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/Winter_2021/Booth_INVENTION_OF_MIRACLES_cover.jpg Public Program, Online Event The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell's Quest to End Deafness 3 May 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program. Katie Booth in conversation with Jaipreet Virdi, University of Delaware Alexander Graham Bell is known as the inventor of the telephone, but as the son of a deaf woman and, ...

Alexander Graham Bell is known as the inventor of the telephone, but as the son of a deaf woman and, later, husband to another, his goal in life from adolescence was to teach the deaf to speak. And yet by the end of his life, despite his best efforts—or perhaps because of them—Bell had become the American Deaf community’s most powerful enemy. Katie Booth recounts the complicated tragedy of a brilliant young man who set about stamping out what he saw as a dangerous language: Sign. The book offers a heartbreaking look at how heroes can become villains and how good intentions are, unfortunately, nowhere near enough—as well as a powerful account of the dawn of a civil rights movement and the triumphant tale of how the Deaf community reclaimed their once-forbidden language.

 

 

 

 

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EAHS_banner.jpg Seminar, Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar, Online Event Honoring Bernard Bailyn: A Master Historian, An Inspiring Teacher 4 May 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. with Mary Bilder, Boston College; Alison Games, Georgetown University; Jonathan Gienapp at Stanford University Moderator: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut This seminar honors the legacy and career of noted Harvard historian and MHS Life Trustee Bernard ...

This seminar honors the legacy and career of noted Harvard historian and MHS Life Trustee Bernard Bailyn. In his lengthy career, Prof. Bailyn explored and wrote about various areas in Early American history. Three leading historians will discuss Bailyn's influence on their respective sub-fields and on their own scholarship in this tribute to a master scholar and teacher.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

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Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/153725874_10157845056792724_6935599351028128157_o.jpg Public Program, Online Event The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War 17 May 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Van Gosse, Franklin and Marshall College It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United ...

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority of African Americans remained in bondage. Yet free black men, many of them escaped slaves, steadily increased their influence in electoral politics over the course of the early American republic. Despite efforts to disenfranchise them, black men voted across much of the North, sometimes in numbers sufficient to swing elections. Van Gosse offers a sweeping reappraisal of the formative era of American democracy from the Constitution's ratification through Abraham Lincoln’s election, chronicling the rise of an organized, visible black politics focused on the quest for citizenship, the vote, and power within the free states.

 

 

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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.

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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
Public Program, Online Event The Invention of Miracles: Language, Power, and Alexander Graham Bell's Quest to End Deafness Register registration required at no cost 3 May 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program. Katie Booth in conversation with Jaipreet Virdi, University of Delaware Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Winter_2021/Booth_INVENTION_OF_MIRACLES_cover.jpg

Alexander Graham Bell is known as the inventor of the telephone, but as the son of a deaf woman and, later, husband to another, his goal in life from adolescence was to teach the deaf to speak. And yet by the end of his life, despite his best efforts—or perhaps because of them—Bell had become the American Deaf community’s most powerful enemy. Katie Booth recounts the complicated tragedy of a brilliant young man who set about stamping out what he saw as a dangerous language: Sign. The book offers a heartbreaking look at how heroes can become villains and how good intentions are, unfortunately, nowhere near enough—as well as a powerful account of the dawn of a civil rights movement and the triumphant tale of how the Deaf community reclaimed their once-forbidden language.

 

 

 

 

close

Seminar, Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar, Online Event Honoring Bernard Bailyn: A Master Historian, An Inspiring Teacher Register registration required at no cost 4 May 2021.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 6:30PM This is an online event. with Mary Bilder, Boston College; Alison Games, Georgetown University; Jonathan Gienapp at Stanford University Moderator: Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Seminars_2020-21/EAHS_banner.jpg

This seminar honors the legacy and career of noted Harvard historian and MHS Life Trustee Bernard Bailyn. In his lengthy career, Prof. Bailyn explored and wrote about various areas in Early American history. Three leading historians will discuss Bailyn's influence on their respective sub-fields and on their own scholarship in this tribute to a master scholar and teacher.

Please note, this is an online event held on the video conference platform, Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with links to join the program.

close

Public Program, Online Event The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War Register registration required at no cost 17 May 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Van Gosse, Franklin and Marshall College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/153725874_10157845056792724_6935599351028128157_o.jpg

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority of African Americans remained in bondage. Yet free black men, many of them escaped slaves, steadily increased their influence in electoral politics over the course of the early American republic. Despite efforts to disenfranchise them, black men voted across much of the North, sometimes in numbers sufficient to swing elections. Van Gosse offers a sweeping reappraisal of the formative era of American democracy from the Constitution's ratification through Abraham Lincoln’s election, chronicling the rise of an organized, visible black politics focused on the quest for citizenship, the vote, and power within the free states.

 

 

close

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