This Week @MHS

Here is a look at what is happening at the MHS this week:

On Monday, 27 January, at 6:00 PM: Animal City: The Domestication of America with Andrew A. Robichaud, Boston University. American cities were once full of animal life: cattle driven through city streets; pigs feeding on trash in public alleys and basements; cows crammed into urban feedlots; horses worked to death in the harness; dogs pulling carts and powering small machines; and wild animals peering out at human spectators from behind bars. In his new book, Andrew Robichaud reconstructs this evolving world of nineteenth-century urban animal life—from San Francisco to Boston to New York—and reveals its importance, both then and now. 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, EBT or ConnectorCare cardholders). 

On Tuesday, 28 January, at 5:15 PM: Genetown: The Urbanization of the Boston Area Biotechnology Industry with Robin Wolfe Scheffler, MIT, and comment by Lizbeth Cohen, Harvard University. Today, the Boston area hosts the densest cluster of biotechnology firms anywhere in the world. Yet in the 1980s, the rapid concentration of the industry within Boston’s urban neighborhoods was a striking contrast to the suburbanization of high technology research and development a generation before. This remarkable urbanization represented the confluence of the labor and financial challenges faced by biotechnology start-ups with decisions regarding municipal governance and redevelopment in the aftermath of deindustrialization.  This is part of the Boston Seminar on Modern American Society and Culture series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Thursday, 30 January, at 6:00 PM: Historical Perspectives on Today’s World: Our Nation’s Founders & Today’s Political Challenges with Stephen Fried; Liz Covart; Sara Georgini; Nathaniel Sheidley, and moderator Fred Thys. Our Founding Fathers were progressive for their time in establishing a new nation. Many of them grappled with the same issues that we face today, including political polarization, voicing new ideas, and approaches to health care. Stephen Fried, author of Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father, will explore the life and legacy of Benjamin Rush–one of the least known Founding Fathers. He will be joined by additional historians in a conversation of how many of our nation’s founders persevered during this time–and the lessons that we can learn by reflecting on our past. This program will be held at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute (210 Morrissey Blvd, Boston). Click HERE to register for this program.

On Saturday, 1 February, 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 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.