The MHS offers many engaging programs and special events.

August

Public Program The History and Collections of the MHS 26 August 2017.Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:30AM The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led ...

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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

More
September
Public Program The Selected Letters of John Kenneth Galbraith 13 September 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard P.F. Holt $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) In his long, cosmopolitan life, Galbraith wrote thousands of letters. Richard P. F. Holt has ...

In his long, cosmopolitan life, Galbraith wrote thousands of letters. Richard P. F. Holt has selected the most important of these and made them available in print for the first time. The letters provide an intimate account of the three main political goals to which Galbraith devoted his professional life: ending war, fighting poverty, and improving quality of life by achieving a balance between private and public goods in an affluent capitalist society.

More
Public Program Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States & the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy 14 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Hidetaka Hirota, City College of New York This groundbreaking work reinterprets the origins of immigration restriction in the U.S. Faced with ...

This groundbreaking work reinterprets the origins of immigration restriction in the U.S. Faced with the influx of Irish immigrants over the first half of the 19th century, nativists in Massachusetts and New York developed policies for prohibiting the landing of destitute foreigners and deporting those already resident. These state-level policies laid the foundations for federal immigration law. Expelling the Poor fundamentally revises the history of American immigration policy by locating the roots of immigration control in cultural and economic nativism against the Irish on the 19th-century Atlantic seaboard.

More
Public Program John McCormack and David K. Niles: How Two Reinvented Bostonians Altered American Politics and Foreign Policy 20 September 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Garrison Nelson, University of Vermont; Michael Dukakis, Northeastern University; and Peter Drummey, MHS $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) John McCormack and David Niles came from large and poor families within religious minority ...

John McCormack and David Niles came from large and poor families within religious minority communities. With no formal education, they reinvented themselves and moved into political circles eventually rising to be the Speaker of the House and high level White House advisor. While less well known than some of Boston’s more recent political stars, both became central to the shaping of modern American political parties and politics.

 

The program is co-sponsored by the Northeastern University Political Science Department

More
JQA250 Special Event, Public Program An Extraordinary Life: An Evening with John Quincy Adams 21 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members) President John Quincy Adams, the eldest son of founders Abigail and John, remains America’s ...

President John Quincy Adams, the eldest son of founders Abigail and John, remains America’s most fascinating statesman. He began his life’s work of public service as a teenager in Catherine the Great’s court and continued until he collapsed at his desk in the U.S. Capitol more than six decades later. He served as a diplomat, secretary of state, president, and U.S. congressman. John Quincy Adams had one of the most extraordinary lives in American history, and he wrote it all down. Join us to explore his remarkable story and to celebrate the milestones in his life. 

There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members). 

More
Public Program Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas 27 September 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Donna Lucey, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)   This biography, based on original letters and diaries, illuminates four extraordinary women ...

 

This biography, based on original letters and diaries, illuminates four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny intuition, Sargent hinted at the mysteries and passions that unfolded in his subjects’ lives. Like characters in an Edith Wharton novel, these women challenged society’s restrictions, risking public shame and ostracism. These compelling stories of female courage connect our past with our present and remind us that while women live differently now, they still face obstacles to attaining full equality.

More
Special Event Graduate Student Reception 28 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM Calling all graduate students and faculty in history, American Studies, or any related field! ...

Calling all graduate students and faculty in history, American Studies, or any related field! Please join us for our eighth annual Graduate Student Reception.

Starting at six pm, you can enjoy free drinks and hors d’oeuvres as you meet students and professors from other universities working in your fields. At 6:30 or a little later, set down your glass and take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the Society's collections as well as the resources available to support your scholarship, from research fellowships to our five different seminar series.

Faculty, bring your graduate students! Graduate students, bring your cohort! This reception is free, but we ask that you RSVP by September 27, by emailing seminars@masshist.org or calling (617) 646-0579.

More
October
Yankees in the West 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 MHS Fellows and Members are invited to join us on 5 October as we celebrate the arrival of  ...

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. Following remarks by Sara Martin, enjoy a reception, meet our new president, and preview the exhibition.


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.

More
Public Program 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   George Ticknor, William H. Prescott, and other New Englanders wrote about Spain and the ...

 

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

More
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, ...

 

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.

More
Public Program 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 ...

 

 

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.

More
More events
Public Program The History and Collections of the MHS this event is free 26 August 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: The Irish Atlantic: A Story of Famine Migration and Opportunity.

close
Public Program The Selected Letters of John Kenneth Galbraith registration required 13 September 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard P.F. Holt $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

In his long, cosmopolitan life, Galbraith wrote thousands of letters. Richard P. F. Holt has selected the most important of these and made them available in print for the first time. The letters provide an intimate account of the three main political goals to which Galbraith devoted his professional life: ending war, fighting poverty, and improving quality of life by achieving a balance between private and public goods in an affluent capitalist society.

close
Public Program Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States & the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy registration required at no cost 14 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Hidetaka Hirota, City College of New York

This groundbreaking work reinterprets the origins of immigration restriction in the U.S. Faced with the influx of Irish immigrants over the first half of the 19th century, nativists in Massachusetts and New York developed policies for prohibiting the landing of destitute foreigners and deporting those already resident. These state-level policies laid the foundations for federal immigration law. Expelling the Poor fundamentally revises the history of American immigration policy by locating the roots of immigration control in cultural and economic nativism against the Irish on the 19th-century Atlantic seaboard.

close
Public Program John McCormack and David K. Niles: How Two Reinvented Bostonians Altered American Politics and Foreign Policy registration required 20 September 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Garrison Nelson, University of Vermont; Michael Dukakis, Northeastern University; and Peter Drummey, MHS $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

John McCormack and David Niles came from large and poor families within religious minority communities. With no formal education, they reinvented themselves and moved into political circles eventually rising to be the Speaker of the House and high level White House advisor. While less well known than some of Boston’s more recent political stars, both became central to the shaping of modern American political parties and politics.

 

The program is co-sponsored by the Northeastern University Political Science Department

close
Special Event, Public Program An Extraordinary Life: An Evening with John Quincy Adams registration required 21 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members) JQA250

President John Quincy Adams, the eldest son of founders Abigail and John, remains America’s most fascinating statesman. He began his life’s work of public service as a teenager in Catherine the Great’s court and continued until he collapsed at his desk in the U.S. Capitol more than six decades later. He served as a diplomat, secretary of state, president, and U.S. congressman. John Quincy Adams had one of the most extraordinary lives in American history, and he wrote it all down. Join us to explore his remarkable story and to celebrate the milestones in his life. 

There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members). 

close
Public Program Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas registration required 27 September 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Donna Lucey, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

 

This biography, based on original letters and diaries, illuminates four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny intuition, Sargent hinted at the mysteries and passions that unfolded in his subjects’ lives. Like characters in an Edith Wharton novel, these women challenged society’s restrictions, risking public shame and ostracism. These compelling stories of female courage connect our past with our present and remind us that while women live differently now, they still face obstacles to attaining full equality.

close
Special Event Graduate Student Reception this event is free 28 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Calling all graduate students and faculty in history, American Studies, or any related field! Please join us for our eighth annual Graduate Student Reception.

Starting at six pm, you can enjoy free drinks and hors d’oeuvres as you meet students and professors from other universities working in your fields. At 6:30 or a little later, set down your glass and take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the Society's collections as well as the resources available to support your scholarship, from research fellowships to our five different seminar series.

Faculty, bring your graduate students! Graduate students, bring your cohort! This reception is free, but we ask that you RSVP by September 27, by emailing seminars@masshist.org or calling (617) 646-0579.

close
Member Event, Special Event Yankees in the West: Fellows & Members Preview & Reception registration required at no cost 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

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. Following remarks by Sara Martin, enjoy a reception, meet our new president, and preview the exhibition.


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.

close
Public Program How Boston Became the 'West': George Ticknor and the Arrival of Spanish Culture to the United States registration required at no cost 6 October 2017.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Ricardo Miguel Alfonso, University of Castilla-La Mancha

 

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

close
Public Program MHS Open House this event is free 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.

close
Public Program Steam Titans: Cunard, Collins and the Epic Battle for Commerce on the North Atlantic registration required 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.

close

    Key to event colors:
  • MHS Tours
  • Seminars
  • Public Programs
  • Brown Bags
  • Special Events