The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

We return from a long weekend with several programs ready for public consumption this week. Starting the week off, on Tuesday, 12 November, is "Making Land in Earthquake Country: Urban Development and Disaster in San Francisco." In this Environmental History Seminar, Joanna Dyl of the University of South Florida looks at the earliest years of urban development in San Francisco during the late 1840s and early 1850s, characterized by an emphasis on filling in "water lots." Dyl's paper argues that ignorance does not fully explain San Franciscans' apparent tendency to downplay or ignore the danger posed by the combination of made land and earthquakes. Comment provided by Conevery Bolton Valencius, University of Massachusetts - Boston.Be sure to RSVP for this program by emailing or phoning 617-646-0568. Seminar begins at 5:15PM.

Friday, 15 November, is a busy day at the MHS with two public programs occurring on-site and one off. Taking place in Pittsfield, MA and beginning at 8:30AM is the first day of a two-day teacher workshop, continuing on Saturday, 16 November. "Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation" explores how to use local resources to examine historical issues with a national focus, concentrating on the period just after the Revolution. The workshop is open to teachers, librarians, archivists, members of local historical societies, and all interested local history enthusiasts. Workshop faculty will include the MHS Department of Education and Public Programs, Gary Shattuck, author of Artful and Designing Men: The Trials of Job Shattuck and the Regulation of 1786-1787, MHS Teacher Fellow Dean Eastman, and the staff of the Berkshire Historical Society. The program will also include visits to the Berkshire Athenaeum and the Crane Museum of Papermaking. There is a $25 charge to cover lunches both days; program and material costs have been generously funded by the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation. Educators can earn 15 PDPs and 1 Graduate Credit (for an additional fee) from Framingham State University. To Register: Please complete this registration form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215. For Additional Information: Contact the Education Department: 617-646-0557 or

Also on Friday, beginning at 12:00PM, join us at the Society's building at 1154 Boylston St. for a Brown Bag lunch talk. With "The Urban Archival Regime in Trans-national Perspective: Roxbury, Africville, Hogan's Alley," Karen Bridget Murray of Kennesaw State University and York University discusses variations in archival regimes, their relationship to the writing of Black urban history, and their implications for efforts to secure redress for past urban spatial injustices, such as school bussing in Boston, and the razing of African-Canadian communities in Vancouver and Halifax. Brown bag lunch talks are free and open to the public.

And at 2:00PM is a public program focused on our current exhibition: "Early Boston Furniture: Style, Constructions, Materials, & Use." American furniture collectors John and Marie Vander Sande will discuss late 17th-century joined case pieces, early 18th-century cabinetwork, and pre-1730 chairs produced in Boston. The style, construction techniques, woods chosen, and motivation for the applied decoration, as well as the use of the pieces in the home, will be highlighted. This program is free and open to the public.

Last but certainly not least, on Saturday, 16 November, stop by at 10:00AM for The History and Collections of the MHS. This 90-minute, docent-led tour 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: Monday, 11 November, 2013, 8:48 PM