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Annual Meeting

52nd Annual Meeting
in Portland, Maine, September 22nd-24th, 2011

SHD Annual Meeting 2011
Meeting Summary
SHD Annual Meeting 2011
Final Program

Meeting Photos

Portland was the site for the 2011 Meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries.

Click HERE for all details

The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries (SHD) was held in the lovely and historic city of Portland, Maine.   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described Portland as “a jewel by the sea,” and that is still true today. Portland’s famous Old Port area boasts cobblestoned streets and handsome 19th century buildings.  It is one of the most vibrant and inviting small cities in New England. With less than 100,000 thousand residents, Portland frequently appears on lists for the “ten best small cities in the United States.” In recent years its reputation as “foodie” town has grown as its chefs and restaurants have been recipients of the prestigious James Beard Award. It’s not surprising that in 2011 Portland is a contender for first place.  With its numerous cultural institutions—symphony, opera, theater, museum, civic center, historical society, historic homes, etc.—it has also become a desirable retirement community for active seniors who relocate to Portland from Boston and other northeast cities. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which caters to this fast growing demographic, located its national headquarters on the University of Southern Maine (USM) campus in the newly constructed Wishcamper Center, directly adjacent to the new Osher Map Library (OML) addition. Both these buildings were part of an expansion undertaken by USM in 2007.

Per the downtown district’s welcome page, “Portland is an old seacoast town. It is also a funky city filled with galleries, one-of-kind boutiques and shops, and incredible restaurants serving everything from New England clam chowder, lobster rolls and Maine seafood to nouvelle cuisine. Portland is the banking capital of northern New England, home to major international law firms, import/export companies, and modern high-rise office buildings located in historic districts with centuries old architecture. Portland stands as one of the few working waterfronts left in the United States, acting as New England’s largest tonnage seaport and second largest fishing port. Portland is also the second largest oil port on the East Coast and the largest foreign inbound transit tonnage port in the United States!”

Some SHD members recalled their visit to Portland in October 1996 when the meeting was held at the Holiday Inn just two years after OML opened its doors. Much has changed for OML since then, and both old and new visitors enjoyed the new and expanded facility.  Friday’s sessions of the annual meeting were held at the beautiful new Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus. The university is very proud of this facility, and it was designed with events like the meeting of the Society for the History of Discoveries in mind.  Saturday’s sessions were held at the conference hotel, The Eastland Park Hotel.

The program committee put together an agenda of papers and sessions that edified and excited. There was a wonderful variety of topics—from Columbus to David and Samuel Thompson, and from the Gulf Stream to Route 66. The traditional interests of the Society for the History of Discoveries in the history of cartography, exploration, and colonization were all richly represented, sometimes in novel ways. The regional history of New England was also well represented.  See the attached pages listing the program, and read the abstracts and biographical sketches of our speakers at this annual meeting.

The Society for the History of Discoveries conference in 2011, as noted, was held in combination locations with the in-town hotel (the Eastland Park) and the beautiful new Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus. For more information about the Osher Map Library visit the website at usm.maine.edu/maps. Located in the heart of Portland’s arts district, The Eastland Park is Portland’s “grand dame” hotel. It was built in the 1920’s and although it has been recently renovated, it has kept its historic charm. The hotel was within an easy walk of the world-class Portland Museum of Art, the USM campus, the bustling harbor and numerous other attractions. For more information about the Eastland Park visit www.eastlandpark.com .  More information on Portland can be found linked from the Convention and Visitors Center at www.visitportland.com .     

Optional Tours
This year’s meeting in Portland featured both pre- and post-conference excursions featuring points of interest within Portland and the surrounding area.

Pre-Conference Tour
Historical Bus Tour of Greater Portland

Thursday, September 22, 2011
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
The group attending spent a day touring and experienced more of Portland with its personal guide, Dr. Joel Eastman. A retired history professor from the University of Southern Maine, Joel had a wealth of stories, legends and trivia he shared as the group made its way around “the beautiful city by the sea.” This was a great way to kick off a visit to Portland, see all the sights (yes we had inclement weather), and get the “lay of the land” of the Portland Peninsula and Casco Bay.  Highlights included numerous forts and lighthouses including the most photographed spot on the eastern seaboard, the beautiful Portland Head Light and a delicious lunch with a sea view at Southern Maine Community College’s Culinary Arts Institute.

Post-Conference Tour
Coastal Bus Tour to Maine Maritime Museum in Bath

with dinner and shopping in Freeport
Saturday, September 24, 2011
1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
The group toured Coastal Maine with a stopover at the DeLorme Map Store, home of Eartha, the world’s largest rotating and revolving globe. They explored Maine’s maritime heritage with a guided tour of the Maine Maritime Museum. The museum grounds are home to one of the last wooden sailing vessel shipyards in the U.S. and the remains of the only American clipper ship in existence, the “Snow Squall.” The bus stopped in Freeport, home of L.L. Bean, with sufficient time for shopping and dinner. 

For more information about Portland and the surrounding area and to better prepare your itinerary while you are there please access the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau’s travel website and Portland’s Downtown District website. Both sites have a wealth of information.

The Osher Map Library

Following photos are courtesy Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bug Light

Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light from Above

Casco Bay Lines

Portland Boat Tour

Old Port at Dusk

Looking Down on Portland

Exchange Street Downtown Portland

Fore Street Downtown Portland

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