This Week @MHS

Fashioning the New England Family closes on Saturday, 6 April. Stop by 1154 Boylston Street this week to see it and to attend a program. We have a seminar, a brown-bag lunch program, and a tour planned. Read on for more information.

On Tuesday, 2 April, at 5:15 PM: Naming Plantations in the 17th-Century English Atlantic with Paul Musselwhite, Dartmouth College, and comment by Cynthia Van Zandt, University of New Hampshire. The language of “plantation” in early Virginia and New England described a providential, public process intended to serve the interests of god and the commonwealth. How and why did this civic language become transformed into a place for the private pursuit of agricultural wealth? This paper uncovers the ways ordinary men and women grappled with the definition of plantation by systematically investigating the names they gave to the places they termed “plantations.” This is part of the Boston Area Seminar on Early American History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Friday, 5 April, at 12:00 PM: The Shade of Private Life: The Right to Privacy & the Press in Turn-of-the-Century American Art with Nicole Williams, Yale University. This talk considers how American artists shaped the modern concept of “the right to privacy” in response to the increasingly invasive mass media of the Gilded Age. It examines diverse artworks by John White Alexander, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and others in relation to period critiques of the press and the emerging legal discourse on privacy protections. This is part of the Brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, 6 April, at 10:00 AM: The 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.