The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

This Week @ MHS

Attention Researchers: The library of the MHS will be closing at 4:00pm on Wednesday, 29 May, and at 3:00pm on Thursday, 30 May. Please excuse any inconvenience.

As summer unofficially begins this week, exhibitions officially close here at the Society. Thank you to all who visited 1154 Boylston to learn about abolitionism, slavery, and Emancipation over the past couple of months. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming exhibitions.

Now, with the beautiful week on tap outside, why not consider taking a walk to the MHS for a public program this week? On Wednesday, 28 May 2013, pack yourself a lunch and come by for a brown bag lunch talk. Beginning at noon, Heather Cooper of the University of Iowa presents "Confiscated Voices: representing the slave experience during the American Civil War." In this talk, Ms. Cooper will explore the ways in which contraband men and women - runaway slaves who fled to the Union during the Civil War - enacted their own representation of their changing status and slave experience and through everyday performance in the contraband camps, challenging competing representations of race, gender, and slavery in the process. This view is contrasted with the pervasive references to "contraband" in the press, on stage, and in political cartoons which suggested that "contraband" became the primary representation of slavery and slaves during the Civil War. Brown Bag lunch talks are free and open to the public.

Then, on Wednesday evening beginning at 6:00pm, the MHS will host a special musical performance by the Boston Saxophone Quartet. "Sounds of the Civil War" will feature familiar tunes from the 1860s that were sung around the parlor piano, as well as songs written specifically for the newest instrument in the era: the saxophone. Included will be musical performances and historical commentary on the selected pieces. Members of the Boston Saxophone Quartet have performed with the Boston Pops, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and leading Broadway theaters throughout New England. Conductor and instrumentalist Peter Cokkinias, Professor at neighboring Berklee College of Music, has served for over 30 seasons as Music Director/Conductor of the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra; has conducted the Boston Ballet and Boston Pops; and has performed with the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, and Cincinnati, Hartford, Pittsburgh, and Boston Symphony Orchestras. Registration is required with a fee for this event. Free for MHS Fund Giving Circle members. Please contact the education department for more information at 617-646-0557/

Finally, on Saturday, 1 June, stop by the MHS for a free tour. The History and Collections of the MHS is a 90-minute docent-led tour that explores the public rooms of the Society's home on Boylston St. and touches on the history and collections of the MHS. The tour is free and open to the public and begins at 10:00am. No reservation is required for individuals or small groups but parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending the tour. For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley, at 617-646-0508 or


permalink | Published: Tuesday, 28 May, 2013, 8:31 AM