Upcoming Events

For more information on any events listed below, please call 207-767-7299

♢ Saturday, April 28, 2018 – The South Portland Historical Society’s museum – the Cushing’s Point Museum at Bug Light Park – will open for the 2018 season. The museum will then be open every day from 10am to 4pm, through the end of October.  Exhibits for the 2018 season include 100 years of Shipbuilding in South Portland (sponsored by Bath Savings Institution), Lighthouses and their Keepers, the Civil War, Sardine Factories, History of Local Schools and South Portland's harness racing tracks. The featured exhibit, “Our People: At Work and Play” covers the history of South Portland’s people, and has been refreshed for 2018 will new photographs and artifacts pulled from the Society’s archives. The Society has been researching the history of the South Portland Police Department; findings from that research will be included in the exhibit, as well. The 2018 exhibit is sponsored by Eaton Peabody Attorneys at Law, Town & Country Federal Credit Union, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, and the Marc Gup team at Keller Williams Realty.  


♢ Tuesday, May 8, 2018 – We hope you’ll come out for dinner on May 8th in support of the South Portland Historical Society. On Tuesday, May 8, Otto Pizza on Cottage Road in South Portland will donate 8% of the proceeds from sales between 5pm and 9pm. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us at Otto for a tasty dinner for a good cause!


♢ Tuesday, May 15, 2018 – Join us for a fun-filled night of delicious BBQ and support the South Portland Historical Society. On Tuesday, May 15, Elsmere BBQ and Wood Grill at 448 Cottage Road, South Portland, will donate 8% of proceeds from sales of food between 4pm and 9pm. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for a tasty dinner for a good cause! 


♢ Saturday, May 19, 2018 –  9th annual Bug Light Kite Festival.  11am to 4pm. Come join us for a day of old-fashioned, kite-flying fun at Bug Light Park! Members of the Noreasters Kite Club and KONE (Kites Over New England) will lend their expertise and offer many activities, including a "How to Fly a Kite" workshop, demonstrations of show kites, bol racing and a candy drop for the kids. The club will also have a kite hospital to help with kite assembly and fixes. Kites will be available for purchase in two locations this year: in the South Portland Historical Society's museum gift shop (cash or credit) and in a kiosk on the field (cash only). The museum opens at 10am.  There will also be food and drinks available for purchase at a barbecue fundraiser at the museum. Bug Light will be open to the public during the festival, as well, giving a rare chance to see the inside of the lighthouse, thanks to volunteers from the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club. 11am to 4pm. 


♢ Wednesday, May 23, 2018 –Annual Meeting of the South Portland Historical Society, 6:30pm, at the South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road.  After a brief business meeting, food historian Susan McLellan Plaisted will present a lecture/program, “Food Preservation in the 18th Century: If we’ve no salt, we sure must die.”  Before the invention of electric refrigerators, people relied on a variety of methods of food preservation, especially here in Maine where the growing season is short and the winter long. Susan is a "living history" food historian who will bring these old techniques to life. She will have a variety of interesting preserved foods on hand and will show attendees some actual techniques used in times long past, and some of which may still be used today. Salt was an integral part of food preservation; Susan will also share her knowledge of the history of the salt industry in Maine.

Admission to the program is free for current members of the South Portland Historical Society; non-members may attend with a $10 donation. FMI, call the Society at 767-7299.

Susan McLellan Plaisted is the proprietress of Heart to Hearth Cookery, a food history business based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She offers demonstrations of 17th century through 19th century Colonial American and European cooking methods, practices, and recipes, as well as pre-European-contact and post-European-contact Native American foodways. Her repertoire ranges from open pit, through down hearth, raised hearth, and cookstove cooking. Ms. Plaisted has offered many wonderful historic cooking demonstrations for us over the last several years, in memory of her parents, Guy Stanwood and Ruth Ellen McLellan. We are so blessed to have her share her talent and knowledge base with us. Our thanks to Susan for her ongoing support of the Society and its museum, and for these entertaining and educational programs.


 ♢ Saturday, June 16 – Wednesday, July 4 - The South Portland Historical Society’s major fundraiser, the 12th annual Summer in Maine Auction, will be held at the museum at Bug Light Park! You can bid in a silent auction format any time through the 4th of July. Bidding will end after “Benjamin Franklin” reads the Declaration of Independence at noon on the 4th. Auction items featured will showcase the incredible variety of places to go and things to do during our wonderful Maine summers – items like cruises, golf, theater, museums, restaurants, and other summertime activities.  You can bid on items like a family membership at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, a sail for two on a Maine schooner, an overnight stay at one of a selection of fine Maine hotels, tickets to a show at a live theater or gift certificates to a local restaurant. Bidding will take place at the Society’s Cushing’s Point Museum at 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME 04106. Online bidding will be available through the South Portland Historical Society Facebook page or by emailing sphistory04106@gmail.com. FMI, call 767-7299.


♢ Wednesday, July 4, 2018 – Come join the fun at Bug Light Park where the South Portland Historical Society will host its 11th annual 4th of July event - the Independence Day Classic Car Show, presented by Yankee Ford. The museum will open at 10am and the barbecue will start at 11am. Hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, sausage sandwiches and more will be available for reasonable prices, with proceeds to benefit the museum. Come bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy lunch with us! At 12 noon, we will witness a fiery and patriotic reading of the Declaration of Independence by our own “Benjamin Franklin”.

From 11am to 2pm, there will also be a display of vintage and classic cars on the lawn across from the museum. If you have an old car, you are welcome to join us; call 767-7299 for more information.

** At the 4th of July event, bidding on the Summer in Maine Auction will take place; bids will close at 1pm. Members of the NorEasters Kite Club will also be on hand throughout the day, flying their whimsical (and patriotic) kites for all to enjoy. A large selection of kites is available for sale in the museum gift shop, including kite wands for toddlers and young children.**

Celebrate our nation’s birthday with music, a picnic, vintage cars and games at the park, watch the kite flying (or fly your own) and take in the spectacular views of Casco Bay. Don’t forget to stay for the fireworks!


♢ Sunday, October 7, 2018 – The Bug Light 5K Run and Walk, Bug Light Park, South Portland. Race starts at 9am; a kids fun run is offered at 8:30am for children of registered participants. The 5K course will lead runners and walkers through lovely neighborhoods and past scenic bay and harbor vistas that showcase the beauty of our community here in South Portland. This year’s race/walk is a benefit for the South Portland Historical Society.

This 5K run/walk attracts a broad range of participants; we welcome participants to come out and walk this beautiful course in support of the historical society and its museum in the park. For those who are serious competitors, the 5K course is professionally certified with chip timing, with cash prizes for the first and second male and female overall winners, and medals for the top two men and women in each age division.

For more information and to register, go to www.buglight5k.com.


♢ Saturday, October 27, 2018 – Mt. Pleasant Cemetery tour with Kathy DiPhilippo, 11am.

Join the historical society's director, Kathy DiPhilippo, for a tour of one of South Portland's oldest and most prominent cemeteries, the historic Mt. Pleasant Cemetery on Meeting House Hill. Originally formed around the time of the Old North Church in 1734, the oldest recorded burial there was in 1742. The cemetery has served as the final resting place for many residents of the Willard, Ferry Village and Meeting House Hill neighborhoods. Free for current members of the SP Historical Society; $10 for non-members. Meet on the Sawyer Street side. FMI, call 767-7299.


♢ Sunday, November 11, 2018 – Book signing with Jennifer Hazard, 11am.

Author Jennifer Hazard will be at the museum at Bug Light Park to sign copies of her new book, from 11am-1pm. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event. The book price is $14.95 plus tax.

The Maine Play Book, by award-winning blogger and Maine Office of Tourism’s “Family Fun Maker” Jennifer Hazard, is the ultimate family guide to Maine. This thoughtfully curated guidebook gives parents an insider's perspective of Maine through a mother’s eyes. Organized by season, each section features farms, nature preserves, and parks, as well as events and activities for families—from the rugged coast to the northernmost reaches of the state—with travel tips and color photos along the way. The book is great for local residents, families, or anyone who loves fun and adventure in the state of Maine.


♢ Sunday, November 18, 2018 – Book signing with Russell Dole, 11am.

Book signing with Russell Dole, author of "In Search of Honor - Rockland to Round Top: A narrative of Maine, Joshua L. Chamberlain, and the Twentieth Maine Regiment."  11am to 1pm at the Cushing's Point Museum, 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event. The book price is $14.95 plus tax.

In Search of Honor begins the story of a young man’s coming of age. With the passing of Maine Civil War hero Joshua L. Chamberlain in 1914, Benjamin Dean, the narrator, goes back to the mid-1800s to recount the circumstances surrounding his first meeting with the man who would become his mentor. Book I: Maine, chronicles the Dean family’s beginnings along Penobscot Bay and the fateful year of 1853. From the rocky shores of the Maine coast, to the deep dark forests of the Maine Woods, Benjamin takes us on the journey that will change his life forever.

Russell Dole is a retired history teacher from Rockland, where he, his wife Darcy, son Ben, and daughter Carrie lived for several years. He and his wife currently reside in South Portland with their pet cat Morris.


♢ Sunday, December 9, 2018 – “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” recital by Jack Nordby, 1pm. 

Society member Jack Nordby will return for an encore performance of his recital of the Dylan Thomas classic, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” at the historical society’s museum at Bug Light Park. "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is a light, much-loved, almost lyrical tale of childhood Christmas memories.  Full of beauty and wonder, this "prose-poem" harkens us all back to a simpler, nostalgic time.  Its "free-flow-of-consciousness" style leaves all of our senses unfurled. This 25-minute star of Thomas' work is best heard aloud for the music in the words.

Jack has performed this recital for us for many years and it is always a pleasant and relaxing interlude to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon during the holiday season.  We are so pleased that he will return to bless us with a repeat performance.  Make sure and mark the date on your calendar so you won’t miss this special event.  

This is a free event, open to the public. For more information, call 767-7299.