This Week @MHS

Here is a look at what is going on at the MHS this week:

On Monday, 10 February, at 6:00 PM: Civil War Monuments & the Militarization of America with Thomas J. Brown, University of South Carolina. This new assessment of Civil War monuments unveiled in the United States between the 1860s and 1930s argues that they were pivotal to a national embrace of military values. Americans’ wariness of standing armies limited construction of war memorials in the early republic and continued to influence commemoration after the Civil War. Professor Brown provides the most comprehensive overview of the American war memorial as a cultural form and reframes the national debate over Civil War monuments that remain potent presences on the civic landscape. 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, 11 February, at 5:15 PM: Northern Exposure: American Military Engineering in the Arctic Circle with Gretchen Heefner, Northeastern University, and comment by Christopher Capozzola, MIT. From the late 1940s through the 1960s, U.S. military engineers constructed and maintained a vast, though largely unknown, infrastructure of military facilities throughout the Far North. This paper examines how these engineers explored the Arctic regions, what sorts of information they accumulated about it, and ultimately what happened to that information once it was released from military constraints. This is part of the Boston Seminar on Environmental History series. Seminars are free and open to the public.

On Wednesday, 12 February, at 12:00 PM: Committees in Unexpected Places: Community Building in the American Revolution with Catherine Treesh, Yale University. In 1772 Samuel Adams and the Boston Town Meeting famously created a correspondence network to resist imperial policies. If we move away from that familiar scene, though, we find that the committee of correspondence was actually a common tool for community-building during the American Revolution. By highlighting committees in unexpected places — New Hampshire and Nova Scotia — this talk shows that committees can give us a better sense of how colonists understood their place in the Empire and on the Continent.  This is part of the Brown-bag lunch programBrown-bags are free and open to the public.

On Saturday, 15 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 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.