Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine
The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine is a multiple award-winning venue featuring a myriad of interactive and educational exhibits aimed at children and families alike.
Located in the historic Arts District in downtown Portland, this children’s museum seeks to inspire discovery and imagination through a mix of educational and exciting activities. At the same time, the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine carries the proud role of being an indispensable resource for the community as well as parents and educators, hoping to foster greater development and learning for visiting children.
Packed with a variety of fun and educational exhibits spanning four floors, the museum features exhibits such as Camera Obscura (which teaches how eyes see light as well as the origin of photography), the Our Town recreation of the essential elements of a small village, and the Explore Floor’s several nature and space themed exhibits, among many others.
The theatre, which originated in 1923 and later joined the museum in 2008, produces theatre shows for kids, by kids.
Museum of African Culture
Portland has always been a prominent curator of the arts in Maine, and the Museum of African Culture in downtown Portland reflects the area’s growing interest in the customs, culture, and art coming from the beauty and mystery of Africa.
Specializing in tribal art and culture, some of which focuses on ancient customs still prevalent in rural African society, the Museum of African Culture presents a multifaceted nuance of the African diaspora.
Visitors to the museum can explore the museum’s vast Contemporary Art Gallery, several permanent and changing exhibits, and a wide array of events, including discussions, workshops, and performances by black artists living in Maine as well as other artists who draw inspiration from the African Diaspora.
A significant portion of Maine’s literary, political, and cultural history can all be found within the walls of the U.S. National Landmark, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House. Built between 1785 and 1786 by General Peleg Wadsworth, the Longfellow House carries the proud role of being the first brick dwelling in Portland as well as the oldest standing structure on the Portland Peninsula.
One of the most important people associated with the Longfellow House is American poet Henry Longfellow, who gained international fame for his work, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” For over 35 years, Henry Longfellow grew up and worked in his family’s home. The last person to live there was Anne Longfellow Pierce (1819-1901), Henry's younger sister.
Mrs. Pierce would go on to live in the house until her death in 1901. According to a deed she executed in 1895, the house passed to the Maine Historical Society after her death to be preserved as a memorial to her famous brother and their family.
Nowadays, the Maine Historical Society operates a museum and archive within the historic Wadsworth–Longfellow House. The Museum's diverse collection features over 15,000 artifacts, and exhibits and galleries depict five centuries of life, history, and culture in Maine.
Our Lady of Victories (The Portland Sailors and Soldiers Monument)
Portland proudly showcases a total of four Civil War Monuments throughout the city. However, the most popular and easily the most famous Civil War monument is the Portland Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, also known as Our Lady of Victories.
Located in the beautiful Monument’s Square in Downtown Portland, the Our Lady of Victories monument features a central, 14-foot-high bronze statue of the female “Victory,” a symbol of unity. She holds a flag in one hand and a shield and branch of maple leaves in the other, and according to the sculptor Franklin Simmons, Victory is modeled after the Roman Minerva, goddess of both wisdom and war.
The granite base of the monument displays groups of bronze figures, symbolizing Maine’s sailors and soldiers who gave their lives during the Civil War.
Congress Street and Congress Street Historical District
Congress Street of Portland, Maine contains some of Portland’s most historically significant buildings. Named in 1823, Congress Street had actually been established as Back Street much earlier, being one of the first natural roads to arise as a result of the settlement of the Portland Harbor. As a result of its early establishment, Congress Street became home to a number of “first” structures, including numerous religious structures and business centers. Congress Street is also home to the only still-operating immigrant synagogue in Maine.
The First Parish Church
The First Parish Church of Portland, Maine, currently the home of the Portland Unitarian Universalist congregation, is the oldest religious worship building in Portland. Dedicated in early 1826, the church was designed by John Mussey and built by mason Henry Dyer. In addition to being the earliest place of worship in the city, it also holds the record of being the first granite structure of note constructed east of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This church has had an active congregation for all of its nearly 200 years of service to the City of Portland.
The Chestnut Street Methodist Church
One of the few remaining buildings designed in the Gothic Revival architectural style in the entirety of the city, Portland, Maine’s Chestnut Street Methodist Church stands as an exemplary specimen of an architectural style that is fading from the face of Maine. The Church was designed by a renowned architect of the time by the name of Charles A. Alexander, whose other marvelous designs dot the City of Portland. Having served the City of Portland in multiple faculties over the years since its construction in 1856, the Church now serves as the home of the “Grace” restaurant, which seeks to offer a quality dining experience beneath the colored sunlight that pours in through the Church’s stained glass windows.
Edward T. Gignoux United States Courthouse
The U.S. Courthouse of Portland, Maine, is a classic example of the Italian Renaissance Revival architectural style that was erected in 1911 within the growing public district in Portland, next to Lincoln Park. Designed by Supervising Architect of the United States Department of Treasury James Knox Taylor, this U.S. Courthouse is named in honor of Edward T. Gignoux, a local federal judge who passed away in 1988.