Public Programs and Special Events

Extended
to May 26

Exhibition

The Private Jefferson

Explore Jefferson’s complexity through select correspondence and writings including the Declaration of Independence, records of farming at Monticello, and his architectural drawings.

Details

The MHS offers many engaging programs and special events.

May

Public Program A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts - SOLD OUT 24 May 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Joseph Bagley, Boston Archaeologist & Author istory is right under our feet; we just need to dig a little to find it. Boston’s Big Dig has ...

istory is right under our feet; we just need to dig a little to find it. Boston’s Big Dig has contributed more to our understanding and appreciation of the city’s archaeological history than any other recent event. Joseph M. Bagley, city archaeologist of Boston, uncovers a fascinating hodgepodge of history—from ancient fishing grounds to Jazz Age red-light districts—that will surprise and delight even longtime residents.

THIS PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT

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June
Public Program The Road To Concord and Stamp Act Stamp Unveiling 2 June 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Program will be proceeded by a reception at 5:30 J. L. Bell In September 1774 Boston became the center of an “arms race” between Massachusetts&rsquo ...

In September 1774 Boston became the center of an “arms race” between Massachusetts’s royal government and emboldened Patriots, each side trying to secure as much artillery as they could for the coming conflict. Townsmen even stole four small cannon out of militia armories under redcoat guard. As Patriots smuggled their new ordnance into the countryside, Gen. Thomas Gage used scouts and informants to track down those weapons, finally locating them on James Barrett’s farm in Concord in April 1775. This book reveals a new dimension to the start of America’s War for Independence. MHS Fellow J. L. Bell, proprietor of Boston1775.net, will share highlights from The Road to Concord and describe how the society’s collections provided vital clues to this untold history.

As a special treat, the U.S. Postal Service will join us for the Massachusetts unveiling of a new stamp commemorating the 250th anniversary of the end of the Stamp Act crisis, the first act of the American Revolution.

More
Public Program The Lively Place: Mount Auburn, America's First Garden Cemetery, and Its Revolutionary and Literary Residents 6 June 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Stephen Kendrick, Author When the Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded, in 1831, it revolutionized the way Americans mourned the ...

When the Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded, in 1831, it revolutionized the way Americans mourned the dead by offering a peaceful space for contemplation. This cemetery, located not far from Harvard University, was also a place that reflected and instilled an imperative to preserve and protect nature in a rapidly industrializing culture—lessons that would influence the creation of Central Park, the cemetery at Gettysburg, and the National Parks system. Even today this urban wildlife habitat continues to connect visitors with nature and serves as a model for sustainable landscape practices. Stephen Kendrick celebrates this vital piece of our nation’s history, as he tells the story of Mount Auburn’s founding, its legacy, and the many influential Americans interred there, from religious leaders to abolitionists, poets, and reformers.

More
Public Program The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton 11 June 2016.Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 4:30pm. William E. Leuchtenburg, Author The American President is an account of American presidential actions from the assassination of ...

The American President is an account of American presidential actions from the assassination of William McKinley in 1901 to Bill Clinton's last night in office. William Leuchtenburg, one of the great presidential historians of the century, portrays each of the presidents in a chronicle sparkling with anecdote and wit. He offers a nuanced assessment of their conduct in office, preoccupations, and temperament. This book charts the enormous growth of presidential power from its lowly state in the late nineteenth century to the imperial presidency of the twentieth. That striking change was manifested both at home in periods of progressive reform and abroad, notably in two world wars, Vietnam, and the war on terror.

More
Public Program On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century 15 June 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Daniel Coquillette and Bruce Kimball, Harvard Law School Harvard Law School is the oldest and, arguably, the most influential law school in the nation. ...

Harvard Law School is the oldest and, arguably, the most influential law school in the nation. During its first century, Harvard Law School pioneered revolutionary educational ideas, including professional legal education within a university, Socratic questioning and case analysis, and the admission and training of students based on academic merit. But the school struggled to navigate its way through the many political, social, economic, and legal crises of the century, and it earned both scars and plaudits as a result. On the Battlefield of Merit offers a candid, critical, definitive account of a unique legal institution during its first century of influence. Daniel R. Coquillette and Bruce A. Kimball examine the school’s deep involvement in the Civil War, its reluctance to admit minorities and women, its anti-Catholicism, and its financial missteps at the turn of the twentieth century. Currently working on the second volume that will bring the story to the present, the authors will also relate this history to recent challenges faced by the school including questions of the relation of its seal to a fortune made on the backs of slaves.

More
Public Program The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America 20 June 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ethan Michaeli, Author Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great ...

Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of black America. Robert S. Abbott founded The Defender in 1905, smuggled hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, and was dubbed a "Modern Moses," becoming one of the first black millionaires in the process. His successor wielded the newspaper’s clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost without The Defender’s support. Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of race in America and brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen’s clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama.

More
Special Event MHS Fellows Annual Meeting & Reception 22 June 2016.Wednesday, 5:00PM - 7:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows. MHS Fellows are invited to the Society's annual business meeting. Following the meeting, enjoy a ...

MHS Fellows are invited to the Society's annual business meeting. Following the meeting, enjoy a reception and view the Society's upcoming exhibition Turning Points in American History. RSVP required.

More
Public Program A New Perspective on the 19th Century Rivalry between New York and Boston 29 June 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Michael Wheeler, Ph.D Changing technology has introduced tools that can change the way we see and understand history. Dr. ...

Changing technology has introduced tools that can change the way we see and understand history. Dr. Wheeler has degrees in history, computer science, international relations, and earned a PhD by using Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) to develop three-dimensional, animated maps for studying historical events. During the 19th Century urban rivalry between New York and Boston, small topographic features had large transportation effects that created winners and losers. The bigger surprises come from understanding the timing and motivations for canal and railroad construction – through the act of correctly positioning internal improvements in space and time, we uncover new insights into 19th Century urban rivals, transportation profits, and international trade.

More
July
Public Program Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums 6 July 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Samuel Redman, UMASS Amherst In 1864 a U.S. army doctor dug up the remains of a Dakota man who had been killed in Minnesota. ...

In 1864 a U.S. army doctor dug up the remains of a Dakota man who had been killed in Minnesota. Carefully recording his observations, he sent the skeleton to a museum in Washington, DC, that was collecting human remains for research. In the “bone rooms” of this museum and others like it, a scientific revolution was unfolding that would change our understanding of the human body, race, and prehistory. Samuel Redman unearths the story of how human remains became highly sought-after artifacts for both scientific research and public display. Seeking evidence to support new theories of human evolution and racial classification, collectors embarked on a global competition to recover the best specimens of skeletons, mummies, and fossils. The Smithsonian Institution built the largest collection of human remains in the United States, edging out stiff competition from natural history and medical museums springing up in cities and on university campuses across America. Today, debates about the ethics of these collections continue, but the terms of engagement were largely set by the surge of collecting that was already waning by World War II.

More
Public Program Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon 13 July 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Larry Tye, Author                 History remembers Robert F. Kennedy ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy’s enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s. In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure. To capture the full arc of his subject’s life, Tye draws on unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and fifty-eight boxes of Bobby's papers that had been under lock and key for the past forty years. He conducted hundreds of interviews with RFK intimates--including Bobby’s widow, Ethel, his sister Jean, and his aide John Siegenthaler—many of whom have never spoken to another biographer. Tye’s determination to sift through the tangle of often contradictory evidence means that Bobby Kennedy will stand as the definitive one-volume biography of a man much beloved, but just as often misunderstood.

More
Public Program Boston Historical 21 July 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Boston does not have a city historical society, but it has a wealth of neighborhood organizations. ...

Boston does not have a city historical society, but it has a wealth of neighborhood organizations. From the West End to the South Boston, Bostonians are steeped in local history and proud of their neighborhood’s identity. The Massachusetts Historical Society is pleased to invite the public and representatives of local organizations for a chance to mingle and share recent accomplishments or the great projects they are working on.

More
More events
Public Program A History of Boston in 50 Artifacts - SOLD OUT registration closed 24 May 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Joseph Bagley, Boston Archaeologist & Author

istory is right under our feet; we just need to dig a little to find it. Boston’s Big Dig has contributed more to our understanding and appreciation of the city’s archaeological history than any other recent event. Joseph M. Bagley, city archaeologist of Boston, uncovers a fascinating hodgepodge of history—from ancient fishing grounds to Jazz Age red-light districts—that will surprise and delight even longtime residents.

THIS PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT

close
Public Program The Road To Concord and Stamp Act Stamp Unveiling registration required at no cost 2 June 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Program will be proceeded by a reception at 5:30 J. L. Bell

In September 1774 Boston became the center of an “arms race” between Massachusetts’s royal government and emboldened Patriots, each side trying to secure as much artillery as they could for the coming conflict. Townsmen even stole four small cannon out of militia armories under redcoat guard. As Patriots smuggled their new ordnance into the countryside, Gen. Thomas Gage used scouts and informants to track down those weapons, finally locating them on James Barrett’s farm in Concord in April 1775. This book reveals a new dimension to the start of America’s War for Independence. MHS Fellow J. L. Bell, proprietor of Boston1775.net, will share highlights from The Road to Concord and describe how the society’s collections provided vital clues to this untold history.

As a special treat, the U.S. Postal Service will join us for the Massachusetts unveiling of a new stamp commemorating the 250th anniversary of the end of the Stamp Act crisis, the first act of the American Revolution.

close
Public Program The Lively Place: Mount Auburn, America's First Garden Cemetery, and Its Revolutionary and Literary Residents registration required 6 June 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Stephen Kendrick, Author

When the Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded, in 1831, it revolutionized the way Americans mourned the dead by offering a peaceful space for contemplation. This cemetery, located not far from Harvard University, was also a place that reflected and instilled an imperative to preserve and protect nature in a rapidly industrializing culture—lessons that would influence the creation of Central Park, the cemetery at Gettysburg, and the National Parks system. Even today this urban wildlife habitat continues to connect visitors with nature and serves as a model for sustainable landscape practices. Stephen Kendrick celebrates this vital piece of our nation’s history, as he tells the story of Mount Auburn’s founding, its legacy, and the many influential Americans interred there, from religious leaders to abolitionists, poets, and reformers.

close
Public Program The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton registration required 11 June 2016.Saturday, 5:00PM - 6:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 4:30pm. William E. Leuchtenburg, Author

The American President is an account of American presidential actions from the assassination of William McKinley in 1901 to Bill Clinton's last night in office. William Leuchtenburg, one of the great presidential historians of the century, portrays each of the presidents in a chronicle sparkling with anecdote and wit. He offers a nuanced assessment of their conduct in office, preoccupations, and temperament. This book charts the enormous growth of presidential power from its lowly state in the late nineteenth century to the imperial presidency of the twentieth. That striking change was manifested both at home in periods of progressive reform and abroad, notably in two world wars, Vietnam, and the war on terror.

close
Public Program On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century registration required 15 June 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Daniel Coquillette and Bruce Kimball, Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School is the oldest and, arguably, the most influential law school in the nation. During its first century, Harvard Law School pioneered revolutionary educational ideas, including professional legal education within a university, Socratic questioning and case analysis, and the admission and training of students based on academic merit. But the school struggled to navigate its way through the many political, social, economic, and legal crises of the century, and it earned both scars and plaudits as a result. On the Battlefield of Merit offers a candid, critical, definitive account of a unique legal institution during its first century of influence. Daniel R. Coquillette and Bruce A. Kimball examine the school’s deep involvement in the Civil War, its reluctance to admit minorities and women, its anti-Catholicism, and its financial missteps at the turn of the twentieth century. Currently working on the second volume that will bring the story to the present, the authors will also relate this history to recent challenges faced by the school including questions of the relation of its seal to a fortune made on the backs of slaves.

close
Public Program The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America registration required 20 June 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ethan Michaeli, Author

Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of black America. Robert S. Abbott founded The Defender in 1905, smuggled hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, and was dubbed a "Modern Moses," becoming one of the first black millionaires in the process. His successor wielded the newspaper’s clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost without The Defender’s support. Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of race in America and brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen’s clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama.

close
Special Event MHS Fellows Annual Meeting & Reception registration required at no cost 22 June 2016.Wednesday, 5:00PM - 7:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows.

MHS Fellows are invited to the Society's annual business meeting. Following the meeting, enjoy a reception and view the Society's upcoming exhibition Turning Points in American History. RSVP required.

close
Public Program A New Perspective on the 19th Century Rivalry between New York and Boston registration required 29 June 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Michael Wheeler, Ph.D

Changing technology has introduced tools that can change the way we see and understand history. Dr. Wheeler has degrees in history, computer science, international relations, and earned a PhD by using Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) to develop three-dimensional, animated maps for studying historical events. During the 19th Century urban rivalry between New York and Boston, small topographic features had large transportation effects that created winners and losers. The bigger surprises come from understanding the timing and motivations for canal and railroad construction – through the act of correctly positioning internal improvements in space and time, we uncover new insights into 19th Century urban rivals, transportation profits, and international trade.

close
Public Program Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums registration required 6 July 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Samuel Redman, UMASS Amherst

In 1864 a U.S. army doctor dug up the remains of a Dakota man who had been killed in Minnesota. Carefully recording his observations, he sent the skeleton to a museum in Washington, DC, that was collecting human remains for research. In the “bone rooms” of this museum and others like it, a scientific revolution was unfolding that would change our understanding of the human body, race, and prehistory. Samuel Redman unearths the story of how human remains became highly sought-after artifacts for both scientific research and public display. Seeking evidence to support new theories of human evolution and racial classification, collectors embarked on a global competition to recover the best specimens of skeletons, mummies, and fossils. The Smithsonian Institution built the largest collection of human remains in the United States, edging out stiff competition from natural history and medical museums springing up in cities and on university campuses across America. Today, debates about the ethics of these collections continue, but the terms of engagement were largely set by the surge of collecting that was already waning by World War II.

close
Public Program Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon registration required 13 July 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Larry Tye, Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy’s enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s. In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure. To capture the full arc of his subject’s life, Tye draws on unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and fifty-eight boxes of Bobby's papers that had been under lock and key for the past forty years. He conducted hundreds of interviews with RFK intimates--including Bobby’s widow, Ethel, his sister Jean, and his aide John Siegenthaler—many of whom have never spoken to another biographer. Tye’s determination to sift through the tangle of often contradictory evidence means that Bobby Kennedy will stand as the definitive one-volume biography of a man much beloved, but just as often misunderstood.

close
Public Program Boston Historical this event is free 21 July 2016.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

Boston does not have a city historical society, but it has a wealth of neighborhood organizations. From the West End to the South Boston, Bostonians are steeped in local history and proud of their neighborhood’s identity. The Massachusetts Historical Society is pleased to invite the public and representatives of local organizations for a chance to mingle and share recent accomplishments or the great projects they are working on.

close