The MHS offers an engaging roster of programming to foster historical knowledge and we welcome everyone to attend, question, and contribute. We provide a forum for debate; host a variety of programs that delve into the complexities of history; and encourage people to share their observations, interpretations, and ideas. MHS programs include author talks, conversations, panel discussions, gallery tours, brown-bag lunches, seminars, conferences, and exclusive events for Members and donors. If you missed a program or would like to revisit the material presented, our videos page has many past programs.

May 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/ConcordHC-IMG-0823.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation, Racial Injustice Series Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School Zone Law and Other Mandatory Minimum Sentences 19 May 2021.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This is an online program Sen. William N. Brownsberger; Abrigal Forrester, Center for Teen Empowerment; Rahsaan D. Hall, ACLU of Massachusetts; Deborah A. Ramirez, Northeastern University School of Law; and moderator Hon. Sydney Hanlon In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences ...

In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality that, in addition to being ineffective and costly, mandatory minimums resulted in the pervasive and disproportionate incarceration of Black and Brown people. Panelists will discuss this troubling history, recent reforms, and the prospects for implementing drug policies that are effective, fair, and just.

Moderator:

Hon. Sydney Hanlon, Massachusetts Appeals Court

Speaker:

Sen. William N. Brownsberger, Second Suffolk & Middlesex District; Abrigal Forrester, Executive Director, Center for Teen Empowerment; Rahsaan D. Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; Deborah A. Ramirez, Professor, Northeastern University School of Law

Developed by the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

More
Public Program, Online Event Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism 26 May 2021.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Ben Railton, Fitchburg State University When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared ...

When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But as Ben Railton argues, that celebratory patriotism is just one of four distinct forms: celebratory, the communal expression of an idealized America; mythic, the creation of national myths that exclude certain communities; active, acts of service and sacrifice for the nation; and critical, arguments for how the nation has fallen short of its ideals that seek to move us toward that more perfect union. In Of Thee I Sing, Railton defines those four forms of American patriotism, using the four verses of “America the Beautiful” as examples of each type, and traces them across our histories.

 

 

More
June 2021
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/FROM_THE_RIVER_TO_THE_SEA_Cover.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad that Made the West 1 June 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program John Sedgwick in conversation with John L. Larson, Purdue University In 1869, the first transcontinental railroad had made history by linking East and West.  ...

In 1869, the first transcontinental railroad had made history by linking East and West.  Relying heavily on federal grants, it left an opening for two brash new railroad men, the Civil War hero behind the Rio Grande and the corporate chieftain of the Santa Fe, to build the first transcontinental to make money, bringing to life such out-of-the-way places as San Diego, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Denver, and Los Angeles. Remarkably, it transformed Boston, too. An early railroad hub, Boston was a major financial hub for Western expansion. Backers of that first transcontinental, the Union Pacific, Bostonians also back the Santa Fe in its quest to be the second. Its corporate headquarters were on Boston's Dvonshire Street, and its board drawn from the city's moneyed elite, providing a local angle to this epic story of the greatest railroad war of all time

 

 

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/spring_2021/Gay_community_news.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation In Print: Boston's LGBT Publications during the Gay Liberation Movement 3 June 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Amy Hoffman, Dallas Denny, Shane Snowdon, Michael Bronski, moderated by Russ Lopez This program is co-sponsored by The History Project This panel will look at the grassroots LGBT periodicals that originated in Boston during the modern ...

This panel will look at the grassroots LGBT periodicals that originated in Boston during the modern gay liberation era and evolved to become critical resources for LGBT communities all over the country. How did these magazines, journals, and newsletters influence and inform self-identity, politics, and activism nation-wide? What kind of ideological debates played out in the pages of these publications? We will try to understand why Boston was a particularly good incubator for this particular type of activist media, while also examining how these periodicals worked to amplify the unique concerns and demands of LGBT communities nationally.

 

                                                               Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/THP_logo_cmyk.jpg

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Winter_2021/thumbnail_Stuart_Graphic_-_hands.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation, Racial Injustice Series Confronting Racial Injustice: The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives 9 June 2021.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This is an online program Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Dean, Boston University School of Law; Hon. Leslie Harris (ret.), Suffolk Juvenile Court; Renée Graham, Columnist, The Boston Globe; moderated by Kim McLaurin, Associate Dean, Suffolk University Law School Charles Stuart, a white man, murdered his wife and unborn child in Boston in 1989 and falsely blamed ...

Charles Stuart, a white man, murdered his wife and unborn child in Boston in 1989 and falsely blamed the attack on a nonexistent Black man. Believing Stuart’s lie, the police engaged in a massive manhunt that terrorized a Black community in Mission Hill with detention, public strip-searches, and the arrest of two innocent men. As some lawmakers demanded the death penalty, the media perpetuated this false story. The Stuart case exemplifies how the narrative of white supremacy continues to lead to the dehumanization and devaluation of Black lives. Widespread acceptance of white lies over Black lives persists today.

Developed by the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

 

 

 

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/41yMZ6WN-5L__SX329_BO1_204_203_200_.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston 14 June 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Christina Groeger, Lake Forest College in conversation with Michael Glass, Boston College For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, ...

For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. The Education Trap delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, using the city of Boston as a test case. Even as Boston spent heavily on public schools the first decades of the twentieth century,  the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences—both intended and unintended—for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, shifting workplace power toward management. Advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.

 

 

More
Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/VD.jpg Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation 15 June 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Lynne Cheney in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation's first five ...

From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation's first five presidents—a geographic dynasty whose members led a revolution, created a nation, and ultimately changed the world. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were friends and rivals, they led in securing independence, hammering out the United States Constitution, and building a working republic. But even as Virginians advanced Enlightenment values like  liberty, equality, and human possibility, they held people in slavery and were slaveholders when they died. Taking full measure of strengths and failures in the personal as well as the political lives of the men of the Virginia Dynasty, Cheney offers a concise and original exploration of how the United States came to be.

 

 

More
Online Event, Author Talk Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy and the New Battleground of the Cold War 30 June 2021.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Jeff Shesol in conversation with E.J. Dionne If the United States couldn’t catch up to the Soviets in space, how could it compete with them ...

If the United States couldn’t catch up to the Soviets in space, how could it compete with them on Earth? That was the question facing John F. Kennedy at the height of the Cold War. On February 20, 1962, when John Glenn blasted into orbit aboard Friendship 7, his mission was not only to circle the planet; it was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief. Mercury Rising re-creates the tension and excitement of a flight that shifted the momentum of the space race and put the United States on the path to the moon. Drawing on new archival sources, personal interviews, and previously unpublished notes by Glenn himself, Mercury Rising reveals how the astronaut’s heroics lifted the nation’s hopes

 

 

More
Public Program, Online Event, Conversation, Racial Injustice Series Confronting Racial Injustice: The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School Zone Law and Other Mandatory Minimum Sentences Register registration required at no cost 19 May 2021.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This is an online program Sen. William N. Brownsberger; Abrigal Forrester, Center for Teen Empowerment; Rahsaan D. Hall, ACLU of Massachusetts; Deborah A. Ramirez, Northeastern University School of Law; and moderator Hon. Sydney Hanlon Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/ConcordHC-IMG-0823.jpg

In the 1980s, Massachusetts embraced the War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality that, in addition to being ineffective and costly, mandatory minimums resulted in the pervasive and disproportionate incarceration of Black and Brown people. Panelists will discuss this troubling history, recent reforms, and the prospects for implementing drug policies that are effective, fair, and just.

Moderator:

Hon. Sydney Hanlon, Massachusetts Appeals Court

Speaker:

Sen. William N. Brownsberger, Second Suffolk & Middlesex District; Abrigal Forrester, Executive Director, Center for Teen Empowerment; Rahsaan D. Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; Deborah A. Ramirez, Professor, Northeastern University School of Law

Developed by the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

close

Public Program, Online Event Of Thee I Sing: The Contested History of American Patriotism Register registration required at no cost 26 May 2021.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Ben Railton, Fitchburg State University

When we talk about patriotism in America, we tend to mean one form: the version captured in shared celebrations like the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. But as Ben Railton argues, that celebratory patriotism is just one of four distinct forms: celebratory, the communal expression of an idealized America; mythic, the creation of national myths that exclude certain communities; active, acts of service and sacrifice for the nation; and critical, arguments for how the nation has fallen short of its ideals that seek to move us toward that more perfect union. In Of Thee I Sing, Railton defines those four forms of American patriotism, using the four verses of “America the Beautiful” as examples of each type, and traces them across our histories.

 

 

close

Public Program, Online Event, Conversation From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad that Made the West Register registration required at no cost 1 June 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program John Sedgwick in conversation with John L. Larson, Purdue University Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/FROM_THE_RIVER_TO_THE_SEA_Cover.jpg

In 1869, the first transcontinental railroad had made history by linking East and West.  Relying heavily on federal grants, it left an opening for two brash new railroad men, the Civil War hero behind the Rio Grande and the corporate chieftain of the Santa Fe, to build the first transcontinental to make money, bringing to life such out-of-the-way places as San Diego, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Denver, and Los Angeles. Remarkably, it transformed Boston, too. An early railroad hub, Boston was a major financial hub for Western expansion. Backers of that first transcontinental, the Union Pacific, Bostonians also back the Santa Fe in its quest to be the second. Its corporate headquarters were on Boston's Dvonshire Street, and its board drawn from the city's moneyed elite, providing a local angle to this epic story of the greatest railroad war of all time

 

 

close

Public Program, Online Event, Conversation In Print: Boston's LGBT Publications during the Gay Liberation Movement Register registration required at no cost 3 June 2021.Thursday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Amy Hoffman, Dallas Denny, Shane Snowdon, Michael Bronski, moderated by Russ Lopez This program is co-sponsored by The History Project Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/spring_2021/Gay_community_news.jpg

This panel will look at the grassroots LGBT periodicals that originated in Boston during the modern gay liberation era and evolved to become critical resources for LGBT communities all over the country. How did these magazines, journals, and newsletters influence and inform self-identity, politics, and activism nation-wide? What kind of ideological debates played out in the pages of these publications? We will try to understand why Boston was a particularly good incubator for this particular type of activist media, while also examining how these periodicals worked to amplify the unique concerns and demands of LGBT communities nationally.

 

                                                               Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/THP_logo_cmyk.jpg

close

Public Program, Online Event, Conversation, Racial Injustice Series Confronting Racial Injustice: The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives Register registration required at no cost 9 June 2021.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM This is an online program Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Dean, Boston University School of Law; Hon. Leslie Harris (ret.), Suffolk Juvenile Court; Renée Graham, Columnist, The Boston Globe; moderated by Kim McLaurin, Associate Dean, Suffolk University Law School Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Winter_2021/thumbnail_Stuart_Graphic_-_hands.jpg

Charles Stuart, a white man, murdered his wife and unborn child in Boston in 1989 and falsely blamed the attack on a nonexistent Black man. Believing Stuart’s lie, the police engaged in a massive manhunt that terrorized a Black community in Mission Hill with detention, public strip-searches, and the arrest of two innocent men. As some lawmakers demanded the death penalty, the media perpetuated this false story. The Stuart case exemplifies how the narrative of white supremacy continues to lead to the dehumanization and devaluation of Black lives. Widespread acceptance of white lies over Black lives persists today.

Developed by the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

 

 

 

close

Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston Register registration required at no cost 14 June 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Christina Groeger, Lake Forest College in conversation with Michael Glass, Boston College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/41yMZ6WN-5L__SX329_BO1_204_203_200_.jpg

For generations, Americans have looked to education as the solution to economic disadvantage. Yet, although more people are earning degrees, the gap between rich and poor is widening. The Education Trap delves into the history of this seeming contradiction, using the city of Boston as a test case. Even as Boston spent heavily on public schools the first decades of the twentieth century,  the shift to more educated labor had negative consequences—both intended and unintended—for many workers. Employers supported training in schools in order to undermine the influence of craft unions, shifting workplace power toward management. Advanced educational credentials became a means of controlling access to high-paying professional and business jobs, concentrating power and wealth. Formal education thus became a central force in maintaining inequality.

 

 

close

Public Program, Online Event, Conversation The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation Register registration required at no cost 15 June 2021.Tuesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Lynne Cheney in conversation with Catherine Allgor, MHS Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/VD.jpg

From a small expanse of land on the North American continent came four of the nation's first five presidents—a geographic dynasty whose members led a revolution, created a nation, and ultimately changed the world. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were friends and rivals, they led in securing independence, hammering out the United States Constitution, and building a working republic. But even as Virginians advanced Enlightenment values like  liberty, equality, and human possibility, they held people in slavery and were slaveholders when they died. Taking full measure of strengths and failures in the personal as well as the political lives of the men of the Virginia Dynasty, Cheney offers a concise and original exploration of how the United States came to be.

 

 

close

Online Event, Author Talk Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy and the New Battleground of the Cold War Register registration required at no cost 30 June 2021.Wednesday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Jeff Shesol in conversation with E.J. Dionne

If the United States couldn’t catch up to the Soviets in space, how could it compete with them on Earth? That was the question facing John F. Kennedy at the height of the Cold War. On February 20, 1962, when John Glenn blasted into orbit aboard Friendship 7, his mission was not only to circle the planet; it was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief. Mercury Rising re-creates the tension and excitement of a flight that shifted the momentum of the space race and put the United States on the path to the moon. Drawing on new archival sources, personal interviews, and previously unpublished notes by Glenn himself, Mercury Rising reveals how the astronaut’s heroics lifted the nation’s hopes

 

 

close