The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

As the fall chill takes grip and the leaves begin to lose theirs, there are still plenty of reasons to step out and visit the MHS this week. As always, our current exhibition is on view six days per week, 10:00AM-4:00PM, and open to the public. "The Cabinetmaker & the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections" is just one of many events taking place across the commonwealth this autumn to celebrate four centuries of furniture-making in Massachusetts. After you visit the Society to see this exhibition, visit to find out about all of the other institutions participating in the collaborative project.

Come in on Tuesday evening, 29 October, for a long-overdue seminar from the Immigration and Urban History series. Rescheduled from April 2013 and beginning at 5:15PM, "Dynamic Tensions: Charles Atlas, Immigrant Bodybuilders, and Eugenics, 1920-45" explores the paradox of bodybuilders such as Atlas espousing eugenics principles while highlighting their own allegedly innate weaknesses as a marketing strategy for their diet and exercise regimens. Presented by Dominique Padurano of Scarsdale High School, the paper argues that both techniques functioned as assimilation strategies for the immigrant and ethnic bodybuilding community at a time when the U.S. was less than hospitable to foreigners. Comment provided by E. Anthony Rotundo of Phillips Academy, Andover. Be sure to RSVP for this program by emailing or phoning 617-646-0568.

The following evening, Wednesday, 30 October, the Society hosts Joyce Chaplin of Harvard University for an author talk: "Around the World in 500 Years." Chaplin, the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University, asks if people today are more "global" than those in the past, better able to span and understand the entire planet. The project asserts that our awareness of living on a globe with finite resources began with the now-500-year-old tradition of going around the world. Around-the-world travelers' long and self-aware tradition of engagement with the planet questions our sense of uniqueness and may teach us something worth knowing about why we think of the Earth the way we do. There is a pre-talk reception for this event beginning at 5:30PM and the talk commences at 6:00PM. Registration is required for this event. Tickets are $10 per person (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617-646-0560 or register online by clicking here.

And on Saturday, 2 November, the Society will host another free tour. Beginning at 10:00AM, The History and Collections of the MHS is a 90-minute, docent-led tour which exposes visitors to all of the public space in the building at 1154 Boylston St., touching on the art, architecture, history, and collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 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

permalink | Published: Sunday, 27 October, 2013, 12:00 PM