Monday, Nov. 9, 2020
Contact:  Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Bicentennial commemorative license plate purchases fund projects, events

AUGUSTA – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and the Maine Cultural Affairs Council (CAC) today announced the programs and projects funded to date from the proceeds of the sales of Maine’s Bicentennial Commemorative License Plate.

Secretary Dunlap unveiled the State of Maine Bicentennial Commemorative License Plate on Dec. 4, 2017. To date, 4,884 plates have been purchased. The plates sell for $25, with the Cultural Affairs Council receiving $16 for every plate sold. The Council has used the funds to pay for three projects:

  • The Council allocated $15,000 for the republishing of “Maine Becomes a State: The Movement to Separate Maine From Massachusetts, 1785-1820” by Ronald E. Banks. Originally published by Maine Historical Society in 1970, “Maine Becomes a State” provides the play-by-play of the events that led to Maine entering the Union as the 23rd state on March 15, 1820. Gov. Mills suggested the reprinting project and copies of the book have been provided to all public and school libraries in Maine, and to every legislator.
  • The Council appropriated $7,000 for Maine’s students’ participation in the Margaret Chase Smith Center National History Day Project, including travel to Washington D.C. Nearly 700 students participate in the regional competitions, while 300 students advance to the State finals, and between 45 and 55 students participate in the nationals. National History Day promotes historical research and fosters critical thinking through project-based learning to students in grades 6-12.
  • The Council also provided $2,000 to support the University of Maine Statehood and Bicentennial Conference, May 30-June 1, 2019. The event featured a series of panels, presentations and concerts celebrating Maine culture.

The Cultural Affairs Council consists of the Maine State Library, Maine State Archives, Maine State Museum, Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Maine Arts Commission, Maine Historical Society, and Maine Humanities Council, all of which are members of the Maine Bicentennial Commission (Maine200).

The Bicentennial Commemorative License Plate is due to expire on Dec. 31, 2020 for display as the front license plate on registered vehicles but is still available for purchase at any Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch. The display expiry date is likely to be extended to accommodate the pandemic-related postponement of the Maine Bicentennial Commission’s special events and programs to 2021. Additionally, the CAC has more than $50,000 remaining in its bicentennial plate funds, to be allocated to bicentennial-related events and programs throughout 2021.