This Week @MHS

Looking for something to do this week? Stop by to see our current exhibition Fashioning the New England Family before it closes on 6 April. We also have a seminar, a panel discussion, and a tour planned.

On Tuesday, 26 March, at 5:15 PM: Carceral Culture with Melanie D. Newport, University of Connecticut—Hartford, and Morgan Jane Shahan, Johns Hopkins University, and comment by Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University. This panel examines carceral culture in the twentieth century. Morgan Jane Shahan’s paper, “‘Making Good’: On Parole in Early 20th Century Illinois,” traces the experience of ex-prisoners, and exposes the negotiations between employers, voluntary organizations, prisons, and parolees. Melanie Newport’s chapter, “‘I’m Afraid of Cook County Jail’: Making Space for Women in Chicago’s Jails,” addresses how women both inside and outside Cook County jail contested the plan to double the jail’s capacity in the 1970s. This is part of the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 27 March, at 6:00 PM: Reuse, Recycling, & Refashioning: Past, Present, & Future in Fashion with Linzy Brekke-Aloise, Stonehill College; Jay Calderin, Boston Fashion Week; Michelle Finamore, Museum of Fine Arts; and Pete Lankford, Timberland; and moderator Kimberly Alexander. Throughout history, garments have been handed down to be worn in different contexts or to be used as material to create something new. Our panel will talk about the history of reuse and refashioning as well as how designers today are using secondhand clothing or previously disposed of material in new ways. This panel will be the first in an annual lecture series in honor of President Emeritus Dennis Fiori in recognition of his leadership. The lecture series is made possible by gifts from friends of the Society. 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).

On Saturday, 30 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 through 6 April. 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.