Exhibitions & Ongoing Events

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November 2013

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    • MHS TourMHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS
      MHS TourMHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS
      10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

      Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

      The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

      Free and open to the public.

      this event is free details
    3 4 5 6 7 8 9
        • Early American History SeminarThe Poison Plot
          Early American History SeminarThe Poison Plot
          5:15 PM - 7:30 PM Elaine Crane, Fordham University Comment: Irene Q. Brown, University of Connecticut

          The marital failings of early 18th-century Rhode Islanders Benedict Arnold and his wife, Mary, who in 1738 tried to poison her husband, offer new insights into a range of social fault lines that extended beyond their domestic circle: infidelity, illegitimacy, abuse of husbands, female dependency, criminal proceedings, and the role of the state as mediator.

          Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
          Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
          details
        • Library ClosedLibrary Closed
          Library ClosedLibrary Closed
          all day

          In preparation for our annual gala event, Cocktails with Clio, the MHS library will be closed on Thursday, 7 November.

          details
        • Cocktails with Clio
          Cocktails with Clio
          6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

          Cocktails with Clio 2013 Feast on sumptuous bits, sip cocktails, and discover history with political commentator, author, and MHS Overseer Cokie Roberts. 

          Tickets cost $250 per person. All net proceeds from the event will support the Society's outreach efforts.

          this event requires a feeregistration required details
          • Building ClosedVeterans Day
            Building ClosedVeterans Day
            all day

            The MHS will be closed Saturday, 9 November, and Monday, 11 November, in observance of Veterans Day

            details
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            • Building ClosedVeterans Day
              Building ClosedVeterans Day
              all day

              The MHS will be closed Saturday, 9 November, and Monday, 11 November, in observance of Veterans Day.

              details
            • Environmental History SeminarMaking Land in Earthquake Country: Urban Development and Disaster i...
              Environmental History SeminarMaking Land in Earthquake Country: Urban Development and Disaster in San Francisco
              5:15 PM - 7:30 PM Joanna Dyl, University of South Florida Comment: Conevery Bolton Valencius, University of Massachusetts—Boston

              In San Francisco, an emphasis on filling in “water lots” characterized the earliest years of urban development in the late 1840s and early 1850s. This paper argues that ignorance does not fully explain San Franciscans’ apparent tendency to downplay or ignore the danger posed by the combination of made land and earthquakes.

              Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
              Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
              details
                • Teacher Workshop, Public ProgramOld Towns/ New Country
                  begins Teacher Workshop, Public ProgramOld Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation
                  15 November 2013 to 16 November 2013 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM This program will take place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

                  What was it like to live in a town that had been around for a long time in a country that was new? Join us in western Massachusetts as we explore the region's history during the years after the American Revolution.

                  this event requires a feeregistration required details
                • Brown BagThe Urban Archival Regime in Trans-national Perspective: Roxbury, A...
                  Brown BagThe Urban Archival Regime in Trans-national Perspective: Roxbury, Africville, Hogan's Alley
                  12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Karen Bridget Murray, Kennesaw State University and York University this event is free details
                • Public Program, ExhibitionEarly Boston Furniture
                  Public Program, ExhibitionEarly Boston Furniture: Style, Construction, Materials, & Use
                  2:00 PM - 3:00 PM Exhibition Spotlight John and Marie Vander Sande

                  American furniture collectors John and Marie Vander Sande will discuss late 17th-century joined case pieces, early 18th-century cabinetwork, and pre-1730 chairs produced in Boston. The style, construction techniques, woods chosen, and motivation for the applied decoration, as well as the use of the pieces in the home, will be highlighted.

                  this event is free details
                • Teacher Workshop, Public ProgramOld Towns/ New Country
                  ends Teacher Workshop, Public ProgramOld Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation
                  8:30 AM - 3:30 PM This program will take place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

                  What was it like to live in a town that had been around for a long time in a country that was new? Join us in western Massachusetts as we explore the region's history during the years after the American Revolution.

                  this event requires a feeregistration required details
                • MHS TourMHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS
                  MHS TourMHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS
                  10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

                  Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

                  this event is free details
                17 18 19 20 21 22 23
                    • Public ProgramThe Sullivan Brothers
                      Public ProgramThe Sullivan Brothers
                      12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Murray Forbes

                      Governor James and General John Sullivan, two brothers who forged remarkable and versatile careers during the American Revolution and early republic, were honored in their own time and remained remembered and respected through the 19th century. How should we remember them today? Join Murray Forbes as he discusses his work on the fascinating lives of these two men.

                      this event is free details
                    • Brown BagOn a Bender with Uncle Sam: Freedom, Resources, and the Lure of Pro...
                      Brown BagOn a Bender with Uncle Sam: Freedom, Resources, and the Lure of Progress in the Early Republic
                      12:00 PM - 1:00 PM John Lauritz Larson, Purdue University this event is free details
                    • Public Program, ExhibitionBoston & Its Craft Community, 1650–1850
                      Public Program, ExhibitionBoston & Its Craft Community, 1650–1850
                      6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm J. Ritchie Garrison, Winterthur This program is part of the Massachusetts Furniture Series

                      J. Ritchie Garrison, the Director of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, will explore Boston’s craft community with a focus on three themes: production as part of a regional network, inequalities that drove artisans’ decisions, and the city’s furnituremakers’ adaptations to a number of factors.

                      Please RSVP   this event requires a feeregistration required details
                        • MHS TourMHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS
                          MHS TourMHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS
                          10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

                          Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

                          this event is free details
                        24 25 26 27 28 29 30
                          • Public Program, Author TalkJFK & His Enemies
                            Public Program, Author TalkJFK & His Enemies: A Profile in Power, 1946-1963
                            6:00 PM - 7:30 PM Pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm Thomas Whalen, Boston University

                            John F. KennedyAt nearly every stage of his political career, Kennedy collected his fair share of enemies. Thomas Whalen will discuss the complex and strained relationship Kennedy had with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and how their mutual hostility inadvertently led to his assassination on 22 November 1963.

                            Please RSVP   this event requires a feeregistration required details
                          • Immigration and Urban History Seminar"A Place Reeking with Rottenness": The "Corpus Christi Situation" (...
                            Immigration and Urban History Seminar"A Place Reeking with Rottenness": The "Corpus Christi Situation" (1933) and Legacies of Abusive Immigrant Detention
                            5:15 PM - 7:30 PM David Hernández, Mount Holyoke College Comment: Daniel Kanstroom, Boston College Law School

                            In July 1933, an internal investigation of the Immigration Service in Texas exposed allegations of violence, sexual abuse, extortion, and coerced testimonies taking place at the private immigrant detention facility run by Julia and Olivia Valente. The "Corpus Christi Situation," as it was also known, included collusion with Immigration Service officers as well as sexual impropriety and legal deception. The Valente Detention Home is a scandalous example of detainee abuse at the hands of immigration authorities and their surrogates. It is more importantly part of a legacy of detainee abuse--from denial of legal rights and poor conditions of incarceration to violence, sexual abuse, and death that is widespread in immigrant facilities today. The case of the Valente Detention Home thus provides the operating terms for understanding contemporary detention practices, in particular, the use of private and nonfederal facilities and management for detaining immigrants.

                            Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                            Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
                            details
                            • Building ClosedThanksgiving
                              Building ClosedThanksgiving
                              all day

                              The MHS will be closed Thursday, 28 November, through Saturday, 30 November, in observance of Thanksgiving. 

                              details
                            • Building ClosedThanksgiving
                              Building ClosedThanksgiving
                              all day

                              The MHS will be closed Thursday, 28 November, through Saturday, 30 November, in observance of Thanksgiving. 

                              details
                            • Building ClosedThanksgiving
                              Building ClosedThanksgiving
                              all day

                              The MHS will be closed Thursday, 28 November, through Saturday, 30 November, in observance of Thanksgiving. 

                              details
                            Exhibition

                            The Cabinetmaker & the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections

                            4 October 2013 to 17 January 2014 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
                            Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm

                            Desk and bookcaseThis exhibition provides visitors with a rare opportunity to see nearly 50 examples of significant furniture borrowed from distinguished private collections in the greater Boston area. Ranging in date from the late-17th-century to about 1900, these privately held treasures, generously lent by their owners, provide a look at the trajectory of cabinetmaking in the Hub. They are supplemented with documents, portraits, and other material from the Society's collections that help place the furniture into historical context.

                            The exhibition is part of Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture a collaborative project of the Massachusetts Historical Society and ten other institutions that features exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations and publications to celebrate the Bay State's legacy of furniture-making. Visit fourcenturies.org.

                            Image: Desk and bookcase, carving attributed to John Welch, Boston, Mass., ca. 1750–1755, private collection. Photo by Laura Wulf.

                            2 November 2013 this event is free MHS Tour

                            MHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS

                            10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

                            Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

                            5 November 2013 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                            Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
                            Early American History Seminar

                            The Poison Plot

                            5:15 PM - 7:30 PM
                            Elaine Crane, Fordham University Comment: Irene Q. Brown, University of Connecticut

                            Be sure to RSVP for this program by emailing seminars@masshist.org or phoning 617-646-0568.

                            Authors will not read their essays but will offer brief remarks; please read the paper ahead of time and come prepared to join in the discussion. If you are not a subscriber to the series (subscribers receive online advance access to the papers) you may pick up a copy at the MHS front desk on the day of the program. Please phone 617-646-0568 with any questions.

                            6 November 2013 this event is free Brown Bag

                            Pursuing Respectability in the Cannibal Isles: Americans in Nineteenth-Century Fiji

                            12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
                            Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut

                            This project resurrects the history of the China Trade and the early nineteenth-century Pacific as key sites of American economic and political intervention. It explores the formation of an American sense of self through a study of several individuals, including a “beachcomber,” a sea captain’s wife, and a U.S. Consul.

                            7 November 2013 Library Closed

                            Library Closed

                            all day

                            In preparation for our annual gala event, Cocktails with Clio, the MHS library will be closed on Thursday, 7 November.

                            7 November 2013 this event requires a feeregistration required

                            Cocktails with Clio

                            6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

                            Cocktails with Clio 2013The fourth annual Cocktails with Clio will take place on 7 November 2013. Named for the muse of history, this festive evening celebrates American history and the 222-year-old mission of the Society. Following an elegant cocktail buffet at the Society’s building, guests will proceed to the nearby Harvard Club for dessert and a conversation with political commentator, author, and MHS Overseer Cokie Roberts. As the evening progresses, Ms. Roberts will discuss her approach to writing bestselling books about history and historical figures, her work as a political commentator, and how she has used MHS collections in her research.

                            Tickets cost $250 per person. All net proceeds from the event will support the Society's outreach efforts.


                            Become a sponsor of Cocktails with Clio

                            Our sponsors are crucial to the success of the event. As a result of their generosity, the Society’s outreach efforts have expanded. The additional funding has an important impact on our programming, and this year we hope to surpass last year’s goal in order to further enhance our exhibitions, public programs, and education initiatives. 

                            We are proud to offer sponsorship opportunities at the following levels:
                            $5,000 - Clio’s Circle
                            $2,500 - Patrons of the Muse
                            $1,000 - Friends of the Muse   

                            For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Carol Knauff at cknauff@masshist.org or 617-646-0554. 

                            9 November 2013 Building Closed

                            Veterans Day

                            all day

                            The MHS will be closed Saturday, 9 November, and Monday, 11 November, in observance of Labor Day.

                            11 November 2013 Building Closed

                            Veterans Day

                            all day

                            The MHS will be closed Saturday, 9 November, and Monday, 11 November, in observance of Labor Day.

                            12 November 2013 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                            Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
                            Environmental History Seminar

                            Making Land in Earthquake Country: Urban Development and Disaster in San Francisco

                            5:15 PM - 7:30 PM
                            Joanna Dyl, University of South Florida Comment: Conevery Bolton Valencius, University of Massachusetts—Boston

                            Be sure to RSVP for this program by emailing seminars@masshist.org or phoning 617-646-0568.

                            Authors will not read their essays but will offer brief remarks; please read the paper ahead of time and come prepared to join in the discussion. If you are not a subscriber to the series (subscribers receive online advance access to the papers) you may pick up a copy at the MHS front desk on the day of the program. Please phone 617-646-0568 with any questions.

                            this event requires a feeregistration required Teacher Workshop, Public Program

                            Old Towns/New Country: The First Years of a New Nation

                            15 November 2013 to 16 November 2013 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
                            This program will take place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

                            This two-day workshop explores how to use local resources – documents, artifacts, landscapes and the rich expertise in every town – to examine historical issues with a national focus. We will concentrate on the period just after the Revolution and the concerns and conflicts, hopes and fears, experiences and expectations of the people living in western Massachusetts at a time of uncertainty, fragility, and possibility. We will investigate such questions as: What was it like to live in a town that had been around for a long time in a country that was new? When the nation was first forming after the Revolution, what were people in our town/region worried about? How much did the geography, economy, culture, and social makeup of our region influence those concerns? How can we find out? What resources/pieces of evidence does our community have that relate to this time period and the people living in it? How can we best present this evidence and allow people of all ages to discover answers to some of these questions? How does our local focus add a crucial dimension to our understanding of a key period in American history?

                            The workshop is open to teachers, librarians, archivists, members of local historical societies, and all interested local history enthusiasts. Workshop faculty will include the MHS Department of Education and Public Programs, Gary Shattuck, author of Artful and Designing Men: The Trials of Job Shattuck and the Regulation of 1786-1787, MHS Teacher Fellow Dean Eastman, and the staff of the Berkshire Historical Society. The program will also include visits to the Berkshire Athenaeum and the Crane Museum of Papermaking. There is a $25 charge to cover lunches both days; program and material costs have been generously funded by the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation. Educators can earn 15 PDPs and 1 Graduate Credit (for an additional fee) from Framingham State University.

                            To Register: Please complete this registration form and send it with your payment to: Kathleen Barker, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215.

                            For Additional Information: Contact the Education Department: 617-646-0557 or  education@masshist.org.

                            15 November 2013 this event is free Brown Bag

                            The Urban Archival Regime in Trans-national Perspective: Roxbury, Africville, Hogan's Alley

                            12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
                            Karen Bridget Murray, Kennesaw State University and York University

                            This talk discusses variations in archival regimes, their relationship to the writing of Black urban history, and their implications for efforts to secure redress for past urban spatial injustices, such as school bussing in Boston, and the razing of African-Canadian communities in Vancouver and Halifax.

                            15 November 2013 this event is free Public Program, Exhibition

                            Early Boston Furniture: Style, Construction, Materials, & Use

                            2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
                            Exhibition Spotlight John and Marie Vander Sande

                            American furniture collectors John and Marie Vander Sande will discuss late 17th-century joined case pieces, early 18th-century cabinetwork, and pre-1730 chairs produced in Boston. The style, construction techniques, woods chosen, and motivation for the applied decoration, as well as the use of the pieces in the home, will be highlighted.

                            To Register: This program is free and open to the public.

                            16 November 2013 this event is free MHS Tour

                            MHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS

                            10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

                            Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

                            The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

                            Free and open to the public.

                            19 November 2013 this event is free Public Program

                            The Sullivan Brothers

                            12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
                            Murray Forbes

                            Governor James and General John Sullivan, two brothers who forged remarkable and versatile careers during the American Revolution and early republic, were honored in their own time and remained remembered and respected through the 19th century. How should we remember them today? Join Murray Forbes as he discusses his work on the fascinating lives of these two men.

                            Today we remember James Sullivan as first Massachusetts Governor of Irish descent and as founder and first president of The Massachusetts Historical Society. Yet his achievements defending Irish immigrants, elucidating injustices in Irish history and his landmark legal defense of the Catholic Church against being taxed to support the Commonwealth's official Protestant religion, remain almost unknown. He was also a significant diplomat, a brilliant legal scholar, and historian who influenced the creation of the United States Constitution. He continued throughout his political career to be the principal voice in Massachusetts supporting popular rights.

                            His brother John Sullivan initiated hostilities of the American Revolution in New Hampshire, played a major role in the Siege of Boston, performed heroically at Long Island, Brandywine, and Germantown, brilliantly at Trenton and Princeton, and incomparably at Butte's Hill.  While serving in Canada he kept the American Army intact during the failed invasion of 1776, and in 1779, Sullivan led a massive campaign against the Iroquois who had sided with the British in the Revolution. As member of the Continental Congress he strengthened the French and Spanish alliances and allayed anti-Catholic prejudice. After the war, he served three terms as Governor of New Hampshire and, confronting hundreds of angry farmers, personally averted another Shays's rebellion. Yet Sullivan's military career has sometimes been downplayed, while his other accomplishments have been undervalued.

                            Their immigrant father, an indentured servant and dispossessed Chief of Clan O'Sullivan Beara, had extraordinary Irish forbears who rose to prominence in conditions partly presaging the American Revolution. He passed something extraordinary on to these sons.

                            20 November 2013 this event is free Brown Bag

                            On a Bender with Uncle Sam: Freedom, Resources, and the Lure of Progress in the Early Republic

                            12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
                            John Lauritz Larson, Purdue University

                            How did the American Revolution change the colonial American economic culture and patterns of natural resource exploitation? How did the “release of energy” produced by the new political order contribute to new definitions of public and private acquisitiveness, wealth, and progress?

                            20 November 2013 Please RSVP   this event requires a feeregistration required Public Program, Exhibition

                            Boston & Its Craft Community, 1650–1850

                            6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
                            Pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm J. Ritchie Garrison, Winterthur This program is part of the Massachusetts Furniture Series

                            J. Ritchie Garrison, the Director of the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, will explore Boston’s craft community with a focus on three themes: production as part of a regional network, inequalities that drove artisans’ decisions, and the city’s furnituremakers’ adaptations to a number of factors.

                            To Register: Tickets are $10 per person (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617-646-0560 or register online by clicking the ticket icon above.

                            23 November 2013 this event is free MHS Tour

                            MHS Tour: The History and Collections of the MHS

                            10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

                            Join us for a tour of the Society's public rooms. Led by an MHS staff member or docent, the tour touches on the history and collections of the MHS and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

                            The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

                            Free and open to the public.

                            25 November 2013 Please RSVP   this event requires a feeregistration required Public Program, Author Talk

                            JFK & His Enemies: A Profile in Power, 1946-1963

                            6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
                            Pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm Thomas Whalen, Boston University

                            The famed 19th-century humorist Finley Peter Dunne once commented that life “would not be worth living if we didn’t keep our enemies.” John F. Kennedy could certainly appreciated the wisdom behind this observation. At nearly every stage of his noteworthy political career, Kennedy collected his fair share of enemies. Some, like Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., or Richard Nixon, presented formidable political obstacles to his attaining public office. Others, like Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, threatened the very survival of the human race. This lecture will focus on the complex and strained relationship Kennedy had with longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and how their mutual hostility inadvertently led to his death at the hands of Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963.

                            Thomas J. Whalen is an associate professor of social science at Boston University and author of Kennedy versus Lodge: The 1952 Massachusetts Senate Race. His forthcoming book, JFK and His Enemies, will be published in March 2014. An expert in modern American politics, American foreign policy and the American presidency, Whalen's commentary has appeared in the New York Times, ABCNews.com, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and the AP. He has also appeared on several national broadcast outlets including CNN, NPR and Reuters TV.

                            To Register: Tickets are $10 per person (no charge for Fellows and Members). Please call 617-646-0560 or register online by clicking the ticket icon above.

                            26 November 2013 Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
                            Subscribe to received advance copies of the seminar papers.
                            Immigration and Urban History Seminar

                            "A Place Reeking with Rottenness": The "Corpus Christi Situation" (1933) and Legacies of Abusive Immigrant Detention

                            5:15 PM - 7:30 PM
                            David Hernández, Mount Holyoke College Comment: Daniel Kanstroom, Boston College Law School

                            Be sure to RSVP for this program by emailing seminars@masshist.org or phoning 617-646-0568.

                            Authors will not read their essays but will offer brief remarks; please read the paper ahead of time and come prepared to join in the discussion. If you are not a subscriber to the series (subscribers receive online advance access to the papers) you may pick up a copy at the MHS front desk on the day of the program. Please phone 617-646-0568 with any questions.

                            28 November 2013 Building Closed

                            Thanksgiving

                            all day

                            The MHS will be closed Thursday, 28 November, through Saturday, 30 November, in observance of Thanksgiving.

                            29 November 2013 Building Closed

                            Thanksgiving

                            all day

                            The MHS will be closed Thursday, 28 November, through Saturday, 30 November, in observance of Thanksgiving.

                            30 November 2013 Building Closed

                            Thanksgiving

                            all day

                            The MHS will be closed Thursday, 28 November, through Saturday, 30 November, in observance of Thanksgiving.


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