Public Programs and Special Events

Exhibition

The Private Jefferson

Explore Jefferson’s complexity through select correspondence and writings including the Declaration of Independence, records of farming at Monticello, and his architectural drawings.

Details

The MHS offers many engaging programs and special events.

February

Mass Modern Series, Public Program Modernism Series: Program Three - Politics of Modernism 16 February 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Liz Cohen, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University; Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor at Yale University and Chris Grimley, AIA, Over, Under The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new ...

The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new generation of buildings in Boston. Both the politics and the design of this period could be described as bold, often controversial, and of a scale that had not been seen before. Starting with the completion of the Prudential Tower, this era redefined the skyline, streetscape, and aspirations of the region.

More
Jefferson Series Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare 17 February 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM Please RSVP   Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his ...

Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his influence on America’s Founding Mothers and Fathers. John and Abigail Adams sprinkled their letters to one another with quotes from the Bard, and Thomas Jefferson owned numerous volumes of Shakespeare’s work. This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to Adams and Jefferson documents in the Society’s collection, and explore Shakespeare’s themes of politics, power, and leadership through these eyes of these revolutionary men and women.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Discuss the Founders' understanding of Shakespeare and their use of his works in their own publications and correspondence with Adams Papers editors Hobson Woodward and Emily Ross.
  • View documents from the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts.
  • Preview and brainstorm suggestions for using Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare materials in history and English language arts projects.
  • Take a guided tour of the Society's new exhibition, The Private Jefferson.
More
Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents "What News?": Communication in Early New England 20 February 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Please RSVP   Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College "What News?": Communication in Early New England   New England was built on letters. ...

"What News?": Communication in Early New England  

New England was built on letters. Its colonists left behind thousands of these “paper pilgrims,” brittle and browning. But how were they delivered? In a time before postal service and newspapers, how did news travel?

 

Even when it was meant solely for English eyes, news did not pass solely through English hands. Native messengers carried letters along footpaths, and Dutch ships took them across waterways. Rumors flew. Who could travel where, who controlled the routes winding through the woods, who dictated what news might be sent—these questions reveal a new dimension of contest in the northeast.

 

In her new book American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England, Katherine Grandjean reveals a new view of colonial New England.  It is a darker and more precarious place entirely.

 

Reading

American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England  (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), especially the introduction and chapters 1, 2, and 3.

More
Mass Modern Series, Public Program Modernism Series: Program Four - Preservation of Modernism 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Ann Beha, AIA, Ann Beha Architects; David Fixler, FAIA, EYP, DOCOMOMO New England; Henry Moss, AIA, Bruner/Cott & Associates, DOCOMOMO New England; and Mark Pasnik, AIA, Over, Under Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years ...

Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years of poor maintenance and are facing insensitive renovation or demolition. Architects who have renovated important modernist buildings will talk about the challenges and opportunities and explain their work locally on buildings such as Sert’s BU Law Tower and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT as well as internationally on sites such as the Gropius’s US Embassy in Greece and the UN Headquarters.

More
March
Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Fellow Laborers: The Friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams 4 March 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Sara Sikes, Associate Editor, Adams Papers and Sara Georgini, Assistant Editor, Adams Papers Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political ...

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political allies, and were friends, but they they grew apart and became fierce opponents in the election of 1800. Although they did not speak for years, later in life they reconciled. Two leading scholars will talk about this relationship and what it meant to two founding fathers.

More
Public Program The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, ...

The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America. The confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston has been a part of the region rebounding from a dramatic decline after World War II to an astounding renaissance. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older immigrant groups, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston.

More
Public Program Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency 16 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 David Greenberg of Rutgers University interviewed by Robin Young Co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR   Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White ...

 

Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White House spin machine, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama. The story takes us behind the scenes to see how the tools and techniques of image making and message craft work. We meet Woodrow Wilson convening the first White House press conference, Franklin Roosevelt huddling with his private pollsters, Ronald Reagan’s aides crafting his nightly news sound bites, and George W. Bush staging his “Mission Accomplished” photo-op. We meet, too, the backstage visionaries who pioneered new ways of gauging public opinion and mastering the media―figures like George Cortelyou, TR’s brilliantly efficient Press Manager; 1920s ad whiz Bruce Barton; Robert Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower’s canny TV Coach; and of course the key spinmeisters of our own times, from Roger Ailes to David Axelrod.

More
Public Program The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Andrew Lipman, Barnard College Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” ...

Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events.

More
April
Public Program Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams 6 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Louisa Thomas, Author Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, ...

Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still.

More
Public Program The Big Dig 11 April 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Frederick Salvucci, MIT Twenty five years ago, Boston undertook the largest transportation project in recent American ...

Twenty five years ago, Boston undertook the largest transportation project in recent American history. After years of planning, ground was broken for the Big Dig in 1991, kicking off a 16-year construction project. Although the Central Artery/Tunnel Project was controversial, it radically changed the landscape of the city. The Big Dig reconnected the North End to downtown; significantly improved access to the airport, downtown, the waterfront, and Seaport; created open space along the Rose Kennedy Greenway; and built one of the most iconic bridges in the metro area. Former secretary of transportation Fred Salvucci will look back on the project, its impacts, and the legacy of the Big Dig.

Image courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation 

More
More events
Mass Modern Series, Public Program Modernism Series: Program Three - Politics of Modernism registration required 16 February 2016.Tuesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Liz Cohen, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University; Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor at Yale University and Chris Grimley, AIA, Over, Under

The arrival of Edward Logue as the head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority ushered in a new generation of buildings in Boston. Both the politics and the design of this period could be described as bold, often controversial, and of a scale that had not been seen before. Starting with the completion of the Prudential Tower, this era redefined the skyline, streetscape, and aspirations of the region.

close
Jefferson Series Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare Please RSVP   registration required 17 February 2016.Wednesday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death by investigating his influence on America’s Founding Mothers and Fathers. John and Abigail Adams sprinkled their letters to one another with quotes from the Bard, and Thomas Jefferson owned numerous volumes of Shakespeare’s work. This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to Adams and Jefferson documents in the Society’s collection, and explore Shakespeare’s themes of politics, power, and leadership through these eyes of these revolutionary men and women.

This program is open to educators and history enthusiasts. Educators can earn 22.5 PDPs or one graduate credit (for an additional fee).

Workshop Fee: $25 per person (to cover materials and lunch)

To Register / For more information: complete this registration form, or contact the education department at education@masshist.org or 617-646-0557.

Program Highlights

  • Discuss the Founders' understanding of Shakespeare and their use of his works in their own publications and correspondence with Adams Papers editors Hobson Woodward and Emily Ross.
  • View documents from the Adams Family Papers and the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts.
  • Preview and brainstorm suggestions for using Adams, Jefferson, and Shakespeare materials in history and English language arts projects.
  • Take a guided tour of the Society's new exhibition, The Private Jefferson.
close
Public Program Begin at the Beginning: Boston’s Founding Documents "What News?": Communication in Early New England Please RSVP   registration required at no cost 20 February 2016.Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM Katherine Grandjean, Wellesley College

"What News?": Communication in Early New England  

New England was built on letters. Its colonists left behind thousands of these “paper pilgrims,” brittle and browning. But how were they delivered? In a time before postal service and newspapers, how did news travel?

 

Even when it was meant solely for English eyes, news did not pass solely through English hands. Native messengers carried letters along footpaths, and Dutch ships took them across waterways. Rumors flew. Who could travel where, who controlled the routes winding through the woods, who dictated what news might be sent—these questions reveal a new dimension of contest in the northeast.

 

In her new book American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England, Katherine Grandjean reveals a new view of colonial New England.  It is a darker and more precarious place entirely.

 

Reading

American Passage: The Communications Frontier in Early New England  (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015), especially the introduction and chapters 1, 2, and 3.

close
Mass Modern Series, Public Program Modernism Series: Program Four - Preservation of Modernism registration required 24 February 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Ann Beha, AIA, Ann Beha Architects; David Fixler, FAIA, EYP, DOCOMOMO New England; Henry Moss, AIA, Bruner/Cott & Associates, DOCOMOMO New England; and Mark Pasnik, AIA, Over, Under

Today, the optimism of the movement is often forgotten and many of the buildings suffer from years of poor maintenance and are facing insensitive renovation or demolition. Architects who have renovated important modernist buildings will talk about the challenges and opportunities and explain their work locally on buildings such as Sert’s BU Law Tower and Alvar Aalto’s Baker House at MIT as well as internationally on sites such as the Gropius’s US Embassy in Greece and the UN Headquarters.

close
Jefferson Series, Public Program Gallery Talk: Fellow Laborers: The Friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams this event is free 4 March 2016.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Sara Sikes, Associate Editor, Adams Papers and Sara Georgini, Assistant Editor, Adams Papers

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams worked together on the Declaration of Independence, were political allies, and were friends, but they they grew apart and became fierce opponents in the election of 1800. Although they did not speak for years, later in life they reconciled. Two leading scholars will talk about this relationship and what it meant to two founding fathers.

close
Public Program The New Bostonians: How Immigrants Have Transformed the Metro Area since the 1960s registration required 9 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Marilynn S. Johnson, Boston College

The Immigration Act of 1965 opened the nation's doors to large-scale immigration from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A half century later, the impact of the "new immigration" is evident in the transformation of the country's demographics, economy, politics, and culture, particularly in urban America. The confluence of recent immigration and urban transformation in greater Boston has been a part of the region rebounding from a dramatic decline after World War II to an astounding renaissance. From 1970 to 2010, the percentage of foreign-born residents of the city more than doubled, representing far more diversity than earlier waves of immigration. Like the older immigrant groups, these newer migrants have been crucial in re-building the population, labor force, and metropolitan landscape of the New Boston.

close
Public Program Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency registration required 16 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30 David Greenberg of Rutgers University interviewed by Robin Young Co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR

 

Republic of Spin covers more than one hundred years of politics and the rise of the White House spin machine, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama. The story takes us behind the scenes to see how the tools and techniques of image making and message craft work. We meet Woodrow Wilson convening the first White House press conference, Franklin Roosevelt huddling with his private pollsters, Ronald Reagan’s aides crafting his nightly news sound bites, and George W. Bush staging his “Mission Accomplished” photo-op. We meet, too, the backstage visionaries who pioneered new ways of gauging public opinion and mastering the media―figures like George Cortelyou, TR’s brilliantly efficient Press Manager; 1920s ad whiz Bruce Barton; Robert Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower’s canny TV Coach; and of course the key spinmeisters of our own times, from Roger Ailes to David Axelrod.

close
Public Program The Saltwater Frontier: Indians and the Contest for the American Coast registration required 30 March 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Andrew Lipman, Barnard College

Andrew Lipman explores the previously untold story of how the ocean became a “frontier” between colonists and Indians. When the English and Dutch empires both tried to claim the same patch of coast between the Hudson River and Cape Cod, the sea itself became the arena of contact and conflict. During the violent European invasions, the region’s Algonquian-speaking Natives were navigators, boatbuilders, fishermen, pirates, and merchants who became active players in the emergence of the Atlantic World. Drawing from a wide range of English, Dutch, and archeological sources, Lipman uncovers a new geography of Native America that incorporates seawater as well as soil. Looking past Europeans’ arbitrary land boundaries, he reveals unseen links between local episodes and global events.

close
Public Program Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams registration required 6 April 2016.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There is a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Louisa Thomas, Author

Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams. And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself. They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England. Louisa saw more of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time. But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out. The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self. As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice. That voice resonates still.

close
Public Program The Big Dig registration required 11 April 2016.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm Frederick Salvucci, MIT

Twenty five years ago, Boston undertook the largest transportation project in recent American history. After years of planning, ground was broken for the Big Dig in 1991, kicking off a 16-year construction project. Although the Central Artery/Tunnel Project was controversial, it radically changed the landscape of the city. The Big Dig reconnected the North End to downtown; significantly improved access to the airport, downtown, the waterfront, and Seaport; created open space along the Rose Kennedy Greenway; and built one of the most iconic bridges in the metro area. Former secretary of transportation Fred Salvucci will look back on the project, its impacts, and the legacy of the Big Dig.

Image courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation 

close