The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

First things first in this weekly round-up: The Society is CLOSED on Monday, 15 January, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Normal hours resume on Tuesday, 16 January.

Now that we have that out of the way, on to the programs scheduled for the coming week:

- Tuesday, 16 January, 5:15PM : The seminar this week is part of the Environmental History series. In this program Jeffrey Egan of the Unviersity of Connecticut and commenter Karl Haglund of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation discuss "The Fight before the Flood: Rural Protest and the Debate over Boston's Quabbin Reservoir, 1919-1927." In 1919, state engineers proposed solving Boston’s water supply crisis by damming the Swift River, flooding a western Massachusetts valley and evicting 2,500 people. The contentious six-year debate that followed does not fit the standard story of urban conservationists versus rural peoples, as many valley residents defined themselves as rural and conservationist, and thus offers scholars a chance to see fresh nuances in early twentieth-century land management, rural life, and urban development. 

Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP requiredSubscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.

- Wednesday, 17 Janauary, 12:00PM : "Skulls, Selves, and Showmanship: Itinerant Phrenologists in 19th-Century America" is a Brown Bag talk with research fellow Katherine Duffy of Brown University. Proponents of phrenology — a controversial, influential science — believed that the shape of one’s cranium revealed one’s character. This talk explores the world of phrenological lecture-demonstrations and the circulation of materialist ideas about the self. This talk is free and open to the public. 

- Wednesday, 17 January, 6:00PM : Join us for the Pauline Maier Memorial Lecture - Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention. In this talk and recent book with the same name, Mary Sarah Bilder of Boston College Law School reveals that James Madison revised his famed Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention to a far greater extent than previously thought. With this work, Bilder offers a biography of a document that, over two centuries, developed a life and character all its own. This talk is open to the public; registration required with a fee of $10 (No charge for MHS Members or Fellows, or EBT Cardholders). 

- Saturday, 20 January, 10:00AM : The History and Collections of the MHS is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, with no need for reservations. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or

While you're here you will also have the opportunity to view our current exhibition: Yankees in the West.

permalink | Published: Sunday, 14 January, 2018, 12:00 AM