MHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

The MHS recognizes that the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral to our mission and to ensuring the well-being of our staff and the communities we serve. We therefore embrace these values in the work we do on a daily basis to collect and communicate materials and resources that foster historical knowledge.

We are committed to the preservation of a collective history of the people of Massachusetts and the nation. We are guided by the belief that an inclusive interpretation of the past must uphold historical truths, must encompass a wide range of voices and lived experiences, and must not suppress information that may make some uncomfortable.

We acknowledge the dedication and commitment of individuals who worked to build the MHS into the remarkable institution it is today. At the same time, we recognize that the Society—like many others in the field—has had a history of favoring a narrow range of historical memory. This is in part because the MHS was founded and funded by a select few who valued the narratives of those who shared a similar socioeconomic status.

With this awareness, we seek to openly address these historic disparities. As a prominent collector and curator of early Massachusetts history, we understand the power the MHS wields in shaping the discourse surrounding American history. While the Society has been at the forefront of cutting edge historical research for decades, we see it as our responsibility to continue to work toward shifting the prevailing framework of what is traditionally considered to be “historically significant” to include voices and forms of documentation not previously acknowledged.

Diversity, inclusion, and equal access are fundamental principles of the MHS. Therefore, our current collections are freely available to all and we encourage everyone to share their observations, interpretations, and ideas among many audiences. We provide a forum for difficult conversations, we host discussions that delve into these histories in all of their complexities, and we welcome people from all backgrounds to attend, question, and contribute.

Because of our commitment to a full presentation of the historical record, we aim to be inclusive, open, and fair in all that we do. Toward these ends, we practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions. We continue to seek, engage, and employ people of all backgrounds as we foster a culture of respect, openness, learning, integrity, and honesty—especially in the face of the sometimes difficult historical truths our organization must preserve and present.

As the MHS endeavors to make the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion a cornerstone of our daily activities and long-term vision, we acknowledge that this is an ongoing process that we will never fully resolve or complete. We consider this statement a living document that will necessarily evolve as we continue to examine our institution’s role in a changing nation. 

Additional MHS statements

Upcoming Events

Online Event

The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

17May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School ...

19May 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality ...

Online Event

Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism

26May 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

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