Wabanaki peaked hat, ca. 1850, made by an unidentified Wabanaki (Photo courtesy Boston Children’s Museum)
Wabanaki peaked hat, ca. 1850, made by an unidentified Wabanaki (Photo courtesy Boston Children’s Museum)
Maine Historical Society in Portland is launching an initiative that examines the roots of social justice topics, beginning with the exhibit “Begin Again: reckoning with intolerance in Maine,” which opens May 27 and will run until the end of the year.

In collaboration with a network of advisors from diverse communities around the state, the exhibition at the society’s Portland gallery invites the public to reevaluate the ideas, learned history and policies of the past 500 years. “Designed to engage visitors in a unique spatial experience,” according to a news release, “the exhibit provides a framework to consider perspectives other than the dominant narrative, and gauge inclusivity to envision a more equitable experience for all Maine’s residents in the future.”

The exhibit showcases the historical society’s copy of the Declaration of Independence — one of just 26 known remaining copies; a new “blanket coat” by Penobscot artist Jennifer Neptune; and items that reflect how Maine industries like merchant trade and sugar refining were built on colonialism and a slave economy that helped establish foundations of privilege and wealth.

To view the show online, visit mainememory.net; to schedule an in-person viewing and to learn more, visit mainehistory.org.

A series of related virtual programs began on May 12; upcoming dates include Thursday, May 20, Wednesday, May 26, Thursdays, June 10 and 17, and others. An online exhibit will reside on Maine Memory Network at mainememory.net.

Online programs are free and will be held via Zoom from 6 to 7 p.m. Featured presenters include author and MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude Jr., cultural anthropologist Andrea Louie, University of Maine professor Darren Ranco and author Edward Ball.

To register for the programs and see the detailed schedule, visit mainehistory.org/programs.