Mission, Vision, and Values

Mission

To promote understanding of the history of Massachusetts and the nation by collecting and communicating materials and resources that foster historical knowledge.

Vision

A world where historical understanding is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy.

To realize this vision, we strive to make our collections accessible to all. We aim to make a difference in our community, and we connect with people in imaginative and intellectual ways. As a center for learning and engagement, we enhance the understanding of our nation’s past and its connection to the present. We provide a forum for discussion and debate. We will become a destination in the Boston area to serve multiple communities from the local to the international.

Values

We believe that historical understanding is critical to creating a better world. We welcome everyone to draw upon our collections to encourage a richer understanding of our past. We use our resources to educate, connect, and inspire in order to build historical empathy, foster civic responsibility, and generate an awareness of and respect for our shared humanity.

Our work will be guided and informed by our beliefs and commitments to:

Providing Access

  • We make our collections accessible to all
  • We encourage everyone to examine primary source materials, make their own observations and interpretations, and share their ideas among many audiences
  • We connect with people in imaginative and intellectual ways
  • We support the value of historical knowledge and evidence for civic discourse and discussion

Embracing Diversity

  • We encourage healthy debate and respect differences of opinion
  • We serve multiple and diverse communities from the local to the international
  • We endeavor to document all aspects of history with a connection to Massachusetts

Demonstrating Quality

  • We collect strategically and act as responsible stewards
  • We pursue excellence across all aspects of our work
  • We lead through best practices, innovation, and example

 

Upcoming Events

Online Event

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

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

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

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

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

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

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

Online Event

Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism

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

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

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

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

Founder to Founder

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

Read more from our blog

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