Castine Historical Society

Through exhibitions, lectures and special events, the Historical Society draws on its archives to bring the history of Castine to life.
  • 17 School Street
    Castine, ME 04421
  • 207-326-4118

President James Madison  

The Castine Historical Society is located in the Abbott School on the Town Common  

For many Americans, the War of 1812 was a “second war for independence.” They believed that the British had never really accepted the “first” war for independence, and were again seeking to make Americans subservient to King George.

Other Americans believed this was nonsense. They blamed the war on President James Madison, called it “Mr. Madison’s War,” and saw it instead as a pretext for expansion into Canada.

There is evidence on both sides of the controversy, even today.

On September 1, 1814, a British contingent invaded and occupied Castine. They would not leave until the following April. The Castine Historical Society’s 2014 seasonal exhibit, titled “Mr. Madison’s War – Castine and the War of 1812,” tells the story of both the War and Castine’s occupation.

In addition to exploring the Society’s seasonal and permanent exhibits and Gift Shop, present-day visitors can use a walking map of Castine – available at CHS as well as at Castine shops, inns and restaurants – to locate points of interest related to the occupation while exploring this scenic and historic village.

Other CHS summer events include: on Thursday, June 26, a lecture by local historian Lynn Parsons on the War of 1812; the exhibit opening reception on Sunday, June 29; on Saturday, July 5, a dramatic presentation of the letters of John and Abigail Adams; and on Tuesday, August 5, the Sixth Annual Pulliam Memorial Lecture with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor. The Society’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, August 27, open to the public, features an illustrated talk by Gail Winkler on period interior finishes at the Society’s Grindle House, currently undergoing renovation.

The Castine Historical Society is located in the Abbott School on the Town Common. For more information on the Society, including up-to-date schedules of events and exhibit hours, visit or call 207-326-4118.

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June 24 through Labor Day
Monday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Early-season hours
Monday Closed
Tuesday 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Wednesday 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Thursday 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Friday 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Saturday 1 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Sunday Closed


  • Membership Available


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