Exhibitions & Ongoing Events

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May 2013

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  • Brown BagTransient Painters, Traveling Canvases: Portraiture and Mobility in...
    Brown BagTransient Painters, Traveling Canvases: Portraiture and Mobility in the British Atlantic, 1750 – 1780
    12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Katelyn Crawford, University of Virginia this event is free details
  • Author Talk, Public ProgramBunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution
    Author Talk, Public ProgramBunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution
    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Location: Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline Nathaniel Philbrick

    In his newest book, Bunker Hill, author Nathaniel Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.

    this event requires a feeregistration required details
    • Public Program, ExhibitionThe Three Lives of Anthony Burns
      Public Program, ExhibitionThe Three Lives of Anthony Burns
      2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Exhibition Spotlight Peter Drummey, Massachusetts Historical Society this event is free details
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          • Early American History SeminarMadison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention
            Early American History SeminarMadison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention
            5:15 PM - 7:30 PM Mary Sarah Bilder, Boston College Law School Pauline Maier, MIT

            Madison's Notes with his revisions remain the most prominent remnants of the Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. What does it mean to take seriously that Madison's notes on the Convention are notes? Two hundred and twenty-five years after Madison first wrote the Notes, changing technology makes it possible to revisit the manuscript. This paper will suggest that Madison revised his notes far more extensively than has been previously understood. The revised notes demonstrate that Madison's understanding of the Convention, the Constitution, and his own role changed dramatically between May 1787 and the end of the eighteenth century.

            Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
            Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
            details
          • Public ProgramAnnual Jefferson Lecture
            Public ProgramNew Perspectives on Jefferson's Monticello: House, Landscape, and Family
            6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 PM Susan R. Stein, Monticello Annual Jefferson Lecture Please RSVP   free eventregistration required at no cost details
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                    • Brown BagCotton Mather Encounters the Gods of Egypt: The Transatlantic Enlig...
                      Brown BagCotton Mather Encounters the Gods of Egypt: The Transatlantic Enlightenment and the Origin of Pagan Religions
                      12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Reiner Smolinski, Georgia State University

                      This brown-bag lunch presentation is based on Professor Smolinski's ongoing work for his new intellectual biography of Cotton Mather, forthcoming from Yale University Press.

                      this event is free details
                    • Public Program“The Tender Heart & Brave”
                      Public Program“The Tender Heart & Brave”: The Politics & Friendship of Charles Sumner & Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
                      6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 PM Rob Velella, Longfellow-Washington’s Headquarters NHS Stepehn Puleo, author of "The Caning" Please RSVP   free eventregistration required at no cost details
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                                • ExhibitionForever Free: Lincoln & the Emancipation Proclamation
                                  ends ExhibitionForever Free: Lincoln & the Emancipation Proclamation
                                  10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

                                  Pen used to sign Emancipation ProclamationForever Free features the pen Abraham Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. Visitors can learn how the MHS acquired this extraordinary pen as well as view paintings, broadsides, engravings, and manuscripts that tell the story of how Boston celebrated Emancipation.

                                  this event is free details
                                • ExhibitionLincoln in Manuscript & Artifact
                                  ends ExhibitionLincoln in Manuscript & Artifact
                                  10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

                                  Bronze cast of Abraham LincolnView documents and artifacts related to Abraham Lincoln.

                                  this event is free details
                                • Exhibition"Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land": Boston Abolitionists, 1...
                                  ends Exhibition"Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land": Boston Abolitionists, 1831-1865
                                  10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM

                                  Proclaim Liberty bannerThis exhibition features manuscripts; broadsides and banners announcing antislavery meetings and fairs; artifacts—including the imposing stone for The Liberator; and portraits of key players to illustrate the role of Massachusetts in the national debate over slavery and demonstrate how the movement was communicated and followed.

                                  this event is free details
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                                      this event is free Exhibition

                                      Forever Free: Lincoln & the Emancipation Proclamation

                                      2 January 2013 to 24 May 2013 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
                                      Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

                                      Pen used to sign Emancipation ProclamationIn commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on 1 January 1863, this exhibition features the pen Abraham Lincoln used to sign the document. Visitors can learn how the MHS acquired this extraordinary pen as well as view paintings, broadsides, engravings, and manuscripts that tell the story of how Boston celebrated Emancipation.

                                      this event is free Exhibition

                                      Lincoln in Manuscript & Artifact

                                      2 January 2013 to 24 May 2013 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
                                      Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM

                                      Bronze cast of Abraham LincolnView documents and artifacts related to Abraham Lincoln. Featured items include Lincoln's letter to Joshua F. Speed explaining his evolving views on slavery as well as the casts of the life mask and hands of Lincoln made by Leonard Volk in the spring of 1860.

                                      this event is free Exhibition

                                      "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land": Boston Abolitionists, 1831-1865

                                      22 February 2013 to 24 May 2013 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
                                      Monday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM

                                      Proclaim Liberty bannerIn the decades leading up to the Civil War, Boston became a center of the national antislavery movement, and in 1831 William Lloyd Garrison, "all on fire" for the cause, began publication of The Liberator, the country's leading abolitionist newspaper. There was strong resistance to the radical movement, however, not only in the slaveholding South, but among Northerners' as well. The exhibition features manuscripts, photographs, artifacts—including the imposing stone for The Liberator—and portraits related to the abolitionist movement in Boston.

                                      1 May 2013 this event is free Brown Bag

                                      Transient Painters, Traveling Canvases: Portraiture and Mobility in the British Atlantic, 1750 – 1780

                                      12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
                                      Katelyn Crawford, University of Virginia

                                      This project examines the paintings of portraitists working within the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, demonstrating the impact of mobility on artistic practice and portraiture on identity construction. Considering a network of about ten portraitists, the canvases they produce, and the travel of both individuals and images throughout the British Atlantic in the mid eighteenth century, this study identifies a shift in the construction of artistic communities as artists take to sea. By considering portraits and conversation pieces across the Atlantic rim, this project reveals visual convergences (in empire-wide visual conventions) and divergences (between local idioms in various port cities) that illustrate the development of regional identities within imperial conventions.

                                      1 May 2013 this event requires a feeregistration required Author Talk, Public Program

                                      Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution

                                      6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
                                      Location: Coolidge Corner Theatre, 290 Harvard St., Brookline Nathaniel Philbrick

                                      Nathaniel Philbrick, the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower, brings his prodigious talents to the story of the first major battle of the American Revolution. Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until 19 April, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.

                                      Nathaniel Philbrick is the New York Times bestselling author of National Book Award winner In the Heart of the Sea, Pulitzer Prize finalist Mayflower, Sea of Glory, and The Last Stand. He is also the author of Why Read Moby- Dick? and Away Off Shore. He lives on Nantucket.

                                      Tickets

                                      • Tickets will go on sale on Monday, April 8, 2013.
                                      • Tickets are $5 per person and are available from Brookline Booksmith.
                                      • Please visit brooklinebooksmith.com/tickets or call 617-566-6660 to reserve your space!
                                      • When you purchase the book, you receive one free ticket and the option to purchase a second ticket for $5.

                                      This event is co-sponsored with Brookline Booksmith and will take place at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline. For directions, please visit http://www.coolidge.org/. 

                                      3 May 2013 this event is free Public Program, Exhibition

                                      The Three Lives of Anthony Burns

                                      2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
                                      Exhibition Spotlight Peter Drummey, Massachusetts Historical Society

                                      The rendition of Anthony Burns—his return from Boston to slavery in 1854—was a turning point in the Abolitionist struggle. But who was Anthony Burns? A fugitive slave? A symbol of the antislavery cause in Boston? What happened to him after he was freed and his celebrity faded? We will explore the heroic, and tragic, life of Anthony Burns through documents on display at the Society.

                                      7 May 2013 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                                      Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
                                      Early American History Seminar

                                      Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention

                                      5:15 PM - 7:30 PM
                                      Mary Sarah Bilder, Boston College Law School Pauline Maier, MIT

                                      Madison's Notes with his revisions remain the most prominent remnants of the Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. What does it mean to take seriously that Madison's notes on the Convention are notes? Two hundred and twenty-five years after Madison first wrote the Notes, changing technology makes it possible to revisit the manuscript. This paper will suggest that Madison revised his notes far more extensively than has been previously understood. The revised notes demonstrate that Madison's understanding of the Convention, the Constitution, and his own role changed dramatically between May 1787 and the end of the eighteenth century.

                                      8 May 2013 Please RSVP   free eventregistration required at no cost Public Program

                                      New Perspectives on Jefferson's Monticello: House, Landscape, and Family

                                      6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
                                      Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 PM Susan R. Stein, Monticello Annual Jefferson Lecture

                                      The wide lens of this talk will focus on recent restoration and interpretive efforts including Monticello's work spaces beneath the house, public rooms, and upper floors as well as Mulberry Row, the plantation's principal street. The discussion will also describe Monticello's free and enslaved community. Susan R. Stein is the longtime Richard Gilder Senior Curator and Vice President for Museum Programs.

                                      Reservations requested. Please click on the ticket icon above, or contact the education department at 617-646-0560 / education@masshist.org.

                                      11 May 2013 this event is free MHS Tour

                                      MHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS

                                      10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

                                      Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

                                      The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

                                      Free and open to the public.

                                      15 May 2013 this event is free Brown Bag

                                      Cotton Mather Encounters the Gods of Egypt: The Transatlantic Enlightenment and the Origin of Pagan Religions

                                      12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
                                      Reiner Smolinski, Georgia State University

                                      This brown-bag lunch presentation is based on Professor Smolinski's ongoing work for his new intellectual biography of Cotton Mather, forthcoming from Yale University Press.

                                      16 May 2013 Please RSVP   free eventregistration required at no cost Public Program

                                      “The Tender Heart & Brave”: The Politics & Friendship of Charles Sumner & Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

                                      6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
                                      Pre-Talk Reception at 5:30 PM Rob Velella, Longfellow-Washington’s Headquarters NHS Stepehn Puleo, author of "The Caning"

                                      How did a fiery abolitionist senator and a genteel poet come together as the closest of friends? Presented as a dramatic reading of actual historic documents - including letters, journals, poetry, and speeches - this program will highlight the deep personal relationship shared between abolitionist politician Charles Sumner and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The reading takes listeners from the earliest friendship of these two men to their antislavery advocacy, from their personal triumphs and tragedies and into their final years, weaving through the events of the nation including Emancipation.

                                      Stephen Puleo, author of The Caning: The Assault that Drove America to Civil War, will be on hand to provide commentary and sign copies of his book.

                                      Co-sponsored by Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site and the Boston African American National Historic Site.

                                      Reservations requested. Please click on the ticket icon above, or contact the education department at 617-646-0560 / education@masshist.org.

                                      18 May 2013 this event is free MHS Tour

                                      MHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS

                                      10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

                                      Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

                                      The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

                                      Free and open to the public.

                                      25 May 2013 Building Closed

                                      Memorial Day

                                      all day
                                      27 May 2013 Building Closed

                                      Memorial Day

                                      all day
                                      29 May 2013 this event is free Brown Bag

                                      Confiscated Voices: Representing the Slave Experience during the American Civil War

                                      12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
                                      Heather Cooper, University of Iowa

                                      Runaway slaves who fled to Union lines during the Civil War were known as “contrabands” because of their inclusion in the category of seizeable enemy property under the First and Second Confiscation Acts. The pervasive references to “contraband” in the press, on stage, and in political cartoons suggest that “contraband” became the primary representation of slavery and slaves during the Civil War, much in the way that “Uncle Tom” had in the 1850s. This talk will explore the ways in which contraband men and women enacted their own representations of their changing status and slave experience and through everyday performance in the contraband camps, challenging competing representations of race, gender, and slavery in the process.

                                      29 May 2013 Notice

                                      Library Closing @ 4:00

                                      all day
                                      29 May 2013 Please RSVP   this event requires a feeregistration required Public Program

                                      Sounds of the Civil War

                                      6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
                                      Boston Saxophone Quartet

                                      Sing along with the Boston Saxophone Quartet as we explore the music of the Civil War era. This program will feature familiar tunes from the 1860s that were sung around the parlor piano, as well as songs written specifically for the newest instrument of the era: the saxophone. The evening will include musical performances and historical commentary on the selected pieces. Members of the Boston Saxophone Quartet have performed with the Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra and leading Broadway theaters throughout New England. Conductor and instrumentalist Peter Cokkinias, Professor at neighboring Berklee College of Music, has served for over 30 seasons as Music Director/Conductor of the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra; has conducted the Boston Ballet and Boston Pops; and has performed with the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, and Cincinnati, Hartford, Pittsburgh, and Boston Symphony Orchestras.

                                      Registration Required. Fee $30/$20 (F/M); Free for MHS Fund Giving Circle members. Please click on the ticket icon above, or contact the education department at 617-646-0557 / education@masshist.org.

                                      30 May 2013 Notice

                                      Library Closing @ 3:00

                                      all day

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