture. The talk focuses on four themes that bridge 200 years in telling ways: the “two Maines” and sharp partisan conflict, the explosive pace of slavery vis-a-vis the Maine-Missouri Compromise, Wabanaki sovereignty, and the uncertain location of the international border to at least 1842.

Dr. Riordan is an early American historian specializing in the broad Revolutionary era (ca. 1760-1830). He has been a faculty member at the University of Maine since 1997. He has led community discussions across Maine about the statehood process and organized a public scholarly conference to commemorate the bicentennial of the state of Maine held May 31-June 1, 2019 at the University of Maine.

Matthew Edney, Ph.D., is curator of the Osher Map Library’s Maine Bicentennial Exhibition, Mapping Maine: The Land and Its Peoples, 1677-1842. On Sunday, March 22, at 2 p.m, Dr. Edney will use digital images of the exhibit and additional items from the OML collection to provide an overview of this special installation. Digital maps of Scarborough’s marshes — an important part of Scarborough’s early and present history — will also be included.

Dr. Edney has been a professor of geography at the University of Southern Maine since 2007 and is the Osher Professor in the History of Cartography with responsibility for courses in map history. He is also “faculty scholar” in the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education. Since 2005 he has also directed the History of Cartography Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The third presentation in the series, scheduled for Sunday, April 5, at 2 p.m., will be Dawnland: Documentary and Discussion. Scarborough is identified by and recognized for its 3,200-acre saltwater marsh. It inspired the town’s early Native American name, Owascoag: Land of Much Grass. This program will provide a meaningful opportunity to consider Scarborough’s indigenous history and the relationship between its native population and early settlers through the viewing of the documentary Dawnland — an exploration of Native American culture and intimate sacred moments of truth-telling and healing. Maine-Wabanaki REACH will provide expert facilitators to engage the audience in a meaningful discussion following the screening.


Maine-Wabanaki REACH (Restoration-Engagement-Advocacy-Change-Healing) began as a collaboration of state and tribal child welfare workers who knew from their work together that children, families, and communities need truth, healing and change. REACH initiated the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission and supported the Commission as it worked in Wabanaki and Maine communities.

The Scarborough Bicentennial Quilt will be on display from Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19, during the library’s regular hours: Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Nearly 50 quilters from our community have created individual squares representing themes related to Scarborough and its history. The Scarborough Public Library’s Bicentennial Series will culminate with an exhibit of the assembled quilt displayed on a bed owned by William King, Scarborough native and Maine’s first governor. The bed is part of the Scarborough Historical Society’s collection.

All three Bicentennial Series programs and the Bicentennial Quilt Exhibit will be held at the Scarborough Public Library, 48 Gorham Road, Scarborough. The Scarborough Public Library is open to the public seven days a week (Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.). Learn more about these and other programs at www.

The Scarborough Historical Society is located at 647 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough. Their hours are Tuesday: 9 a.m. to noon and second Saturday of month: 9 a.m. to noon. Visit, email, or call 207-885-9997 to learn more about the Scarborough Historical Society.

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