This Week @MHS

Please note that the MHS is closed on Monday, 18 February; the building will open at 5:00 PM for visitors attending the evening program. Here is a look at what is going on this week:

  • Monday, 18 February, at 6:00 PM: Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson & America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation with Steve Luxenberg, Washington Post Associate Editor. Steve Luxenberg presents a myth-shattering narrative of how a nation embraced “separation” and its pernicious consequences. Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” created remarkably little stir when the justices announced their near-unanimous decision on May 18, 1896. Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century, whose outcome embraced and protected segregation, and whose reverberations are still felt into the twenty-first. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).
  • Tuesday, 19 February, at 5:30 PM: Panel: Feminist Economics with Danielle L. Dumaine, University of Connecticut, and Julie R. Enszer, University of Mississippi, with comment by Juliet Schor, Boston College. These papers begin a conversation on the intersection of the study of the women’s liberation movement with the history of capitalism. Danielle Dumaine’s paper, “Sisterhood of Debt: Feminist Credit Unions, Community, and Women’s Liberation,” examines the role of Feminist Credit Unions in the women’s liberation movement. Julie Enszer’s paper, “‘a feminist understanding of economics based on a revolutionary set of values’: Feminist Economic Theories and Practices,” looks at the feminist organizations that created the Feminist Economic Network. This is part of the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality series. Seminars are free and open to the public. This seminar will take place at the Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute.
  • Wednesday, 20 February, from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM: Teaching the Industrial Revolution in Massachusetts. Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation–including immigrant families and early female factory workers–into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Hosted in partnership with the Tsongas Industrial History Center, this workshop will explore the history of industrial growth in New England and its impact on immigration, labor movements, women’s rights, and communities in New England and beyond. This program is open to all who work with K-12 students. Teachers can earn 22.5 Professional Development Points or 1 graduate credit (for an additional fee). There is a $25 per person fee. This workshop will be held at the Tsongas Industrial History Center in Lowell, Mass. For questions, contact Kate Melchior at or 617-646-0588.
  • Thursday, 21 February, at 5:15 PM: Mourning in America: Black Men in a White House with Leah Wright Rigueur, Harvard Kennedy School, and comment by Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University. This paper focuses on the 1980s HUD Scandal, wherein contractors, developers, lobbyists, HUD officials, and others misappropriated billions in federal monies set aside for low-income housing. Of particular interest are the intertwined stories of two African Americans: Samuel R. Pierce, Ronald Reagan’s HUD Secretary, and Kimi Gray, a Washington, D.C. public housing activist. In exploring these narratives, this paper aims to complicate our understanding of the “Black 1980s,” the Ronald Reagan-led White House, and democracy in post-civil rights America. This is part of the Boston Seminar on African American History series. Seminars are free and open to the public. 
  • Thursday, 21 February, at 6:00 PM: Uncivil Society with Julian E. Zelizer, Princeton University; Michael Tomasky, Democracy; and Robin Young, WBUR and NPR. American political discourse has become so dysfunctional it is hard to imagine reaching a national consensus on almost anything. Longstanding historical fault lines over income inequality, racial division, gender roles, and sexual norms coupled with starkly different senses of economic opportunity in rural and urban America have fueled a polarized political landscape. Julian E. Zelizer, Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974, and Michael Tomasky, If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How it Might Be Saved, and Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR, will discuss how we got here and if there is a way back. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).
  • Saturday, 23 February, 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. Join is for a 90-minute docent-led walk through of the public rooms of the MHS. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or   

Fashioning the New England Family is open Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The exhibition explores the ways in which the multiple meanings of fashion and fashionable goods are reflected in patterns of consumption and refashioning, recycling, and retaining favorite family pieces. Many of the items that will be featured have been out of sight, having never been exhibited for the public or seen in living memory. The exhibition is organized as part of Mass Fashion, a consortium of cultural institutions set up to explore and celebrate the many facets of the culture of fashion in Massachusetts.

Take a look at our calendar page for information about upcoming programs.