The Mount Desert Island Historical Society welcomes Steve Bromage, executive director of Maine Historical Society, as speaker at their annual baked bean supper on Monday, Jan. 30 at 6 p.m., which will be held online again this year. Bromage will speak about history as the foundation of Maine’s sense of place, and how important it is to Maine’s identity and well-being.

Formed just two years after Maine became a state, Maine Historical Society has been collecting, promoting research and scholarship, and helping share Maine’s story for the last two hundred years. Bromage joined MHS in 2001 and has served as its director since 2012. His leadership focuses on how the history field can evolve to meet the needs and interests of contemporary audiences in Maine.

Among other initiatives, Bromage has led the development of the Maine Memory Network (www.mainememory.net), a nationally-recognized digital museum that draws together stories, perspectives, and online contributions from more than 270 organizations across Maine.

Bromage will discuss the spirit of collaboration between MHS, MDI Historical Society, and the MDI historical community; and MHS’s preparations for its third century of service to Maine.

The program will include a conversation with Bromage and Raney Bench, MDI Historical Society’s executive director, along with the audience, on the value of history and “collective memory.” Participants are invited to share why history matters to them, along with their thoughts, memories, and ideas for a group discussion which will immediately follow. Do you think knowing more about the history of MDI creates a stronger connection to the island? Do people care more about the future of a place when they understand its history? Can history help MDI keep its unique identity and special place in the world? Join us and share your thoughts on these questions.

The program runs until 7:30 and will also offer a few rounds of Two Truths and a Lie, celebrating the March 22 return of History Happy Hour, an experiential, fun way to learn local history. History Happy Hour is a free program for members of the MDI Historical Society that is held at island bars and restaurants every other month offering games, trivia, and social history experiences. Trivia during this preview will focus on maritime history, which is the theme of the 2023 edition of Chebacco, the Society’s annual history journal.

The event is free and open to the public, but participants must pre-register. Visit http://www.mdihistory.org/events/2023beansupper for more information.