Public Programs and Special Events

Exhibition

Turning Points in American History

10 June 2016 to 25 February 2017 Details

The MHS offers many engaging programs and special events.

January

Public Program The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire 26 January 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe and Robin Young, Here and Now How should the United States act in the world? Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching ...

How should the United States act in the world? Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat—until the cycle begins again. However, these debates are not original. Revealing a piece of forgotten history, Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the 20th century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. The country’s political and intellectual leaders took sides. Only once before—the period when the United States was founded—have so many brilliant Americans eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity. Their words are amazingly current today.

 

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning author and foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him “among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling.” He was Latin America correspondent for The Boston Globe, and then spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, with extended postings in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. 

Robin Young brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as host of Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for "The Today Show."

Robin has received five Emmy Awards for her television work, as well as two CableACE Awards, the Religious Public Relations Council's Wilbur Award, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Gold Award, and numerous regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

More
Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Medical and Surgical Care in Puritan New England 28 January 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   Sidney Levitsky, MD From bloodletting to powders made from roasted toads, medical care in early New England was of ...

From bloodletting to powders made from roasted toads, medical care in early New England was of uncertain value to the patient. In this discussion of primary documents led by Sid Levitsky of Harvard Medical School, we’ll explore the foundations of 17th century English medicine and surgery and the practice of medicine in New England.  

More
February
Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 8 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kenneth Rendell, Museum of World War II Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the ...

Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the most comprehensive collection of material related to World War II anywhere. This collection is open to the public through the Museum of World War II, a research and educational institution devoted to preserving and exhibiting the reality of the war. With over 7,000 artifacts on display and more than 500,000 documents and photographs in the research archives, it is a remarkable resource. Rendell will discuss the challenges he’s faced in the past 58 years of collecting, globally, the most cataclysmic event of modern times.

More
Public Program Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes 16 February 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Paul Staiti, Holyoke College The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, ...

The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases. The stories of these five artists open a fresh window on the Revolutionary era, making more human the figures we have long honored as our Founders, and deepening our understanding of the whirlwind out of which the United States emerged.

More
Public Program MIT: History and Architecture 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglass Shand-Tucci       This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of ...

 

 

 

This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of walking tours of its present campus on the Charles River Basin -- which has been called "Boston's Central Park" -- the first result of "The Gods of Copley Square," a multi-year project and Shand-Tucci's next book, the subject of which is the Boston Brahmin Ascendancy. A high-point of that ascendancy was the development of Copley Square in 1860-1915 as a great New World Acropolis of Faith and Learning, Arts and Sciences, the cornerstone of which was MIT, founded as a notable scientific university, a companion Brahmin school to modern Harvard. This talk focuses on the way the schools, now universally ranked among the top five seats of higher learning in the world, reflected Boston 19th century Unitarian tradition and framed its Brahmin Ascendancy.

More
Public Program Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the ...

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

More
March
Public Program A Children's Photo Album 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized ...

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

More
The Irish Atlantic Member Event, Special Event The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members William M. Fowler, Northeastern University MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.  

More
Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series Public Program Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Program 1: Refined to RusticKeith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played ...

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dinning in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

More
Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray Public Program Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Program 1: Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate ...

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

 Join us for a series to explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. A journey through the study of material culture will demonstrate how the politics of politeness helped define American thought.  

More
Public Program Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM Please RSVP   There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk Through the story of a portrait of a woman ...

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

More
More events
Public Program The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire Please RSVP   registration required 26 January 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe and Robin Young, Here and Now

How should the United States act in the world? Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat—until the cycle begins again. However, these debates are not original. Revealing a piece of forgotten history, Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the 20th century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. The country’s political and intellectual leaders took sides. Only once before—the period when the United States was founded—have so many brilliant Americans eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity. Their words are amazingly current today.

 

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning author and foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him “among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling.” He was Latin America correspondent for The Boston Globe, and then spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, with extended postings in Nicaragua, Germany, and Turkey. He is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. 

Robin Young brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her role as host of Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS and ABC television and for several years was substitute host and correspondent for "The Today Show."

Robin has received five Emmy Awards for her television work, as well as two CableACE Awards, the Religious Public Relations Council's Wilbur Award, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Gold Award, and numerous regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

close
Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Medical and Surgical Care in Puritan New England Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 28 January 2017.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Sidney Levitsky, MD

From bloodletting to powders made from roasted toads, medical care in early New England was of uncertain value to the patient. In this discussion of primary documents led by Sid Levitsky of Harvard Medical School, we’ll explore the foundations of 17th century English medicine and surgery and the practice of medicine in New England.  

close
Public Program Collecting the World at War, 1919-1946 Please RSVP   registration required 8 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Kenneth Rendell, Museum of World War II

Kenneth Rendell, a noted collector and dealer of historical documents and artifacts, has amassed the most comprehensive collection of material related to World War II anywhere. This collection is open to the public through the Museum of World War II, a research and educational institution devoted to preserving and exhibiting the reality of the war. With over 7,000 artifacts on display and more than 500,000 documents and photographs in the research archives, it is a remarkable resource. Rendell will discuss the challenges he’s faced in the past 58 years of collecting, globally, the most cataclysmic event of modern times.

close
Public Program Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes Please RSVP   registration required 16 February 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Paul Staiti, Holyoke College

The lives of the five great American artists of the Revolutionary period--Charles Willson Peale, John Singleton Copley, John Trumbull, Benjamin West, and Gilbert Stuart--were every bit as eventful as those of the Founders with whom they continually interacted. Living in a time of breathtaking change, each in his own way came to grips with the history being made by turning to brushes and canvases. The stories of these five artists open a fresh window on the Revolutionary era, making more human the figures we have long honored as our Founders, and deepening our understanding of the whirlwind out of which the United States emerged.

close
Public Program MIT: History and Architecture Please RSVP   registration required 22 February 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Douglass Shand-Tucci

 

 

 

This talk arises out of a two part guide -- a history of MIT and a series of walking tours of its present campus on the Charles River Basin -- which has been called "Boston's Central Park" -- the first result of "The Gods of Copley Square," a multi-year project and Shand-Tucci's next book, the subject of which is the Boston Brahmin Ascendancy. A high-point of that ascendancy was the development of Copley Square in 1860-1915 as a great New World Acropolis of Faith and Learning, Arts and Sciences, the cornerstone of which was MIT, founded as a notable scientific university, a companion Brahmin school to modern Harvard. This talk focuses on the way the schools, now universally ranked among the top five seats of higher learning in the world, reflected Boston 19th century Unitarian tradition and framed its Brahmin Ascendancy.

close
Public Program Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution to the Civil War Please RSVP   registration required 27 February 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Brown, University of Connecticut

Despite our country’s founding statement that “all men are created equal,” the early Republic struggled with social inequality. While people paid homage to the ideal of equal rights, this ideal came up against entrenched social and political practices. Brown will discuss how the ideal was tested in struggles over race and ethnicity, religious freedom, gender and social class, voting rights and citizenship. He shows how high principles fared in criminal trials and divorce cases when minorities, women, and people from different social classes faced judgment. This book offers a much-needed exploration of the ways revolutionary political ideas penetrated popular thinking and everyday practice.

close
Public Program A Children's Photo Album Please RSVP   registration required 2 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Ken Liss, Boston University Libraries

In 2014, the Brookline Historical Society was given a tiny photo album with postage stamp-sized photos of 48 Brookline and Boston children. Written inside the front cover were the name Mamie Williams and the date March 16, 1882. Who was Mamie Williams? Who were the children pictured in her album? What became of them as adults? Months of research by Liss led to answers to these questions and to some fascinating stories about the offspring of Edward Atkinson, H.H. Richardson, Moorefield Storey, as well as stories of Brookline and Boston society. In this presentation, Liss tells the tale of this album and the people inside it.

close
Member Event, Special Event The Irish Atlantic Fellows & Members Preview Reception registration required at no cost 9 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members William M. Fowler, Northeastern University The Irish Atlantic

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to a special program, reception, and chance to preview The Irish Atlantic. The exhibition explores 175 years of the Irish in Boston. Guest curator William Fowler will give an overview, beginning with a look at the Irish community in Massachusetts stretching back into the 18th century, through famine relief efforts led by Capt. Robert Bennet Forbes at the helm of the Jamestown, to a mass migration movement, decades of community and institutional building, and a rise in political power.  

close
Public Program Cooking Boston: Refined to Rustic Please RSVP   registration required 15 March 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Keith Stavely, Kelly Erby and moderator Barbara Wheaton Boston Codfish Balls ad - Cooking Boston series

Program 1: Refined to Rustic
Keith Stavely will explore the role Boston has played from being the home of early European refinement to the rise of the Colonial Revival rustic dishes. Kelly Erby will explore the role of restaurants and the rise of commercial dinning in the increasingly urban landscape of nineteenth century Boston. Barbara Wheaton will lead a discussion on how the Hub has shaped American culinary culture through cookbooks and changing perceptions of the city.


Cooking Boston: How the Hub Shaped the American Diet 

This series of programs will explore the culinary history of Boston and the impact the city has had on the American diet. In the first half of the 19th century, Boston had a reputation as the center for European taste and refinement. By the end of the 19th century, the Colonial Revival movement nationally popularized foods like Boston baked beans and Yankee pot-roast shifting Boston’s image from refined to rustic. In the 20th century, Boston clung to two identities: that of thrifty Puritans and of cosmopolitanism through education. This created some remarkably bland food but also made the city fertile ground for a culinary revolution. In the 1960s, chefs like Julia Child and Joyce Chen brought the flavors of the world to America through Boston.

close
Public Program Politics of Taste: Republic of Taste Please RSVP   registration required 20 March 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Catherine E. Kelly, University of Oklahoma Politics of Taste series - Mary Otis Gray

Program 1: Republic of Taste
Republic of TasteWhether Americans believed that taste was innate or acquired, it was widely believed that shared aesthetic sensibilities connected like-minded individuals and that shared affinities advanced the public good and held great promise for the American republic. Catherine E. Kelly demonstrates how American thinkers acknowledged the similarities between aesthetics and politics in order to wrestle with questions about power and authority. In the years following independence, ordinary women and men reassured themselves that taste revealed larger truths about an individual's character and potential for republican citizenship.

 

 


Politics of Taste

 Join us for a series to explore how the development of manners and taste in colonial America and the early republic were not just a statement of aesthetics but were also ways to define political identity and create shared affinities. A journey through the study of material culture will demonstrate how the politics of politeness helped define American thought.  

close
Public Program Portrait of a Woman in Silk: Hidden Histories of the British Atlantic World Please RSVP   registration required 23 March 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware

Program 2: Portrait of a Woman in Silk

Through the story of a portrait of a woman in a silk dress, historian Zara Anishanslin embarks on a journey, exploring and refining debates about the cultural history of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world. She examines the worlds of four people who produced, wore, and represented this object: a London weaver, one of early modern Britain’s few women silk designers, a Philadelphia merchant’s wife, and a New England painter. Anishanslin shows how making, buying, and using goods in the British Atlantic created an object-based community that tied its inhabitants together, while also allowing for different views of the Empire.

close

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