The MHS is open! The library is open by appointment only. Exhibition galleries are open Monday through Friday, from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Please visit our exhibition page for more information. Learn more about our COVID-19 protocols to keep our visitors and staff safe. 

Upcoming Events

Tue, January 25, 2022, -

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,…

Wed, January 26, 2022, -

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…

Thu, January 27, 2022, -

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…

Tue, February 01, 2022, -

This panel discussion will consider two papers on the history of money from the mid-18th through the early 19th centuries. Katie Moore’s essay will examine the political, economic, and monetary…

Mon, February 07, 2022, -

Please note this program has been postponed and will now take place May 5th. 

Join us for a special evening in which Professor of English Abram Van Engen will receive the…

Tue, February 08, 2022, -

Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin—the thrifty inventor-statesman of the Revolutionary era—but not about his love life. Poor Richard’s Women reveals the long-neglected voices of the women…

Wed, February 09, 2022, -

Too often public history organizations have believed that there were not enough records to give voice to enslaved people and other underrepresented voices from America’s past. This program will…

Thu, February 10, 2022, -

Join the current and former Editor in Chief of the Adams Papers to discuss the 1997 film Amistad. The film explores the history of the slave ship, Amistad, which set sail from Cuba to…

Thu, February 17, 2022, -

Against the enduring mystery of Phillis Wheatley’s African origin, this talk will address how the poet established bearings in a world far from her natal landscape. A Christian convert whose poems…

Tue, February 22, 2022, -

In 1911, civilian workers at the Army’s Watertown Arsenal struck against the arrival of management engineers with stopwatches, leading Congress to ban certain Taylorist methods in military and…

Wed, February 23, 2022, -

At the end of the 1976 football season, more than forty Harvard athletes went to Boston's red light district to celebrate. In the city's adult entertainment district, drugs and prostitution ran…

Thu, February 24, 2022, -

We confess: the idea came to us last October. Why not talk about the curious and creepy, eerie and inspiring enterprise of hunting up one’s subject’s final resting place? The NEBS steering…

Mon, February 28, 2022, -

Today, we remember this iconic American family as the vanguard of wealth, power, and style rather than as…

Thu, March 03, 2022, -

This article examines efforts to quarantine people with AIDS during the mid-1980s. The campaign started after a PBS documentary aired about Fabian Bridges, a Black gay man, in…

Tue, March 08, 2022, -

The Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn, Massachusetts, now the site of a Target Superstore, has been hailed as a success story. Woburn played a pivotal role in creating,…

Tue, March 15, 2022, -

This paper investigates the transnational history of the feminist self-help handbook Our Bodies, Ourselves in the 1970s and 1980s. It follows sociologist Kathy Davis’s approach of investigating…

Tue, March 22, 2022, -

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the United States saw a massive expansion of popular entertainment. Scholars have long pointed to the importance of this burgeoning industry, linking…

Tue, March 29, 2022, -

On November 6, 1931, Juliette Derricotte was killed in a car accident just outside of Dalton, Georgia. Although the thirty-four-old social reformer survived the initial collision, she later…

Past Events

Wed, January 19, 2022, -

Exploring American Healthcare through 50 Historic Treasures presents a history of health and medicine in the United States, tracing paradigm shifts such as the introduction of anesthesia…

Tue, January 18, 2022, -

When did Americans begin using the term “the marriage market,” and what does it tell us about society at the time? This article-in-progress traces the emergence of the concept of marriage as a…

Thu, January 13, 2022, -

Announcing the MHS Film Club!

The MHS will feature a movie every month and then invite experts on the…

Wed, January 12, 2022, -

Useful Objects examines the history of American museums during the 19th century through the eyes of visitors, writers, and collectors. Museums of this period held a wide range of objects…

Tue, January 11, 2022, -

This paper considers coercive political practices among early historic southern New England Algonquians and their historical function in the success of early English colonies. In the spring of…

People shoveling show to free stuck car
Fri, January 07, 2022, -

Due to weather conditions, the MHS will be closed on Friday, 7 January.

environmental history
Thu, December 16, 2021, -

The Boston market garden district was a national leader in vegetable production from 1870 to 1930.  Suburban market gardeners' practices both countered and anticipated broader trends in the US…

history of women gender and sexuality
Tue, December 14, 2021, -

This dissertation chapter examines a lecture by Boston man-midwife Walter Channing. The lecture is meant to offer his (male) midwifery students the skills to serve as expert witnesses in…

the transcendantalists and their world
Mon, December 13, 2021, -

Bancroft Prize winning author Robert Gross presents a fresh view of the Transcendentalists; thinkers whose impact on philosophy and literature would spread from Concord, Mass, to all corners of…

digital history
Thu, December 09, 2021, -

Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature records represent one of the fullest collections of colonial court documents in North America, covering the entirety of the eighteenth century. This…

grand duke alexis in america
Wed, December 08, 2021, -

One-hundred and fifty years ago, in the autumn of 1871, Alexis Romanov, the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, set sail for an extended journey through the United States and Canada. The…

our first civil war
Tue, December 07, 2021, -

Writing History with H.W. Brands 
Our First Civil War: Patriots and Loyalists in the American Revolution

Presented in partnership with …

pauline maier early american history
Tue, December 07, 2021, -

This project explores the role of the Committees in Massachusetts communities during the American Revolution, particularly the role they played in punishing community dissent and compelling…

urban archipelago
Mon, December 06, 2021, -

The Boston Harbor Islands have been called Boston's "hidden shores." Previously home to prisons, asylums, and sewage treatment plants, this surprisingly diverse ensemble of islands has existed on…

Thu, December 02, 2021, -

The Par-Links Golf Club was an association of Black women golfers founded in 1958 in East Bay, Oakland California. Using photographs, organizational documents, and scrapbooks, this paper examine…

Wed, December 01, 2021, -

This lecture traces the development of the celebration of Christmas from the time it was outlawed in 17th Century New England through the beginning of the 21st Century. Many of the customs which…

The Reinvention of Tradition: Conformist Nationalism in the United States, 1923-1931
Tue, November 30, 2021, -

In the 1920s, amid fears that American national identity was under threat from communism, pacifism, and immigration, nationalist organizations in the United States standardized many of the…

I believe I'll go back home
Tue, November 23, 2021, -

Between 1959 and 1968, New England saw a folk revival emerge in more than fifty clubs and coffeehouses; a revolution led by college dropouts, young bohemians, and lovers of traditional music. From…