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October 2017

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      • Early American History SeminarJohn Marshall, Slaveowner and Jurist
        Early American History SeminarJohn Marshall, Slaveowner and Jurist
        5:15PM - 7:30PM Paul Finkelman, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Comment: R. Kent Newmyer, University of Connecticut More
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        • Public ProgramMHS Open House
          Public ProgramMHS Open House
          10:00AM - 3:00PM There is limited street parking and several garages nearby. The use of public transportation is highly recommended. MHS Staff More
        • Library Closed, Galleries OpenColumbus Day
          Library Closed, Galleries OpenColumbus Day
          all day More
        • Environmental History SeminarEarly American Environmental Histories
          Environmental History SeminarEarly American Environmental Histories
          5:15PM - 7:30PM James Rice, Tufts University Comment: Christopher Parsons, Northeastern University More
          • Public Program, Author TalkSteam Titans: Cunard, Collins and the Epic Battle for Commerce on t...
            Public Program, Author TalkSteam Titans: Cunard, Collins and the Epic Battle for Commerce on the North Atlantic
            6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William M. Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) More
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            • History of Women and Gender SeminarPanel Discussion: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Labor History
              History of Women and Gender SeminarPanel Discussion: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Labor History
              5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Anne G. Balay, Haverford College; Aimee Loiselle, University of Connecticut; Traci L. Parker, UMass-Amherst Moderator: Seth Rockman, Brown University Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
              Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
              More
            • Public ProgramLooking West from the East
              Public ProgramLooking West from the East
              2:00PM - 3:00PM Da Zheng, Suffolk University registration required at no cost More
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              • Brown Bag"Let it be your resolution to be happy": Women's Emotion Work in th...
                Brown Bag"Let it be your resolution to be happy": Women's Emotion Work in the Early Republic
                12:00PM - 1:00PM Laura McCoy, Northwestern University this event is free More
              • Conversation, Public ProgramAdvise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life
                Conversation, Public ProgramAdvise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life
                6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. There is a $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Karilyn Crockett, Office of Economic Development, City of Boston; Brian W. J. LeMay, independent scholar; Richard Rabinowitz, American History Workshop and author, Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past; and Moderator Katheryn P. Viens, Massachusetts Historical Society registration required More
              • Brown BagPolitical Appetites: Revolution, Taste, and Culinary Activism in th...
                Brown BagPolitical Appetites: Revolution, Taste, and Culinary Activism in the Early Republic
                12:00PM - 1:00PM Nancy Siegel, Towson University this event is free More
              • Walking Tour, Public ProgramWeird and Worrisome Tour
                Walking Tour, Public ProgramWeird and Worrisome Tour
                6:00PM - 7:00PM Meet at Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Hosted by the MHS, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Jamaica Plain Historical Society Sold OUT More
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                    • Public Program, Author TalkFriends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
                      Public Program, Author TalkFriends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
                      6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Gordon S. Wood, Brown University SOLD OUT -If you would like to be added to the wait-list, please email programs@masshist.org More
                      Early American History Seminar John Marshall, Slaveowner and Jurist 3 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Paul Finkelman, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Comment: R. Kent Newmyer, University of Connecticut

                      This chapter from Finkelman’s forthcoming book examines the personal and professional life of Chief Justice John Marshall in the context of his relationship to slavery. Though previous studies downplay Marshall’s slavery jurisprudence and his slaveholding, this paper argues that Marshall as a Supreme Court justice always favored slavery over freedom, and that this reflected his personal investment, emotional and economic, in slavery.

                      To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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                      Brown Bag Commerce and the Material Culture of the Maritime Atlantic World 4 October 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM J. Ritchie Garrison, University of Delaware

                      This talk considers the maritime economy in the early modern Atlantic World, focusing on the infrastructure of commercial exchanges as port cities adapted to larger ships, increased consumer goods, and productivity challenges in environments that included bays, rivers, and estuaries. The argument is grounded on historical documents, maps, objects, and archaeological fieldwork to show that people—from dock workers to financiers—sought to stabilize local variables to accommodate rapid market shifts.

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                      Member Event, Special Event Yankees in the West: Fellows & Members Preview & Reception 5 October 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Sara Martin, MHS Yankees in the West

                      Watch the recording of this event, embedded below:

                      MHS Fellows and Members are invited to join us on 5 October as we celebrate the arrival of Catherine Allgor, incoming president of the MHS, and open Yankees in the West

                       - Welcome, Paul Sandman, Chair, Board of Trustees

                      - Remarks, Catherine Allgor, President

                      - ‘Where the sunset beckons’: Henry Adams in the West, Sara Martin, Editor in Chief, Adams Papers


                      Yankees in the West
                      For generations Americans have been fascinated with the American west. Depictions of the western landscape flooded New England in the mid 19th century, spurring a stream of western tourism. The exhibition draws from the Society’s collections of letters, diaries, photographs, drawings, and artifacts to explore the ways New Englanders experienced the trans-Mississippi west in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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                      Exhibition Yankees in the West this event is free 6 October 2017 to 6 April 2018 Open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM Yankees in the West

                      For generations Americans have been fascinated with the American west. Depictions of the western landscape flooded New England in the mid19th century, spurring a stream of western tourism. Yankees in the West draws from the Society's collections of letters, diaries, photographs, drawings, and artifacts to explore the ways New Englanders experienced the trans-Mississippi west in the late19th and early 20th centuries.

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                      Public Program Canceled:
                      How Boston Became the 'West': George Ticknor and the Arrival of Spanish Culture to the United States
                      6 October 2017.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Ricardo Miguel Alfonso, University of Castilla-La Mancha

                      This program is cancelled due to a family emergency 

                       

                      George Ticknor, William H. Prescott, and other New Englanders wrote about Spain and the Spanish people in the early- to mid 19th century. Boston became a center for publishing Spanish literature and discussing Spanish culture as well as creating and perpetuating stereotypes as the Spanish empire came to be replaced by the American one. This helped to shape U.S.–Spain cultural relations until the Spanish-American War and helped to define America as the West.

                       

                      Image: Thomas Sully, George Ticknor, 1831, oil on canvas. Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College

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                      MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 7 October 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

                      The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

                      While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Yankees in the West.

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                      Public Program MHS Open House 9 October 2017.Monday, 10:00AM - 3:00PM There is limited street parking and several garages nearby. The use of public transportation is highly recommended. MHS Staff

                       

                      Visit the MHS and view Yankees in the West, an exhibition of letters, diaries, photographs, drawings, and artifacts that explores the ways New Englanders experienced the trans-Mississippi west in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Free and open to the public, the open house is part of the Opening Our Doors celebration in the Fenway Cultural District.

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                      Library Closed, Galleries Open Columbus Day 9 October 2017.Monday, all day

                      The MHS library is CLOSED; the exhibition galleries are OPEN, 10:00AM-3:00PM.

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                      Environmental History Seminar Early American Environmental Histories 10 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM James Rice, Tufts University Comment: Christopher Parsons, Northeastern University

                      This essay speaks to questions raised in a recent workshop at the Huntington on early American environmental history. How do timespan and scale change our understanding of historical relationships between people and their environments? What new light does environmental history shed on topics such as race, gender, or law? What can early Americanists contribute to the field of environmental history as a whole?

                      To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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                      Public Program, Author Talk Steam Titans: Cunard, Collins and the Epic Battle for Commerce on the North Atlantic 12 October 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. William M. Fowler, Jr., Northeastern University $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

                       

                       

                      Steam travel transformed the Atlantic into a pulsating highway, dominated by ports in Liverpool and New York. American raw materials flowed eastward, while goods, capital, people, and technology crossed westward. Steam Titans tells the story of a transatlantic fight to seize control of the globe’s most lucrative trade route. Two men—Samuel Cunard and Edward Knight Collins—and two nations wielded the tools of technology, finance, and politics to compete for control of a commercial lifeline that spanned the North Atlantic.

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                      Brown Bag Women and Household Authority in Colonial New England 13 October 2017.Friday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Caylin Carbonell, The College of William and Mary

                      In their households and communities, women in colonial New England wielded authority and were subjected to the authority of others, often shifting between these positions of dependence and authority. This project interrogates women's vertical and horizontal relationships with other members of their households, as well as their involvement in the daily operation of their homes, to show colonial households as contested spaces wherein authority was negotiated rather than assumed.

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                      MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS 14 October 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

                      The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

                      While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Yankees in the West.

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                      Brown Bag ‘Lived Botany’: Settler Colonialism and Natural History in British North America 16 October 2017.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Hannah Anderson, University of Pennsylvania

                      Natural historians in early America frequently benefited from information and plants provided by non-elite colonists. Yet these colonists did not think about plants using the categories and rules of natural history, but relied upon a form of knowledge that I call ‘lived botany.’ My term ‘lived botany’ reveals that settlers described plants using methods inspired by material culture, household production, and more. ‘Lived botany’ shaped early American natural history, and facilitated settler colonialism by allowing colonists to adapt to new environments in the Atlantic world.

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                      History of Women and Gender Seminar Panel Discussion: Gender, Sexuality, and the New Labor History Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                      Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                      17 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Location: Fay House, Radcliffe Institute Anne G. Balay, Haverford College; Aimee Loiselle, University of Connecticut; Traci L. Parker, UMass-Amherst Moderator: Seth Rockman, Brown University

                      The “New Labor History” is highly gendered, global, and often situated in spaces that are transitory or obscured. This session will consider the new directions that the path-breaking work of these three scholars indicates: on female, trans, and intersex truck drivers and state surveillance (Balay), on Puerto Rican needleworkers and the global working class (Loiselle), and on African American women workers in the post-Civil Rights Era (Parker). Note: There are no pre-circulated essays for this session.

                      To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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                      Brown Bag Palatable Slavery: Food, Race, and Freedom in the British Atlantic, 1620-1838 this event is free 18 October 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Heather Sanford, Brown University

                      This project uses food in the British Atlantic to understand ideas about the body, race, and freedom. In New England, the Caribbean, and the Gold Coast of Africa, supplies of foodstuffs sustained colonization and slavery. Food allowed for survival, and also demarcated hierarchies of class, gender, and especially race. However, subjugated populations often used food-related practices to negotiate degrees of freedom within (and in defiance of) oppressive systems of colonization and slavery.

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                      Biography Seminar Chasing Your Subject: Traveling Biographers, Traveling Subjects Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                      Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                      19 October 2017.Thursday, 5:30PM - 7:45PM Paul Fisher, Wellesley College; Charlotte Gordon, Endicott College; Sue Quinn, author Moderator: Carol Bundy, Civil War biographer

                      What do biographers learn when they travel to distant parts and foreign countries in pursuit of their subjects? Is travel a necessary component to writing biography? And what challenges does a traveling subject present to a biographer? This panel will include Paul Fisher, who has traveled extensively to research his work in progress, The Grand Affair: John Singer Sargent, His Patrons, and Sexuality in the Art World of the Belle Epoque; Charlotte Gordon, whose latest book, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, also took her all over Europe; and Sue Quinn, author of Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady and earlier biographies of Marie Curie and Karen Horney, who has pursued her subjects from Hyde Park to Warsaw and Tokyo.

                      To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579

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                      Public Program Looking West from the East registration required at no cost 20 October 2017.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Da Zheng, Suffolk University

                       

                       

                      Artist, poet, lecturer, and best selling author Chiang Yee is best known for his Silent Traveler books, which offered a Chinese perspective of London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Chiang was also good friends with historian, author, and Boston Athenaeum librarian Walt Whitehill, whose papers are at the MHS. This biographical sketch offers a unique perspective on America and the immigrant experience as well as a glimpse into the life of the Silent Traveler through one of his closest friendships.

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                      Teacher Workshop The Material Culture of Death Please RSVP   registration required 21 October 2017.Saturday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Registration fee: $25 per person

                      Grief was serious business in the nineteenth century. We will explore grim reminders of lives lost such as mourning jewelry, postmortem photographs, samplers, and household goods. Women played an important role in creating these objects and fostering remembrance, but so too did photographers, artists, and con men. Using documents and photographs from the Society’s collections participants can investigate spirit photography, the spiritualist movement, and other fascinating intersections of technology, faith, and grief.

                      This program is open to all K-12 educators. Teachers can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

                      Image: John Gray mourning ring, Gold, enamel, crystal, gold foil, hair by unidentified goldsmith. [Boston?, 1763]

                      Highlights:

                      • Meet Peter Manseau and discuss his new book, The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost.
                      • Investigate the causes of the growing popularity of mourning souvenirs (such as china, handkerchiefs, needlework, medals, and jewelry)  the nineteenth century.  
                      • View and and analyze photographs and artifacts from the Society's collection. 
                      • Take a walking tour of three of downtown Boston's burying grounds with Boston By Foot and dig deeper into the religious views, practices, symbolism, and traditions of death in Boston.
                      • Discover suggestions for connecting material culture of death to curriculum frameworks, as well as modern-day practices. 


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                      Public Program, Author Talk The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography & the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost registration required at no cost 21 October 2017.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Manseau, Smithsonian National Museum of American History

                      More than just a ghost story, this is a portrait of a young nation struggling to separate fact from fiction. Manseau details the trial of William H. Mumler, the “spirit photographer” who claimed he could take pictures of the souls of the dead, along with the battlefield exploits of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, the fathers of photojournalism who created frauds of their own. These stories offer a view of our nation’s obsession with the afterlife and our reluctance to choose science over fantasy.

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                      Brown Bag "Let it be your resolution to be happy": Women's Emotion Work in the Early Republic this event is free 23 October 2017.Monday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Laura McCoy, Northwestern University

                      Tasked with maintaining the comfort and happiness of their families even in the face of adversity, many middling- and upper-class women in the early-nineteenth century saw expressing and managing emotions as the foundation of their daily labors. This talk explores the everyday realities of this emotion work and helps us understand women’s actions and self-perceptions—as well as wider familial and social dynamics—in the early republic.

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                      Conversation, Public Program Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life registration required 23 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. There is a $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Karilyn Crockett, Office of Economic Development, City of Boston; Brian W. J. LeMay, independent scholar; Richard Rabinowitz, American History Workshop and author, Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past; and Moderator Katheryn P. Viens, Massachusetts Historical Society

                      What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of “alternative facts” and a social fabric that is being torn apart by political and class divides? Many historians and public historical organizations are changing the way they work, offering their talents and skills as advocates and healers. Yet, they face a complex public. Some audience members embrace the opportunity to engage in dialogue over difficult issues. Others seek a more entertaining, escapist experience. Still others are alert to activities that appear to overstep the traditional role of museums or to signal that their own perspectives might be unwelcome. Some visitors yearn for the inclusion of minority viewpoints but consider museums too inherently biased to present these narratives. It is all a challenging prospect for organizations that are seeking to be truly inclusive and build broad public support. Join us for a compelling conversation.

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                      Modern American Society and Culture Seminar Allaying Terror: Domesticating Artisan Refugees in South Vietnam, 1956 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                      Subscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.
                      24 October 2017.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:30PM Jennifer Way, University of North Texas Comment: Robert Lee, Brown University

                      This essay explores the publication of photographs of North Vietnam refugee artisans in English-language mass print media. These images served as an extension of American economic diplomacy. They aimed at resettling and domesticating the refugees while diminishing white American middle-class anxieties about the potential spread of communism in South Vietnam, a place Sen. John F. Kennedy pronounced “the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia.”

                      To RSVP: email seminars@masshist.org or call (617) 646-0579.

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                      Brown Bag Political Appetites: Revolution, Taste, and Culinary Activism in the Early Republic this event is free 25 October 2017.Wednesday, 12:00PM - 1:00PM Nancy Siegel, Towson University

                      Culinary activists furthered republican values in the revolutionary era as part of a political and cultural ideology. They developed a culinary vocabulary expressed in words and actions such as the refusal to consume politically charged comestibles, like imported tea, and the celebration of a national horticulture. Through these choices, they established a culinary discourse involving food, political culture, and national identity from the Stamp Act to the early republic.

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                      Walking Tour, Public Program Weird and Worrisome Tour 25 October 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Meet at Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Hosted by the MHS, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Jamaica Plain Historical Society Sold OUT

                      THIS TOUR IS SOLD OUT!

                      All neighborhoods have secrets but some are stranger than others. Just in time for Halloween, we will explore Jamaica Plain in Boston. Participants will stop at sites of anarchist robberies, stuffed elephants, and a nervine asylum and hear tales of trainwrecks and things that lurk beneath the surface of Jamaica Pond. The tour is hosted in collaboration with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

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                      MHS Tour The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 28 October 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM

                      The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

                      While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Yankees in the West.

                      close
                      Public Program, Author Talk Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson 30 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Gordon S. Wood, Brown University SOLD OUT -If you would like to be added to the wait-list, please email programs@masshist.org

                      THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. 

                       

                      Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England’s middle classes, was a skeptic. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, but ultimately, their differences would lead to a crisis, in their friendship and the nation. But late in life these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a trickle of correspondence became a flood, and a friendship was rekindled.

                       

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                      • MHS Tours
                      • Seminars
                      • Public Programs
                      • Brown Bags
                      • Special Events