The MHS offers many engaging programs and special events.

September

Back to today
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

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JQA250 Special Event, Public Program An Extraordinary Life: An Evening with John Quincy Adams 21 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM SOLD OUT! There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members) This event is sold out. President John Quincy Adams, the eldest son of founders ...

This event is sold out.

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.

On 21 September, join us for a fun and festive evening celebrating John Quincy Adams. Enjoy a reception, learn about moments from Adams's life—as told through his diary and correspondence—from incoming MHS President Catherine Allgor and the staff of the Adams Papers editorial project, and explore a pop-up exhibit of the artifacts and documents that tell his story and that of our nation’s history.

Program:

6:00 PM
Reception begins

6:20 PM
The Politics of John Quincy & Louisa Catherine Adams's Drawing Room
Incoming MHS President Catherine Allgor

7:00 PM
JQA Diary Digital Project
Neal Millikan, The Adams Papers

7:25 PM
JQA in His Own Words
Sara Georgini, Amanda Norton, Hobson Woodward, The Adams Papers

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

To find out more about #JQA250 and how you can help, visit www.gofundme.com/JQA250.

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
Public Program Begin at the Beginning - Violence, Disease, and Public Medicine during the Pequot and King Philip’s War 30 September 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Kevin McBride, Pequot Museum Co-sponsored with the Partnership of Historic Bostons This interactive talk by Kevin McBride, director of research at the Pequot Museum, and Ashley ...

This interactive talk by Kevin McBride, director of research at the Pequot Museum, and Ashley Bissonnette, Pequot Museum senior researcher, reveals how New England’s landscape were far more heavily contested than previously thought. Through an examination of musket balls, arrows, and gun parts, they will present recent archaeological findings to explore the reality of the Pequot and Philip’s Wars: epidemics, the destruction of food and shelter, and battlefield slaughter. They will also discuss the beginning of public health in the colonies.

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

 - 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.

More
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. ...

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

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
Public Program Looking West from the East 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 ...

 

 

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.

More
Public Program The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography & the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost 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 ...

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.

More
Public Program Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life 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 ...

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.

More
Public Program Weird and Worrisome Tour 25 October 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM At Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Hosted by the MHS, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Jamaica Plain Historical Society Sold OUT The tour will go on despite the bad weather! However, we will have it inside the Loring-Greenough ...

The tour will go on despite the bad weather! However, we will have it inside the Loring-Greenough House (12 South Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130) rather than walking through the rain. 

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.

More
Public Program 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 ...

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.

 

More
November
Public Program The Devil and the Crown 4 November 2017.Saturday, 11:00AM - 5:30PM For more information about this event please contact Jim Hollister at 978-318-7829 or jim_hollister@nps.gov Two hundred fifty years ago, the winds of change began to blow.  The French and Indian War was ...

Two hundred fifty years ago, the winds of change began to blow.  The French and Indian War was over and now the Crown looked for sources to help pay the bill.  The Stamp Act, a new tax directly applied to the colonies on legal documents, newspapers and more, would meet stiff resistance in the colonies, causing protest and eventual repeal.  Two years later, an alternative series of acts were created in the form of the Townshend Duties.  Like the Stamp Act before, urban communities in places like Boston would quickly coalesce and voice their opposition and protest Royal authority.  

Protest often took different forms. Those with property, the “better sorts,” would meet , discuss and draft petitions and organize boycotts.  Meanwhile, those of the laboring class, the “lower sorts,” who did not own enough property to vote, would voice their disapproval in the street and sometimes engage in mob violence. Each group had their own particular grievances with the Crown and ways to protest.

 
On Saturday, November 4, experience revolutionary politics “indoors” and “out-of-doors” as it would have happened 250 years ago. Participate in a live reenactment at Faneuil Hall of a Boston town meeting which took place in October 1767. Join in the discussion as local citizens argue over whether or not to stop importing British goods. Following the town meeting, join a rowdy procession of laboring-class Bostonians of 1767 from Faneuil Hall to the Old State House, as they express their disapproval of British trade policies in a rather colorful and intimidating way.

 

Schedule of events: 11:00 am to 5:30 pm: Saturday, November 4, 2017.  Free to all.

 11:00 am-2:00 pm. “Goods for Your Master, Taxes for Your King”

Come try your luck as a young apprentice in this colonial marketplace game.  Whether you buy, barter, or smuggle, the goal's the same: bring all your goods back to your employer and get promoted! This drop in program is best for ages 6-10, Faneuil Hall, Education Space, basement.

 1:00 - 4:30 pm: “Talk of the Town” - meet reenactors portraying Bostonians of different social classes in Samuel Adams Park, directly in front of Faneuil Hall, and learn about why they are protesting the new laws.

 2:30 and 4:00 pm:Revolutionary Town Meeting: 1767 Townshend Acts” Stand up! Speak Out! Join a lively meeting to debate Boston’s response to the hated Townshend Acts. Character cards are available. Free, 30 minutes, Faneuil Hall, Great Hall, second floor.

 5:00 pm: Procession from Faneuil Hall to Old State House, State Street, Boston, MA.

 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Dive into Boston’s Revolutionary past and explore the galleries inside the Old State House. Admission is free to all.

 The Devil and the Crow program is being offered as a joint program of Boston National Historical Park, Minute Man National Historical Park, The Bostonian Society, and Revolution 250, a program of MHS.  

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Public Program The Weeping Angel: Letter and Poems from World War I France 8 November 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Kelley, editor, and Christopher Capozzola, MIT $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high ...

Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high school graduate Hubert Kelley answered the call. Working as a soldier on the railroads in France during World War I, he found his vocation as a poet and writer through vivid letters to family. Kelley will describe her efforts to retrace the forgotten history of a perceptive observer of the war’s destruction, and Capozzola will comment on the letters’ contribution to new historical understandings that have emerged during the war’s centennial.

 

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Public Program Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty 16 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. John Boles, Rice University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, ...

Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, contradictory, and quintessentially American of them all. This biography does not ignore aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today but strives to see him in full and understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. From his inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his heterodox abridgment of Christian belief, this book explores Jefferson’s expansive intellectual life and the profound impact of his ideas on the world.

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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 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 21 September 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM SOLD OUT! There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members) JQA250

This event is sold out.

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.

On 21 September, join us for a fun and festive evening celebrating John Quincy Adams. Enjoy a reception, learn about moments from Adams's life—as told through his diary and correspondence—from incoming MHS President Catherine Allgor and the staff of the Adams Papers editorial project, and explore a pop-up exhibit of the artifacts and documents that tell his story and that of our nation’s history.

Program:

6:00 PM
Reception begins

6:20 PM
The Politics of John Quincy & Louisa Catherine Adams's Drawing Room
Incoming MHS President Catherine Allgor

7:00 PM
JQA Diary Digital Project
Neal Millikan, The Adams Papers

7:25 PM
JQA in His Own Words
Sara Georgini, Amanda Norton, Hobson Woodward, The Adams Papers

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

To find out more about #JQA250 and how you can help, visit www.gofundme.com/JQA250.

close
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 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 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
Public Program Begin at the Beginning - Violence, Disease, and Public Medicine during the Pequot and King Philip’s War 30 September 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Kevin McBride, Pequot Museum Co-sponsored with the Partnership of Historic Bostons

This interactive talk by Kevin McBride, director of research at the Pequot Museum, and Ashley Bissonnette, Pequot Museum senior researcher, reveals how New England’s landscape were far more heavily contested than previously thought. Through an examination of musket balls, arrows, and gun parts, they will present recent archaeological findings to explore the reality of the Pequot and Philip’s Wars: epidemics, the destruction of food and shelter, and battlefield slaughter. They will also discuss the beginning of public health in the colonies.

close
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.

close
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

close
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.

close
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 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
Public Program Looking West from the East 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.

close
Public Program The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography & the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost 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.

close
Public Program Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life 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.

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

The tour will go on despite the bad weather! However, we will have it inside the Loring-Greenough House (12 South Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130) rather than walking through the rain. 

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.

close
Public Program 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.

 

close
Public Program The Devil and the Crown 4 November 2017.Saturday, 11:00AM - 5:30PM For more information about this event please contact Jim Hollister at 978-318-7829 or jim_hollister@nps.gov

Two hundred fifty years ago, the winds of change began to blow.  The French and Indian War was over and now the Crown looked for sources to help pay the bill.  The Stamp Act, a new tax directly applied to the colonies on legal documents, newspapers and more, would meet stiff resistance in the colonies, causing protest and eventual repeal.  Two years later, an alternative series of acts were created in the form of the Townshend Duties.  Like the Stamp Act before, urban communities in places like Boston would quickly coalesce and voice their opposition and protest Royal authority.  

Protest often took different forms. Those with property, the “better sorts,” would meet , discuss and draft petitions and organize boycotts.  Meanwhile, those of the laboring class, the “lower sorts,” who did not own enough property to vote, would voice their disapproval in the street and sometimes engage in mob violence. Each group had their own particular grievances with the Crown and ways to protest.

 
On Saturday, November 4, experience revolutionary politics “indoors” and “out-of-doors” as it would have happened 250 years ago. Participate in a live reenactment at Faneuil Hall of a Boston town meeting which took place in October 1767. Join in the discussion as local citizens argue over whether or not to stop importing British goods. Following the town meeting, join a rowdy procession of laboring-class Bostonians of 1767 from Faneuil Hall to the Old State House, as they express their disapproval of British trade policies in a rather colorful and intimidating way.

 

Schedule of events: 11:00 am to 5:30 pm: Saturday, November 4, 2017.  Free to all.

 11:00 am-2:00 pm. “Goods for Your Master, Taxes for Your King”

Come try your luck as a young apprentice in this colonial marketplace game.  Whether you buy, barter, or smuggle, the goal's the same: bring all your goods back to your employer and get promoted! This drop in program is best for ages 6-10, Faneuil Hall, Education Space, basement.

 1:00 - 4:30 pm: “Talk of the Town” - meet reenactors portraying Bostonians of different social classes in Samuel Adams Park, directly in front of Faneuil Hall, and learn about why they are protesting the new laws.

 2:30 and 4:00 pm:Revolutionary Town Meeting: 1767 Townshend Acts” Stand up! Speak Out! Join a lively meeting to debate Boston’s response to the hated Townshend Acts. Character cards are available. Free, 30 minutes, Faneuil Hall, Great Hall, second floor.

 5:00 pm: Procession from Faneuil Hall to Old State House, State Street, Boston, MA.

 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Dive into Boston’s Revolutionary past and explore the galleries inside the Old State House. Admission is free to all.

 The Devil and the Crow program is being offered as a joint program of Boston National Historical Park, Minute Man National Historical Park, The Bostonian Society, and Revolution 250, a program of MHS.  

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Public Program The Weeping Angel: Letter and Poems from World War I France 8 November 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Kelley, editor, and Christopher Capozzola, MIT $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high school graduate Hubert Kelley answered the call. Working as a soldier on the railroads in France during World War I, he found his vocation as a poet and writer through vivid letters to family. Kelley will describe her efforts to retrace the forgotten history of a perceptive observer of the war’s destruction, and Capozzola will comment on the letters’ contribution to new historical understandings that have emerged during the war’s centennial.

 

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Public Program Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty 16 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. John Boles, Rice University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, contradictory, and quintessentially American of them all. This biography does not ignore aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today but strives to see him in full and understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. From his inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his heterodox abridgment of Christian belief, this book explores Jefferson’s expansive intellectual life and the profound impact of his ideas on the world.

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