This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week. Here is a look at what is planned:

  • Tuesday, 5 March, 5:15 PM: Washington, Lincoln, & Weems: Recovering the Parson’s Life of George Washington with Steven C. Bullock, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and comment by Elizabeth Maddock-Dillon, Northeastern University. This paper argues that Mason Locke Weems’s biography of George Washington built a bridge between Washington and the world of Abraham Lincoln and Ellen Montgomery. Weems’s stories were not just expressing early-19th century cultural commonplaces, but helping to create them. The paper connects these transformations with Weems’s work to recover Weems’s importance within his own time. This is part of the Boston Area Seminar on Early American History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.
  • Wednesday, 6 March, 12:00 PM: A Meaningful Subjection: Coercive Inequality & Indigenous Political Economy in the Colonial Northeast with Peter Olsen-Harbich, College of William and Mary. This talk presents archaeological and documentary evidence of indigenous authority structures and law enforcement in northeastern North America in the period immediately prior to European settlement. It then evaluates European comprehension of indigenous mechanisms of rule enforcement, and the degree to which awareness of them factored into designs for colonization. This is part of the Brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public.
  • Wednesday, 6 March, 6:00 PM: Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family with Sara Georgini, MHS. Reflecting on his past, President John Adams mused that it was religion that had shaped his family’s fortunes and young America’s future. Globetrotters who chronicled their religious journeys extensively, the Adamses ultimately developed a cosmopolitan Christianity that blended discovery and criticism, faith and doubt. Sara Georgini demonstrates how pivotal Christianity—as the different generations understood it—was in shaping the family’s decisions, great and small. This event is part of our Remember Abigail programming. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).
  • Thursday, 7 March, 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. (Rescheduled from Feb. 21)
  • Saturday, 9 March, 10:00 AMThe History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. 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.

Please note that the reading room will open at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, 6 March. Take a look at our calendar page for information about upcoming programs.