This Week @MHS

We have a couple of evening programs and a gallery talk scheduled at the MHS this week. Here is a look:

On Tuesday, 10 September, at 6:00 PM: Properties of Empire: Indians, Colonists, & Land Speculators on the New England with Ian Saxine. Properties of Empire challenges assumptions about the relationship between Indigenous and imperial property creation in early America. Many colonists came to believe their prosperity depended on acknowledging Indigenous land rights and Wabanaki Indians’ unity allowed them to forcefully project their own interpretations of poorly remembered land deeds and treaties. The ongoing struggle to construct a commonly agreed-upon culture of landownership shaped diplomacy, imperial administration, and matters of colonial law in powerful ways, and its legacy remains with us today. 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 Thursday, 12 September, at 6:00 PM: Benjamin Franklin’s Influence on Jewish Thought & Practice with Shai Afsai. In his 20s, Benjamin Franklin resolved to perfect his character, devising a self-improvement method to aid him in the challenging task of becoming virtuous and intending to complete a book on its use. This method was eventually incorporated into the Jewish ethical tradition through the publication, in 1808, of Rabbi Mendel Lefin’s Book of Spiritual Accounting, which made it available to Hebrew-reading audiences. Shai Afsai discusses this surprising historical development, which has often confused Judaic scholars, and of which Franklin specialists have been largely oblivious. 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 Friday, 13 September, at 2:00 PM: Abigail Adams: Independence & Ideals, pop-up display and talk. Join an Adams Papers editor for an in-depth look at the display. Never “an uninterested Spectator” when it came to the American political landscape, Abigail Adams leveraged a wide network of correspondents to discuss her vision of the emerging nation. The display will be on view through 21 September.

On Saturday, 14 September, 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

“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.

Please note that on Tuesday, 10 September the MHS library and galleries will open at 12:00 PM.