This Week @MHS

Here’s a look at what’s happening at the MHS this week:

On Tuesday, 30 July, at 6:00 PM: The Legacy of the China Trade in Massachusetts: Families, Fortunes, & Foreign Luxuries with Caroline Frank, Brown University; Dane Morrison, Salem State University; and moderator Gwenn Miller, College of the Holy Cross. We live in a society where Chinese-made commodities are a part of everyday life. But dependence on foreign goods is not a modern American phenomenon. The economic, political, and social dimensions of early trade with China were felt on the domestic and individual levels, as reliance on tea, silks, and other materials sourced from China became staples in early American households. Massachusetts merchant families were able to capitalize on a hunger for these goods to shape the city as well as their own fortunes. 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).

On Wednesday, 31 July at 12:00 PM: Bodies in Pain: The Medical Culture of Sympathy in the United States, 1830-1865 with Yuri Amano, Johns Hopkins University. This project explores the cultural and political meanings of bodily pain by focusing on surgical and obstetric cases in the United States, around the time of the establishment of painless surgery. Comparing the experiences of patients from different backgrounds, Amano intends to examine how doctors’ assumptions of femininity, masculinity, and embodied social differences shaped their understanding of pain. This is part of our brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public. 

On Saturday, 3 August at 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

“Can She Do It?”: Massachusetts Debates a Woman’s Right to Vote is open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Featuring dynamic imagery from the collection of the MHS, the exhibition illustrates the passion on each side of the suffrage question. For over a century, Americans debated whether women should vote. The materials on display demonstrate the arguments made by suffragists and their opponents. While women at the polls may seem unremarkable today, these contentious campaigns formed the foundations for modern debates about gender and politics.

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