The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

What, Exactly, is an MHS "Brown-Bag" Lunch?

It is sometimes said that the MHS is “a genteel society.” Perhaps it’s our quiet customs, steeped in tradition. So, what are these hour-long events called “brown bag lunches”? Can one really bring food into the MHS, and upstairs, no less? Do presenters really deliver programs to a crowd munching on pretzels and carrot sticks?

The answer is “yes”! Think of the brown-bags as a working lunch for scholars, with you and I encouraged to join in and take the conversation in new directions. Many organizations offer brown-bag lunchtime talks, but at the MHS, they’re the epitome of “historical tradition meets modern scholarship.” 

Programs take place at the MHS around the oval table in the 19th-century gentleman’s library of Thomas Dowse. Participants settle into massive mahogany and leather armchairs, unpack their chicken Caesar wraps, and begin to introduce themselves: a scholar from Johns Hopkins, a neighborhood resident, a graduate student from Berkeley, an MHS staff member... The program begins as the presenter describes his or her research in the MHS collections, following which, all are welcome to ask questions and comment.  

The MHS offers a brown-bag lunch program on the first Wednesday of every month, with others scheduled during the year. Lunches begin at noon and end promptly at one o’clock, and the MHS provides an assortment of soft drinks and coffee. 

On September 7, Laurie Ellen Pazzano will describe her research on “Peace field: 1788–1818, The New England Farm of John & Abigail Adams.” Laurie is a student of the Landscape Institute of the Boston Architectural College/Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. 

On September 14, Anthony Antonucci will discuss his work, “Americans and the Mezzogiorno: United States Relations with the Regno delle Due Sicilie from Thomas Jefferson to Herman Melville, 1783-1861.” Anthony has just spent the year as a Fulbright Scholar in Italy and is earning his degree at the University of Connecticut. 

If you can make the time to join us, we would love to see you at these or future programs!


permalink | Published: Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 8:00 AM


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