This Week @ MHS

While the  MHS will be closed on Monday, 20 January in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we still have a busy week of programming including  two seminars, an author talk, and a Saturday tour. Here is a look at what is planned:

On Tuesday, 21 January, at 5:15 PM: “For I’d Rather Be Dead Than Not to Dream of a Better World”: Mae Gadpaille’s Vision of the Montessori Family Centre Community with Mary McNeil, Harvard University, and comment by Ashley Farmer, University of Texas – Austin. In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; the church that housed her school was slated to be cleared for an urban renewal project. In response, Gadpaille launched a campaign to build the Montessori Family Centre Community, a living community for approximately 150 families with a PreK-12 Montessori school in the center. This talk traces Gadpaille’s efforts to realize her vision, paying special attention to how she thought Montessori methods could help advance a black nationalist project of self-determination, while also considering the limitations of such a vision – namely, who could “belong” to this community and who might be left at the margins. This is part of the Boston Seminar on the History of Women, Gender, & Sexuality series. Seminars are free and open to the public. 

On Wednesday, 22 January, at 6:00 PM: The Puritans: A Transatlantic History with David Hall, Harvard University. David Hall presents a sweeping transatlantic history of Puritanism from its emergence out of the religious tumult of Elizabethan England to its founding role in the story of America. Shedding new light on the diverse forms of Puritan belief and practice in England, Scotland, and New England, Hall provides a multifaceted account of a cultural movement that judged the Protestant reforms of Elizabeth’s reign to be unfinished. Hall describes the movement’s deeply ambiguous triumph under Oliver Cromwell, its political demise with the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, and its perilous migration across the Atlantic to establish a “perfect reformation” in the New World. A pre-talk reception begins at 5:30 PM; the speaking program begins at 6:00 PM. There is a $10 per person fee (no charge for MHS Fellows and Members or EBT cardholders).

On Thursday, 23 January, at 5:15 PM: The Art of Family History: Visual Imagery, Family Narrative, & Native American Modernism with Phil Deloria in conversation with Julie Dobrow. Decades ago, historian Philip Deloria (Harvard University) found some drawings in the basement. These distinctive prints turned out to be the iconic work of his great aunt. Deloria will speak about his new book, Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Aesthetic with Julie Dobrow (Tufts University), author of After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet. The event will focus on how an intensely personal story interweaves Sully’s life and works with the “richness of their historical situation” in Native studies and art history.  This is part of the New England Biography Seminar series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, 25 January, at 10:00 AM: The History & Collections of the MHS. This is a 90-minute docent-led walk through of our public rooms. The tour is free and open to the public. If you would like to bring a larger party (8 or more), please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre
On the evening of March 5, 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston  Massacre, questions about the command to “Fire!” became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that “Facts are stubborn things.” But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women—Fire! Voice from the Boston Massacre explores how this flashpoint changed American history. The exhibition is on display at the MHS through 30 June 2020, Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.