MSC Winter Session 2024

Workshops, Discussions, Recorded Lectures

Registration opens December 18, 2023


Fundamentals of Artisan Bread Baking: From the Boule to Baguette—Jan. 8, 22 & 29    1:00-2:30 p.m.  WORKSHOP ($45) in-person
This workshop will cover the “Four T’s” of artisan bread baking: tools, temperature, time, and technique. We will also learn about the Dutch Oven and the baking stone, flours that work, pre-fermenting for added flavor, thermometers and digital scales, couche, banneton, the lame for scoring, letting time and temperature do the baker’s work, recommended techniques for handling and shaping dough, and ideal temperatures. Norm Schroeder has taken a baguette course at the King Arthur Flour campus, spent a summer as a commercial baker in a local cafe, and enjoyed baking artisan breads and pastries at home for the past dozen years. Where: Topsham Library, Topsham.


French Conversation
—Jan. 9, 16, 23 & 30   9:30-11:00 a.m. WORKSHOP ($45) in-person
Has your French become a bit rusty? Do you want to add to your vocabulary and make your speech more French? This four-week workshop will give students a chance to practice speaking French. Students will work together to choose conversation topics, role play and lead group discussion. This will not be a grammar course but grammar points will be explained when necessary. Each week new expressions and turns of phrase will be incorporated into the discussion. Not for beginners nor for those who are fluent in French. Bill VanderWolk holds a Ph.D. in French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and taught French during his forty-year career, the last twenty-nine years at Bowdoin College where he was the Longfellow Chair of Modern Languages. He has lived in France for
six years and many summers. Where: UMA Brunswick, Room 119.

Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College Tours—Jan. 23  10:00-11:00 a.m. or 1:00-2:00 p.m. (FREE) in-person
Take a guided tour of the new Arctic Museum Galleries in the John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies. The following exhibits are currently featured: Iñuit Qiñiġaaŋi: Contemporary Inuit Photography; Collections and Recollections: Objects and the Stories They Tell; and At Home in the North. Where: Arctic Museum, Bowdoin College, Brunswick.

Book Talk—Jan. 9 or 16    1:00-2:30 p.m. DISCUSSION GROUP (FREE) on Zoom
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. (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.


Bowdoin College Museum of Art Tour—Jan. 10  10:00-11:00 a.m.  (FREE) in-person
The following four exhibits will be featured in a guided tour: Jim Dine: Last Year’s Forgotten Harvest; Without Apology: Asian American Selves, Memories, Futures; Threads: Artists Weave their Worlds; and Currents: Art Since 1875. Where: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin College, Brunswick.


Building a Mind/Body Connection—Jan. 11, 18 & 25   1:00-2:30 p.m. WORKSHOP ($45) in-person
In this experiential workshop you will be introduced to basic skills that strengthen the connection between your mind and body. Learn how meditation, simple body movements that anybody can do, and prompt-generated journal writing can help reduce your stress level. Ann Kimmage is a certified stress management, yoga, and writing instructor. She will share how the fruits of her training, teaching experiences, meditation practice, and memoir writing have enriched her life and kept it in balance. Where: Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, Seminar Room 205.

The Art of Storytelling—Jan. 4, 11, 18, 25 and Feb. 1  1:00-3:00 p.m. WORKSHOP ($45) in-person
This workshop will examine the construct of storytelling; procedures for choosing, preparing, and telling a story;
examining one’s unique storytelling voice; and discovering resources, games, and variations of storytelling. The final class is reserved for a story swap, during which participants are encouraged to tell a story of their choice. Dr. Phyllis Blackstone is a retired educator/education professor who morphed into a storyteller during her career. She tells a variety of stories in venues such as schools, churches, retirement homes, and storytelling festivals. She is most interested in helping people claim their storytelling voices. Where: The Highlands, Merrymeeting Bay Room, Topsham.



Beginning to Learn About the Abenaki by Doug Bennett
The Abenaki had been here in Midcoast Maine for thousands of years before European settlers arrived and disrupted their way of life.  And we–and by “we” I mean largely the descendants of these European settlers–have by now largely erased all recognition or memory of the Abenaki. In this lecture I want to recount some of what I have been learning about the Abenaki. And I want to invite others to join in learning more about the indigenous people who lived here for millennia and are still among us. The story of the Abenaki is part of our collective story.

Climate Science: A Quick Tutorial by Kerry Emanuel
With all the politics surrounding global warming, it is easy to lose sight of the inherent excitement of the science of climate. I will try to convey some of that excitement to you by addressing some fascinating and puzzling questions about earth’s climate, such as: Why did the earth experience about ten ice ages over the last three million years? How is it that palm trees grew in the Yukon around 50 million years ago? What is the greenhouse effect and how is it changing? Why is sea level dropping around Greenland while it is rising almost everywhere else? And, will Maine experience more hurricanes in the future? Stay tuned!

Budapest Blackout: The Diarist as Witness to the Holocaust by Jim Oberly
In 1941, Mária Mádi, a Budapest physician, began keeping a diary to chronicle her everyday life, as well as the lives of her Jewish neighbors, during a period of war, genocide, and foreign occupation in Hungary. Moved by what she witnessed, from October 1944 to February 1945 she hid a Jewish family in her small flat, for which she received a posthumous medal from Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. After her death in 1970, Mádi’s family donated her diaries, which offer one of the most complete pictures we have of life during the Hungarian Holocaust, to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This lecture is based on the book Budapest Blackout: A Holocaust Diary, a selection of Mádi’s writings edited by James Oberly (University of Wisconsin Press, 2023).

Viewing Technology Options for Folks Newly Interested in Astronomy by Craig P. Snapp
Many humans are intrigued and even awe-inspired by the starry heavens. This presentation will cover ways to get started in amateur astronomy and briefly discuss the wide variety of viewing options available to the general public. The new technology of Electronic Assisted Astronomy (“smart”) telescopes now makes it much easier to view and capture images of Deep Space Objects (galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters) even in light-polluted urban areas. My successful quest to capture all 110 of the famous Messier objects in less than one year will be covered in detail as an example. Final thoughts will be shared on the spiritual wonders of viewing the “river of stars” and exploring the universe, while defending deep-dark skies and nurturing the Earth.





  • Registration opens on December 18, 2023.
  • Registration is online. Phone assistance is available at 207-725-4900.