The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

It's time for the weekly round-up of events. Here is what is on the schedule:

- Wednesday, 16 March, 6:00PM : "Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency" Join us for this author talk in which David Greenberg is interviewd by Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR, about his new publication. Registration is required for this event with a fee of $20 (no charge for MHS Members and Fellows). A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30PM and the talk begins at 6:00PM. 

- Saturday, 19 March, 10:00AM : The History and Collections of the MHS is a 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 abentley@masshist.org.

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

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Sunday, 13 March, 2016, 12:00 AM

Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange in History: Massachusetts History Day 2016

Massachusetts History Day 2016, on the theme of “exploration, encounter, and exchange in history” is in full swing across the state of Massachusetts with the MHS as its official sponsor. In recent years, over 7,000 middle and high school students from across the Commonwealth have participated in MHD and -- as in the past -- winners from the 2016 state competition will have the opportunity to join thousands of other middle and high school students from around the country at The Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in College Park Maryland (June 12-16, 2016).

 

Sabrina Panetta (Saugus, MA), discusses her submission in the Senior Individual Exhibit category, “Hidden Beneath the Surface,” with three volunteer judges. Photo courtesy of Kerin Shea, Massachusetts History Day.

 

“It’s like a science fair, but for history,” is how I like to describe the competition to those who have never heard of History Day before. Each year, an annual theme is announced by National History Day (NHD) within which students will select and research a topic, articulate a thesis, and present their historical analysis in one of five categories: documentary film, exhibit board, live performance, research paper, or website. The students present their work on competition day and are interviewed by volunteer judges who evaluate the quality of their historical research, analysis, and presentation.

This year’s theme of “exploration, encounter, and exchange in history” was a broad umbrella underneath which students have explored topics ranging from the economic and cultural exploitation of Hawai’i to the investigative journalism of Nellie Bly to Copernicus’ theory of a heliocentric universe.

There are many different ways to support Massachusetts History Day as individual historians and as cultural institutions. Since 2012, my wife and I have been involved as volunteer judges, getting up early on a Saturday morning to meet with junior historians to give them a chance to share their knowledge and enthusiasm.

There is still time to volunteer as a judge for the 2016 Massachusetts state competition on Saturday, April 9th!

Another option for supporting MHD is by offering special prizes for a best project in a particular topic (for example “labor history”) or type of primary source material (oral histories or photographs, for example). Since 2014 our family has been sponsoring a book prize at the district and state competitions for the best individual project in women’s and gender history. As professional historians, we are excited to encourage the work of those who will be our future colleagues and supporters - and we hope you will consider doing the same!

If you do not live in Massachusetts and are interested in NHD opportunities in your local area, find your state affiliate here. And if you want to watch the competition from afar, be sure to follow @MAHistoryDay for great competition day photos and updates.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Friday, 11 March, 2016, 9:47 AM

Summer Professional Development for Teachers: FAQ

Summer is right around the corner, which means the MHS education department is busy organizing another round of exciting, hands-on learning opportunities for K-12 teachers. Read on to learn more about what the MHS can offer you (or your favorite teacher) in the coming months!

Does the MHS offer workshop for teachers during the summer months?

Absolutely! You can visit the Teacher Workshop page on the MHS website to find our current program offerings. In the summer of 2016, we will host programs on women in the era of the American Revolution, whaling and maritime history, the Civil War, and the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

What will I do at an MHS teacher workshop?

Workshop participants become historians as they examine original documents and artifacts from the Society’s collections. Many workshop sessions are also designed to model various ways to use primary sources in the classroom. We also like to provide educators with opportunities to discuss current historical scholarship, so most of our workshops include guest speakers who have worked extensively with materials from the MHS. Our visiting scholars understand the demands of classroom teaching, and make every effort to provide content that you can use to enhance your own lessons. We frequently collaborate with other organizations to create programs, so many of our workshops include field trips to partner sites. This summer’s workshops include visits to places like the Museum of Fine Arts, Old North Church, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the Cape Ann Museum.

Reading John and Abigail Adams letters at the MHS

Can I earn a stipend through any of your programs?

Yes! Throughout 2016, the Society is celebrating its 225th anniversary. Thanks to funding from the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, we are offering a special three-day workshop on “Teaching Three Centuries of History through MHS Collections.” The workshop is open to educators and library media specialists of grades 5-12. Participants will engage with items in our collections, learn from guest historians, and investigate different methods for using primary sources in the classroom. We will explore topics such as colonial encounters between English settlers and native peoples, urban politics in the era of the American Revolution, African American poetry and antebellum abolition efforts, and the woman’s suffrage movement. Each participant will be expected to curate a set of classroom resources on a specific topic in exchange for a $500 stipend and two graduate credits. Educators and library media specialists of grades 5-12 are welcome to apply. You can find the application instructions on our website: https://www.masshist.org/education/3centuries.

Can I earn Professional Development Points and/or graduate credit at these workshops?

Yes. The MHS is a registered PDP provider with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Most of our programs also offer the option of graduate credit (for an additional fee.)

How can I learn more?

For information about programs for teachers and students, including workshops, fellowships, and online resources, visit the Education pages of the Society’s website, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org.

Teachers as students on Lexington Green

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 9 March, 2016, 1:35 PM

This Week @ MHS

So, you're looking for some history? Well, you came to the right place then. Take a look at what we have to offer this week at the Society:

- Tuesday, 8 March, 5:15PM : "How to Police Your Food: A Story of Controlling Homes and Bodies in the Early Age of Manufactured Foods" is an Environmental History seminar which addresses three concerns of our day: food, knowledge, and control. The seminar features Benjamin R. Cohen of Lafayette College, with Joyce Chaplin of Harvard University providing comment. Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP requiredSubscribe to receive advance copies of the seminar papers.

- Wednesday, 9 March, 12:00PM : This week's Brown Bag talk is given by Katlyn M. Carter of Princeton University. Her talk is titled "Practicing Politics in the Revolutionary Atlantic World: Secrecy, Publicity, and the Making of Modern Democracy." Carter traces how revolutionaries in the United States and France navigated the tension between an Enlightenment imperative to eradicate secrets from the state and a practical need to limit the extent of transparency. Brown Bag talks are free and open to the public. Grab a lunch and come on in!

- Wednesday, 9 March, 6:00PM : "The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s," is a public author talk given by Marilynn S. Johnson of Boston College. Her work examines the confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston as a part of the region rebounding from a dramatic decline after World War II to an astounding renaissance. This talk is open to the public and registration is required at a fee of $10 (free for MHS Members and Fellows). A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30PM. 

- Saturday, 12 March, 10:00AM : The History and Collections of the MHS is a 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 abentley@masshist.org.

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

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Sunday, 6 March, 2016, 12:00 AM

The New Look of Science....260 Years Ago

Between 1752 and 1756 in Paris, Jaques Fabien Gautier, or Gautier d'Agoty (1717-1785) published a six-volume, 18-part set titled Observations sur l'histoire naturelle, sur la physique et sur la peinture... While such publications were not uncommon at the time, what set this one apart was that it contained plates printed in color, the first science periodical to ever do so. He employed a well-established intaglio printmaking process known as mezzotint, a method of engraving in tone.1 

The Society holds two volumes in one of d'Agoty's Observations sur l'histoire naturelle. In addition to observing specimens of natural history, like plants, mammals, birds, and humans, d'Agoty also included obeservations on physical science as well as art and painting. Below are some of the striking images that appear in the work. Enjoy!

[Disclaimer: If you got squeamish when dissecting a frog in high school, be aware that there are a couple of images of internal anatomy of humans and animals.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Osborne, Harold, The Oxford Companion to Art, Oxford University Press, 1970.

comments: 1 | permalink | Published: Saturday, 5 March, 2016, 3:45 PM

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