The MHS offers many engaging programs and special events.

October

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Public Program Looking West from the East 20 October 2017.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Da Zheng, Suffolk University     Artist, poet, lecturer, and best selling author Chiang Yee is best known for his ...

 

 

Artist, poet, lecturer, and best selling author Chiang Yee is best known for his Silent Traveler books, which offered a Chinese perspective of London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Chiang was also good friends with historian, author, and Boston Athenaeum librarian Walt Whitehill, whose papers are at the MHS. This biographical sketch offers a unique perspective on America and the immigrant experience as well as a glimpse into the life of the Silent Traveler through one of his closest friendships.

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Public Program The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography & the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost 21 October 2017.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Manseau, Smithsonian National Museum of American History More than just a ghost story, this is a portrait of a young nation struggling to separate fact from ...

More than just a ghost story, this is a portrait of a young nation struggling to separate fact from fiction. Manseau details the trial of William H. Mumler, the “spirit photographer” who claimed he could take pictures of the souls of the dead, along with the battlefield exploits of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, the fathers of photojournalism who created frauds of their own. These stories offer a view of our nation’s obsession with the afterlife and our reluctance to choose science over fantasy.

More
Public Program Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life 23 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. There is a $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Karilyn Crockett, Office of Economic Development, City of Boston; Brian W. J. LeMay, independent scholar; Richard Rabinowitz, American History Workshop and author, Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past; and Moderator Katheryn P. Viens, Massachusetts Historical Society What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of ...

What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of “alternative facts” and a social fabric that is being torn apart by political and class divides? Many historians and public historical organizations are changing the way they work, offering their talents and skills as advocates and healers. Yet, they face a complex public. Some audience members embrace the opportunity to engage in dialogue over difficult issues. Others seek a more entertaining, escapist experience. Still others are alert to activities that appear to overstep the traditional role of museums or to signal that their own perspectives might be unwelcome. Some visitors yearn for the inclusion of minority viewpoints but consider museums too inherently biased to present these narratives. It is all a challenging prospect for organizations that are seeking to be truly inclusive and build broad public support. Join us for a compelling conversation.

More
Public Program Weird and Worrisome Tour 25 October 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM At Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Hosted by the MHS, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Jamaica Plain Historical Society Sold OUT The tour will go on despite the bad weather! However, we will have it inside the Loring-Greenough ...

The tour will go on despite the bad weather! However, we will have it inside the Loring-Greenough House (12 South Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130) rather than walking through the rain. 

All neighborhoods have secrets but some are stranger than others. Just in time for Halloween, we will explore Jamaica Plain in Boston. Participants will stop at sites of anarchist robberies, stuffed elephants, and a nervine asylum and hear tales of trainwrecks and things that lurk beneath the surface of Jamaica Pond. The tour is hosted in collaboration with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

More
Public Program Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson 30 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Gordon S. Wood, Brown University SOLD OUT -If you would like to be added to the wait-list, please email programs@masshist.org THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT.    Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could ...

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. 

 

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England’s middle classes, was a skeptic. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, but ultimately, their differences would lead to a crisis, in their friendship and the nation. But late in life these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a trickle of correspondence became a flood, and a friendship was rekindled.

 

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November
Public Program The Devil and the Crown 4 November 2017.Saturday, 11:00AM - 5:30PM For more information about this event please contact Jim Hollister at 978-318-7829 or jim_hollister@nps.gov Two hundred fifty years ago, the winds of change began to blow.  The French and Indian War was ...

Two hundred fifty years ago, the winds of change began to blow.  The French and Indian War was over and now the Crown looked for sources to help pay the bill.  The Stamp Act, a new tax directly applied to the colonies on legal documents, newspapers and more, would meet stiff resistance in the colonies, causing protest and eventual repeal.  Two years later, an alternative series of acts were created in the form of the Townshend Duties.  Like the Stamp Act before, urban communities in places like Boston would quickly coalesce and voice their opposition and protest Royal authority.  

Protest often took different forms. Those with property, the “better sorts,” would meet , discuss and draft petitions and organize boycotts.  Meanwhile, those of the laboring class, the “lower sorts,” who did not own enough property to vote, would voice their disapproval in the street and sometimes engage in mob violence. Each group had their own particular grievances with the Crown and ways to protest.

 
On Saturday, November 4, experience revolutionary politics “indoors” and “out-of-doors” as it would have happened 250 years ago. Participate in a live reenactment at Faneuil Hall of a Boston town meeting which took place in October 1767. Join in the discussion as local citizens argue over whether or not to stop importing British goods. Following the town meeting, join a rowdy procession of laboring-class Bostonians of 1767 from Faneuil Hall to the Old State House, as they express their disapproval of British trade policies in a rather colorful and intimidating way.

 

Schedule of events: 11:00 am to 5:30 pm: Saturday, November 4, 2017.  Free to all.

 11:00 am-2:00 pm. “Goods for Your Master, Taxes for Your King”

Come try your luck as a young apprentice in this colonial marketplace game.  Whether you buy, barter, or smuggle, the goal's the same: bring all your goods back to your employer and get promoted! This drop in program is best for ages 6-10, Faneuil Hall, Education Space, basement.

 1:00 - 4:30 pm: “Talk of the Town” - meet reenactors portraying Bostonians of different social classes in Samuel Adams Park, directly in front of Faneuil Hall, and learn about why they are protesting the new laws.

 2:30 and 4:00 pm:Revolutionary Town Meeting: 1767 Townshend Acts” Stand up! Speak Out! Join a lively meeting to debate Boston’s response to the hated Townshend Acts. Character cards are available. Free, 30 minutes, Faneuil Hall, Great Hall, second floor.

 5:00 pm: Procession from Faneuil Hall to Old State House, State Street, Boston, MA.

 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Dive into Boston’s Revolutionary past and explore the galleries inside the Old State House. Admission is free to all.

 The Devil and the Crow program is being offered as a joint program of Boston National Historical Park, Minute Man National Historical Park, The Bostonian Society, and Revolution 250, a program of MHS.  

More
Public Program The Weeping Angel: Letter and Poems from World War I France 8 November 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Kelley, editor, and Christopher Capozzola, MIT $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high ...

Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high school graduate Hubert Kelley answered the call. Working as a soldier on the railroads in France during World War I, he found his vocation as a poet and writer through vivid letters to family. Kelley will describe her efforts to retrace the forgotten history of a perceptive observer of the war’s destruction, and Capozzola will comment on the letters’ contribution to new historical understandings that have emerged during the war’s centennial.

 

More
Public Program Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty 16 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. John Boles, Rice University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, ...

Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, contradictory, and quintessentially American of them all. This biography does not ignore aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today but strives to see him in full and understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. From his inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his heterodox abridgment of Christian belief, this book explores Jefferson’s expansive intellectual life and the profound impact of his ideas on the world.

More
Public Program Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian 20 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Aldous, Bard College in conversation with Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Drawing on oral histories, rarely seen archival documents, and the official Schlesinger papers, this ...

Drawing on oral histories, rarely seen archival documents, and the official Schlesinger papers, this biography crafts an invaluable portrait of a brilliant and controversial historian who framed America’s rise to global empire. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the architect of John F. Kennedy’s legacy, redefined the art of presidential biography. A Thousand Days, his best selling record of the Kennedy administration, remains immensely influential and cemented his place as one of the nation’s greatest political image makers.

More
Public Program The New Annotated African American Folktales 27 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University, and Maria Tatar, Harvard University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) This new publication presents nearly 150 African American stories, among them familiar Brer Rabbit ...

This new publication presents nearly 150 African American stories, among them familiar Brer Rabbit classics, but also stories like “The Talking Skull” and “Witches Who Ride,” as well as out-of-print tales from the 1890s’ Southern Workman. Arguing for the value of these stories as part of a sophisticated, complex, and heterogeneous cultural heritage, Gates and Tatar show how these stories deserve a place alongside the classic works of African American literature and American literature more broadly.

More
Public Program Revolution Song 30 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Russell Shorto, New York Times Magazine $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) With America’s founding principles being debated today as never before, Shorto looks back to ...

With America’s founding principles being debated today as never before, Shorto looks back to the era in which those principles were forged. Drawing on new sources, he weaves the lives of six people into a seamless narrative that casts fresh light on the range of experience in colonial America on the cusp of revolution. While some of the protagonists play major roles, others struggle no less valiantly. Through these lives we understand that the Revolution was, indeed, fought over the meaning of individual freedom.

More
December
Public Program Reforming Boston: Remaking the 19th-Century City 4 December 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM In this presentation and virtual exhibit, Professor Andrew Robichaud and students from Boston ...

In this presentation and virtual exhibit, Professor Andrew Robichaud and students from Boston University will present more than twenty rare artifacts and documents from the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. From prison and asylum reform, to education and temperance, to women’s rights and abolitionism, this presentation will explore many dimensions of reform in Boston. How did Boston reformers understand their changing world, and how did they understand social change and improvement?

Light refreshments will be served after the presentations.

More
Winter Scene, Newbury Street Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of ...

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer, celebrate the season, and wish a happy retirement to MHS President Emeritus Dennis Fiori. Holiday cocktail attire requested. RSVP by 1 December.

Not a Member? Join today!

More
More events
Public Program Looking West from the East 20 October 2017.Friday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Da Zheng, Suffolk University

 

 

Artist, poet, lecturer, and best selling author Chiang Yee is best known for his Silent Traveler books, which offered a Chinese perspective of London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Chiang was also good friends with historian, author, and Boston Athenaeum librarian Walt Whitehill, whose papers are at the MHS. This biographical sketch offers a unique perspective on America and the immigrant experience as well as a glimpse into the life of the Silent Traveler through one of his closest friendships.

close
Public Program The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography & the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost 21 October 2017.Saturday, 2:00PM - 3:00PM Peter Manseau, Smithsonian National Museum of American History

More than just a ghost story, this is a portrait of a young nation struggling to separate fact from fiction. Manseau details the trial of William H. Mumler, the “spirit photographer” who claimed he could take pictures of the souls of the dead, along with the battlefield exploits of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, the fathers of photojournalism who created frauds of their own. These stories offer a view of our nation’s obsession with the afterlife and our reluctance to choose science over fantasy.

close
Public Program Advise and Dissent? The Role of Public History in Modern Life 23 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30 pm. There is a $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Karilyn Crockett, Office of Economic Development, City of Boston; Brian W. J. LeMay, independent scholar; Richard Rabinowitz, American History Workshop and author, Curating America: Journeys through Storyscapes of the American Past; and Moderator Katheryn P. Viens, Massachusetts Historical Society

What is the role of historical organizations in a politically polarized environment, a world of “alternative facts” and a social fabric that is being torn apart by political and class divides? Many historians and public historical organizations are changing the way they work, offering their talents and skills as advocates and healers. Yet, they face a complex public. Some audience members embrace the opportunity to engage in dialogue over difficult issues. Others seek a more entertaining, escapist experience. Still others are alert to activities that appear to overstep the traditional role of museums or to signal that their own perspectives might be unwelcome. Some visitors yearn for the inclusion of minority viewpoints but consider museums too inherently biased to present these narratives. It is all a challenging prospect for organizations that are seeking to be truly inclusive and build broad public support. Join us for a compelling conversation.

close
Public Program Weird and Worrisome Tour 25 October 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM At Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Hosted by the MHS, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Jamaica Plain Historical Society Sold OUT

The tour will go on despite the bad weather! However, we will have it inside the Loring-Greenough House (12 South Street Jamaica Plain, MA 02130) rather than walking through the rain. 

All neighborhoods have secrets but some are stranger than others. Just in time for Halloween, we will explore Jamaica Plain in Boston. Participants will stop at sites of anarchist robberies, stuffed elephants, and a nervine asylum and hear tales of trainwrecks and things that lurk beneath the surface of Jamaica Pond. The tour is hosted in collaboration with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.

close
Public Program Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson 30 October 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. $20 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows) Gordon S. Wood, Brown University SOLD OUT -If you would like to be added to the wait-list, please email programs@masshist.org

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. 

 

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England’s middle classes, was a skeptic. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, but ultimately, their differences would lead to a crisis, in their friendship and the nation. But late in life these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a trickle of correspondence became a flood, and a friendship was rekindled.

 

close
Public Program The Devil and the Crown 4 November 2017.Saturday, 11:00AM - 5:30PM For more information about this event please contact Jim Hollister at 978-318-7829 or jim_hollister@nps.gov

Two hundred fifty years ago, the winds of change began to blow.  The French and Indian War was over and now the Crown looked for sources to help pay the bill.  The Stamp Act, a new tax directly applied to the colonies on legal documents, newspapers and more, would meet stiff resistance in the colonies, causing protest and eventual repeal.  Two years later, an alternative series of acts were created in the form of the Townshend Duties.  Like the Stamp Act before, urban communities in places like Boston would quickly coalesce and voice their opposition and protest Royal authority.  

Protest often took different forms. Those with property, the “better sorts,” would meet , discuss and draft petitions and organize boycotts.  Meanwhile, those of the laboring class, the “lower sorts,” who did not own enough property to vote, would voice their disapproval in the street and sometimes engage in mob violence. Each group had their own particular grievances with the Crown and ways to protest.

 
On Saturday, November 4, experience revolutionary politics “indoors” and “out-of-doors” as it would have happened 250 years ago. Participate in a live reenactment at Faneuil Hall of a Boston town meeting which took place in October 1767. Join in the discussion as local citizens argue over whether or not to stop importing British goods. Following the town meeting, join a rowdy procession of laboring-class Bostonians of 1767 from Faneuil Hall to the Old State House, as they express their disapproval of British trade policies in a rather colorful and intimidating way.

 

Schedule of events: 11:00 am to 5:30 pm: Saturday, November 4, 2017.  Free to all.

 11:00 am-2:00 pm. “Goods for Your Master, Taxes for Your King”

Come try your luck as a young apprentice in this colonial marketplace game.  Whether you buy, barter, or smuggle, the goal's the same: bring all your goods back to your employer and get promoted! This drop in program is best for ages 6-10, Faneuil Hall, Education Space, basement.

 1:00 - 4:30 pm: “Talk of the Town” - meet reenactors portraying Bostonians of different social classes in Samuel Adams Park, directly in front of Faneuil Hall, and learn about why they are protesting the new laws.

 2:30 and 4:00 pm:Revolutionary Town Meeting: 1767 Townshend Acts” Stand up! Speak Out! Join a lively meeting to debate Boston’s response to the hated Townshend Acts. Character cards are available. Free, 30 minutes, Faneuil Hall, Great Hall, second floor.

 5:00 pm: Procession from Faneuil Hall to Old State House, State Street, Boston, MA.

 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Dive into Boston’s Revolutionary past and explore the galleries inside the Old State House. Admission is free to all.

 The Devil and the Crow program is being offered as a joint program of Boston National Historical Park, Minute Man National Historical Park, The Bostonian Society, and Revolution 250, a program of MHS.  

close
Public Program The Weeping Angel: Letter and Poems from World War I France 8 November 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Mary Kelley, editor, and Christopher Capozzola, MIT $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Army recruitment posters proclaimed “Join up and be in France in 60 days.” Young high school graduate Hubert Kelley answered the call. Working as a soldier on the railroads in France during World War I, he found his vocation as a poet and writer through vivid letters to family. Kelley will describe her efforts to retrace the forgotten history of a perceptive observer of the war’s destruction, and Capozzola will comment on the letters’ contribution to new historical understandings that have emerged during the war’s centennial.

 

close
Public Program Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty 16 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. John Boles, Rice University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Jefferson challenges us more thoroughly than any other Founder; he was at once the most idealistic, contradictory, and quintessentially American of them all. This biography does not ignore aspects of Jefferson that trouble us today but strives to see him in full and understand him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. From his inspiring defenses of political and religious liberty to his heterodox abridgment of Christian belief, this book explores Jefferson’s expansive intellectual life and the profound impact of his ideas on the world.

close
Public Program Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian 20 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Richard Aldous, Bard College in conversation with Fredrik Logevall, Harvard University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

Drawing on oral histories, rarely seen archival documents, and the official Schlesinger papers, this biography crafts an invaluable portrait of a brilliant and controversial historian who framed America’s rise to global empire. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the architect of John F. Kennedy’s legacy, redefined the art of presidential biography. A Thousand Days, his best selling record of the Kennedy administration, remains immensely influential and cemented his place as one of the nation’s greatest political image makers.

close
Public Program The New Annotated African American Folktales 27 November 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University, and Maria Tatar, Harvard University $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

This new publication presents nearly 150 African American stories, among them familiar Brer Rabbit classics, but also stories like “The Talking Skull” and “Witches Who Ride,” as well as out-of-print tales from the 1890s’ Southern Workman. Arguing for the value of these stories as part of a sophisticated, complex, and heterogeneous cultural heritage, Gates and Tatar show how these stories deserve a place alongside the classic works of African American literature and American literature more broadly.

close
Public Program Revolution Song 30 November 2017.Thursday, 6:00PM - 7:00PM There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm. Russell Shorto, New York Times Magazine $10 registration fee per person. (No Charge for MHS Members or Fellows)

With America’s founding principles being debated today as never before, Shorto looks back to the era in which those principles were forged. Drawing on new sources, he weaves the lives of six people into a seamless narrative that casts fresh light on the range of experience in colonial America on the cusp of revolution. While some of the protagonists play major roles, others struggle no less valiantly. Through these lives we understand that the Revolution was, indeed, fought over the meaning of individual freedom.

close
Public Program Reforming Boston: Remaking the 19th-Century City 4 December 2017.Monday, 6:00PM - 7:30PM

In this presentation and virtual exhibit, Professor Andrew Robichaud and students from Boston University will present more than twenty rare artifacts and documents from the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society. From prison and asylum reform, to education and temperance, to women’s rights and abolitionism, this presentation will explore many dimensions of reform in Boston. How did Boston reformers understand their changing world, and how did they understand social change and improvement?

Light refreshments will be served after the presentations.

close
Member Event, Special Event MHS Fellows and Members Holiday Party 6 December 2017.Wednesday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM This event is open only to MHS Fellows and Members Winter Scene, Newbury Street

MHS Fellows and Members are invited to the Society’s annual holiday party. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer, celebrate the season, and wish a happy retirement to MHS President Emeritus Dennis Fiori. Holiday cocktail attire requested. RSVP by 1 December.

Not a Member? Join today!

close

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