The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

It is a holiday week and there are plenty of goings-on here at the Massachusetts Historical Society to celebrate our nation's independence. Please note that the library of the Historical Society will be closed on Thursday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

Kicking off the week on Monday, 1 July, come by at noon for a Brown Bag Lunch talk. This installment features Jen Staver of University of California, Irvine, presenting "Navigating the Other North American Coast: New England Merchants and Sailors Approach the North American Pacific, 1780s-1820s." Ms. Staver's project investigates social and environmental change along the far Pacific coast of North America from 1760 through 1820 by focusing on knowledge of and labor in the region's oceanic and littoral landscapes. Brown bag lunch talks are free and open to the public, so pack up a midday snack and come on by.

On Wednesday, 3 July, another brown bag lunch talk will take place. This time, short-term fellow Lo Faber, Loyola University of New Orleans, presents "The Spirit of Enterprise Excited by the Acquisition of Louisiana: New Englanders and the Orleans Territory, 1803-1812." In 1803 and 1804 New Englanders warily eyed their country's vast new acquisition. Some worried that Louisiana was a “savage,” uncivilized land that would corrupt the new nation; others that it would reduce the already-declining political importance of New England; others that it would become a new addition to the “empire of slavery.” Still others, however, especially Jeffersonian republicans, dismissed these and other concerns and celebrated the Purchase and the economic opportunities it would bring. A few went so far as to move south in search of fortunes in the Orleans Territory. This event is free and begins at 12:00pm.

And on Thursday, 4 July, the MHS will host a special Independence Day Exhibition. Though the library is closed, the gallery spaces will be open from 12:00pm to 4:00pm, currently displaying three exhibitions. Also included on Thursday is a special exhibition of materials related to the Declaration of Independence. Exhibits are free and open to the public six days per week, Monday-Saturday.

Finally, on Saturday, 6 July, the Society will host The History and Collections of the MHS, a 90-minute docent-led tour that explores all of the public rooms in the building while touching on the art, architecture, history, and collections of the Society. The tour is free and open to the public. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or

permalink | Published: Monday, 1 July, 2013, 1:00 AM