This Week @MHS

Here is a look at the virtual events we have planned this week:

On Tuesday, 25 January, at 5:15 PM: Earthquakes in New England, 1600-1800: Extraordinary Natural Events & Timekeeping Practices in Early America with Katrin Kleeman, German Maritime Museum – Leibniz Institute for Maritime History, and comment by Lukas Rieppel, Brown University.

New England is more seismically active than most would expect. Several notable earthquakes shook the northeast in the past, including those in 1638, 1663, 1727, 1755, and 1783. In early America, earthquakes were rare enough to be perceived as unusual events that contemporaries remarked upon them in their diaries, almanacks, sermons, and newspapers. Although clocks were rare in the 17th and 18th centuries, diarists often gave a precise time when an earthquake struck. However, these times often varied—sometimes drastically—from one observer to another. This allows for questions on how reliably time was kept. This event is part of the Environmental History Seminar series. Register for this online event.

On Wednesday, January 26, at 5:30 PM: Lost on the Freedom Trail: The National Park Service and Urban Renewal in Postwar Boston with Seth Bruggeman, Temple University, in conversation with Michael Creasey, General Superintendent of the National Parks of Boston, and Susan Fainstein, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Boston National Historical Park is one of America’s most popular heritage destinations, drawing in millions of visitors annually. Tourists flock to see the site of the Boston Massacre, to relive Paul Revere’s midnight ride, and to board Old Ironsides—all of these bound together by the iconic Freedom Trail, which traces the city’s revolutionary saga. Seth C. Bruggeman will discuss the Freedom Trail’s role in tourism, how it was devised to lure affluent white Americans into downtown revival schemes, and how its success hinged on a narrow vision of the city’s history run through with old stories about heroic white men. When Congress pressured the National Park Service to create this historical park for the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976, these ideas seeped into its organizational logic, precluding the possibility that history might prevail over gentrification and profit. Professor Bruggeman will present his book and then be joined by experts with knowledge of the Freedom Trail today and from the past. Register for this online event.

On Thursday, 27 January, at 5:15 PM: In the Shadow of World War: Revisiting W. E. B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction with Chad Williams, Brandeis University, and comment by Adriane Lentz-Smith, Duke University.

Black Reconstruction by W. E. B. Du Bois stands as one of the most groundbreaking books in American history. Scholars have acknowledged how the book, published in 1935, and Du Bois’s arguments in it, pioneered the study of Reconstruction today. This paper explores the genesis and conceptual roots of Black Reconstruction by placing them in conversation with Du Bois’s connection to World War I. The full meaning of Black Reconstruction is incomplete without an understanding of the impact of World War I on Du Bois’s political evolution and approach to history. This event is part of the African American History Seminar series. Register for this online event.

Visit for a complete schedule of events. If you missed a program or would like to revisit the material presented, please visit or our YouTube channel. A selection of past programs is just a click away.