MSC Winter Session 2023

MSC presents a selection of workshops, guided discussions, and recorded lectures, sponsored by Thornton Oaks Retirement Community in Brunswick, Maine


WORKSHOP ($45) – registration required
iPhone Photography Workshop for Motivated Novices
—January 10, 17, 24 & 31   9:30-11:30 a.m. This is a workshop with three follow-up tutoring sessions for folks who want to capture and edit images with their iPhone cameras. The ultimate goal might be to procure prints they’d be proud to hang on walls. Planning shots, basic composition, image library management, post processing (aka editing), and preparing for printing will all be touched upon. Scene-rich locations in greater Brunswick will be suggested for students to explore and capture. Students will be encouraged to share their shots. Purchasing The iPhone Photography Book by Scott Kelby (ISBN 978-1681986913) is recommended but not required. Craig Snapp got serious about his photography hobby after retiring from his Silicon Valley career and migrating to Maine in 2003. His love of nature and the outdoors led to a focus on his adopted state’s striking landscapes with its natural variations of sky, seasons, and tides. Where: Curtis Library, Brunswick, Room 206. Class limit: 10

DISCUSSION (FREE)* registration required
Cuisine Talk: American Flavors
—January 10, 17 & 24  1:00-2:30 p.m.This workshop will explore America’s unique culinary history based on the research of Sarah Lohman, a self-described historic gastronomist. In her book Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine (2016; ISBN 978-1476753966), Sarah describes her research into the amazing journey of how eight flavors made their way into our kitchens and lives. Her work goes well back into our colonial past, through waves of immigration, years of slavery and into the 21st century. Copies of Lohman’s book will be available at the library front desk for reserve reading. Sue Kingsland is the Associate Director of MSC. Sue admits the only qualifications she can claim in the culinary world are an absolute love of cooking and an equal love of exploring new and old flavors. If there is a heaven waiting for us, and if she gets to go there, Sue expects she’ll be greeted by the tantalizing aroma of her grandmother’s homemade bread, fresh from the oven, tempting her to have the first, warm, buttery slice.  Where: Topsham Public Library.


WORKSHOP (FREE)* registration required
American Sign Language Handshapes Workshop for Beginners—January 11 & 18   9:30-11:00 a.m.
This workshop meets twice: the first meeting is a relaxed presentation of the basic aspect of sign language, the 36 basic handshapes used to form the A-Z manual alphabet and numbers 0-9.  By the conclusion of the second meeting, you should be able to spell familiar words using the 36 shapes and tips provided by the instructor. You are not obligated to continue on to ASL Level 1 to use your newfound skills for fingerspelling, sign production, and ultimately, communication in ASL, but you might be tempted. Martin Samelson earned Certification in ASL/English Interpretation to perform his work at the Lexington School for the Deaf. He served as ASL Program Director at Middlesex Community College, Edison, NJ, at the Lewis School, Princeton, NJ, and at The New School, Kennebunk, ME. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Maine’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children at the Governor Baxter School. Where: Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, Room 206.


WORKSHOP ($45)* registration required
Fly Tying For Beginners Workshop—January 12, 19, 26 & February 2   9:30-11:30 a.m. 

This class is designed to teach students the basic skills and techniques needed for discovering the exciting world of fly tying. There is nothing more gratifying than catching a fish on a fly you hand tied. Students will be tying proven patterns. All equipment and materials will be provided for your use. Students will learn how to use the tools provided but are also encouraged to bring any of their own vises and tools if they have them. Students may keep the ties they make in class. Kevin Karnes started fly fishing 25 years ago. He loved the sport so much that he learned to tie his own flies and also learned how to build custom fly rods which he has built for fellow enthusiasts over the years. He has taught fly tying for 15 years for adult education in Maine. Where: UMA Brunswick Center, Room 119; class limit 6.

WORKSHOP ($45)* registration required
Memoir Writing and Meditation Workshop—January 12, 19 & 26  1:00-3:00 p.m.
This workshop is designed to start up your meditation practice and introduce you to the basic principles of memoir writing under the guidance of an experienced meditator and writer. These mindfulness skills counter the effects of the accelerated tempo of contemporary life. There will be short writing exercises and class discussions of the writing process based on Ann Kimmage’s memoir, Split in Two: Reconciled through Yoga. Ann Kimmage has been part of the Senior College teaching staff since her retirement to Brunswick in 2004. She has taught memoir writing, yoga, Pilates, and meditation in multiple settings and is the author of two memoirs: An Un-American Childhood and Split in Two: Reconciled through Yoga. Class assignments will use Split in Two, which may be purchased at Midcoast Senior College office on 18 Middle St., Suite 2, Brunswick during office hours on T, W, Th between 9-3. Where: UMA Brunswick Center,  Room 119. Class limit 12.

DISCUSSION (FREE)* registration required
Book Talk—One meeting: select either January 12 or 19    10:00-11:30 a.m.
Join us for lively conversation about books. Books you’ve read or are reading . . . history, biography, fiction, mystery, best sellers, poetry, classics, self-help, you name it. Optional prompts to help guide our discussion will be emailed before the meeting. Where: On Zoom. Select the date you wish to attend when you register. Leona Dufour is a retired educator, avid reader, and has taught and co-taught for MSC.



  • The Ether Controversy by Richard Neiman
    The Invention of surgical anesthesia is one of medicine’s greatest gifts to mankind, and arguably the most important contribution of American medical science. Ironically, it was characterized by both acrimony and tragedy, involving financial and professional ruin, insanity and suicide befalling three of the four men vying for the fame and fortune associated with the credit of being the true discoverer. This lecture will tell the story.
  • A Tale of Two Italys: The Country’s Historical and Longstanding North-South Divide by Dan Possumato
    Italy’s economy is more geographically divided than any other country in Europe. The north has a GDP per capita equal to 127% of the EU average, while the south is only 56%. There is a pronounced social, cultural and political divide as well. The well-worn stereotypes about the north and south persist, both within the country and abroad. People are rich and reserved in the industrial north, while the south is friendly but impoverished, chaotic and crime-ridden. We will examine how true these statements are, and ponder the reasons why all efforts to eliminate the disparity since the 19th century have failed.
  • Born With A Bullet in the Heart: Brief Lives of Seven Great Russian Poets by George Young
    For more than two centuries Russians have especially treasured their poets for telling existential truths otherwise absent in public discourse. This lecture will focus on the brief lives  of seven (or more) of Russia’s  greatest:  Pushkin, Lermontov, Blok, Gumilev, Akhmatova, Esenin, Mayakovsky, and Brodsky — each very different from the others, but all, as a more recent Russian poet has expressed it, “born with a d’Anthes bullet in the heart.”
  • Future Cities in Architecture and Literature by David Spurr
    Writers and architects alike have sought to imagine what cities will look like in the future. Their conceptions vary from the utopian ambitions of early twentieth century architects such as Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, to the more somber visions of contemporary novelists like William Gibson, J.G. Ballard, or Kim Stanley Robinson, as well as those of films like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. What will our cities be like a century from now? The subject has immediate relevance today, given that any attempt to conceive of a future city poses questions of climate change, increased surveillance, information technology, and social stability.



  • Registration is online; phone assistance is available at 207-725-4900.
  • MSC relies on membership fees to offer our courses and programs. The $35 annual fee, per person, covers the period July 1 2022 through June 30, 2023. Members are a valued part of the MSC community. To pay your membership fee, click here:
  • Not sure if you’re a member? Email us at