Events

Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:30 PM8:00 PM
Help us celebrate Archaeology Month with archaeologist and author Dan Sivilich as he traces the history of musket balls and small shot, and explores their uses as lethal projectiles and in nonlethal alterations. Sivilich asks, and answers, a variety of questions to demonstrate how a musket ball found in a military context can help to interpret the site: Was it fired? What did it hit? What type of gun is it associated with? Has it been chewed, and if so, by whom or what? Was it hammered into gaming pieces? By equipping historians and archaeologists with the information necessary for answering these questions, Sivilich's accessible work opens new views into firing lines, casualty areas, and military camps. It dispels long-held misperceptions about lead shot having been bitten by humans, offers examples of shot altered to improve lethality, and discusses balls made of materials other than lead, such as pewter. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 pm with the talk to begin at 7 pm.
Thursday, October 19, 2017 7:00 PM8:30 PM
The Harvest is a community engagement initiative examining the history and consequences of our nation's failed effort to achieve racially integrated public schools. At the Deerfield Business Center's conference room, the discussions on the readings will be led by Mel Ptacek. The readings can be downloaded from the Mass Humanities' Harvest resources page. Registration is requested so we can keep the discussion group manageable. Parking is available.
Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:00 PM7:30 PM
Walk from Beacon Hill and into the South End on this tour of murder, mayhem, and mysticism. Meet the woman who lured Houdini to Boston, the Quaker hanged for her faith, and duelist who died on the Common. See the mass grave of soldiers and the club that changed fire laws across the country. It's a spooky walk through the city on a hill's less shining history. Learn about Bostonians behaving badly as we take a shadowy walk through Boston's neighborhoods and meet some of the "Frogpondians" who broke the rules and the law.
Thursday, October 19, 2017 7:00 PM9:00 PM
At a time when political polarization threatens effective governance in the United States, what can ordinary citizens do to bridge seemingly intractable political divides in our country? Using complexity science to explain the existing deadlock, Professor Peter Coleman will join us this fall to describe the opportunities that can emerge from the current political crisis.
Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:00 PM
Maria, a 17-year-old Mayan girl, lives and works with her parents on a coffee plantation in the foothills of an active volcano in Guatemala. An arranged marriage awaits her: her parents have promised her to Ignacio, the plantation overseer. But Maria doesn't sit back and accept her destiny. Pepe, a young coffee cutter who plans to migrate to the USA becomes her possible way out. Maria seduces Pepe in order to run away with him, but after promises and clandestine meetings, Pepe takes off, leaving her pregnant, alone and in disgrace. There's no time to lose for Maria's mother, who thinks abortion is the only solution. Sponsored by the Holyoke Community College Public Humanities Center.
Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:00PM7:00PM
This lecture outlines the aspirational function performed by African American military photography, especially photographic portraiture, and its evolution from the Civil War to WWI. It demonstrates to show the subjects in such images - far from merely posing for the historical record - enact a hopeful manliness. They are hopeful insofar as they look beyond the proven precocities of black American social and material life toward an imagined future in the US, the hope of which is, on its face, a leap of faith and an act of resistance all at once. Every pose of the black masculine subject, then, is a counterpoise to subjections real and representational. Maurice Wallace, associate director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia, will present the topic and Strong Eagle Daly, Nipmuc flutist, will play a tribute to his ancestors preceding the lecture.
Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:00 PM
Maurice Wallace, associate director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, University of Virginia, will present the topic . We Look Like Men: Early Photography, War, and the Double-Bind of Black Manhood. Strong Eagle Daly, Nipmuc flutist, will play a tribute to his ancestors preceding the lecture.
  • Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury Street
  • Worcester, Worcester County, MA (Central)
  • contact: (508)799-4406
  • web: www.worcesterart.org/events/master-series/#upcoming
  • cost: Free with Museum admission. Free for college students with current / valid I.D.
  • funded by Mass Humanities
Saturday, October 21, 2017 12:00 PM4:00 PM
Liberty and Union Weekend is an annual celebration of the unique role that the City of Taunton played in our nation's founding. The Weekend is held each fall to commemorate the events of October 1774, when Taunton became the first community in the American colonies to raise a flag the "Liberty and Union" flag in opposition to British rule. Liberty and Union Weekend 2017 will feature a tavern tour on Friday, October 20 and a festival on Saturday, October 21, with activities for residents and visitors of all ages. Programs will include 18th century re-enactors and artisans, farming and livestock displays, a ceremonial flag-raising, and free pumpkin decorating for children. There will be food, fun, and lots to see and do. You won't want to miss it!
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 6:00 PM8:00 PM
The Harvest is a community engagement initiative examining the history and consequences of our nation's failed effort to achieve racially integrated public schools. At the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club, the discussion on the readings will be led by Fran Smith. The readings can be downloaded from the Mass Humanities resources page. 2 hour parking on Green Street and Main Street. 5-7 min walk from Community College.
  • Charlestown Boys and Girls Club, 15 Green Street (3rd floor)
  • Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • contact: (617) 726-0059
  • email: scoughlin1@partners.org
  • cost: Free
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 7:00 PM
Mass Humanities and Harvard Book Store welcome MIKE DUNCAN — creator of the award-winning podcast "The History of Rome" — for a discussion of his latest book, "The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic." The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. After its founding in 509 BCE, the Romans refused to allow a single leader to seize control of the state and grab absolute power. The Roman commitment to cooperative government and peaceful transfers of power was unmatched in the history of the ancient world.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 7:00 PM9:00 PM
Author and Jefferson-Hemings Descendent Shannon Lanier and Author and Photographer Jane Feldman will give an interactive, multimedia presentation that explores the meaning of race, its influence on personal identity and our interrelatedness as Americans.
  • Monument Mountain Regional High School, 600 Stockbridge Road
  • Great Barrington, Berkshire County, MA (Berkshire)
  • contact: (413) 528-3346
  • web: www.bhrsd.org
  • cost: Free
  • funded by Mass Humanities
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 6:30 PM
2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War One. As the U.S. joined the conflict, breweries strove to stay in business even as the tide towards Prohibition grew and the supplies of needed grain began to diminish. Rising anti-German sentiment further reduced the demand for beer. Come join us at Aeronaut Brewing Company to learn more about and how these dynamics impacted businesses in Somerville and across the country with historian and Somerville resident Dan Breen of Brandeis University. The talk will be followed by a special performance by celebrated jazz and bluegrass violinist Matt Glaser and Joe "Sonny" Barbato, a pioneering voice in jazz accordion, performing WWI and early Prohibition-era music.
  • Aeronaut Brewing Company, 14 Tyler Street
  • Somerville, Middlesex County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • web: www.aeronautbrewing.com/
  • email: (617) 987-4236
  • cost: Free. Food and beverage available for purchase.
  • funded by Mass Humanities
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 7:30 PM9:00 PM
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that there are more than 700 Confederate monuments in America's public spaces, along with hundreds of schools, streets, and communities named for Confederate icons. Historian, educator, and author Kevin Levin, who has blogged at "Civil War Memory" for more than a decade, will discuss the historical origins of these monuments — their connection to "Lost Cause" remembrance of the Civil War and the Jim Crow era of the 20th century — and how the divisive current debate over their future connects to our nation's memory of slavery.
  • Royall House And Slave Quarters, 15 George Street
  • Medford, Middlesex County, MA (Metrowest Boston)
  • contact: 781-396-9032
  • web: www.RoyallHouse.org
  • email: Director@RoyallHouse.org
  • cost: Free for RH&SQ members; $10 non-members.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 7:00 PM8:00 PM
Join us for "Beyond Boston Busing," a reading circle hosted in partnership with Mass Humanities and discussion facilitated by Daniel Osborn. We will discuss the history of Boston desegregation and its connection to the film, "The Harvest." which explores the legacy of public school integration in Leland, Mississippi. Douglas Blackmon, co-producer of the film, will lead a panel discussion on November 1st with members from the Boston community who experienced the social and political turmoil of the Boston busing crisis. Reading materials are available at The Harvest Reading Circles. All participants are encouraged to read the articles before attending the Reading Circle event, and before the November 1st screening and panel discussion of "The Harvest." The readings can be downloaded from the Mass Humanities Harvest resources page. Street parking available and limited space available in Facing History parking lot.
  • Facing History and Ourselves, 16 Hurd Road
  • Brookline, Norfolk County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • contact: (617) 735-1625
  • email: princess_johnson@facing.org
  • cost: Free
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 6:00 PM7:30 PM
Join Curator of Special Collections Curt DiCamillo for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of the art held within the walls of the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library and Archives, including, European masterpieces, American portraiture, early furniture, and other artifacts. View a rarely seen Copley, an original piece from John Hancock's drawing room, an exquisite example of 18th-century quilling, and other fine examples of American decorative arts. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the NEHGS fine art collection with an internationally recognized art historian as your guide. Reception to follow.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 5:30 PM7:30 PM
This evening of listening and discussion is hosted by The GroundTruth Project and WGBH Radio as part of the podcast series: The New American Songbook. The event will include excerpts from the audio documentary "Cambodia Reincarnate," which tells the story of a young drummer who survived the Khmer Rouge, and how that same music is kept alive in Lowell, MA. The documentary will be followed by a Q&A with producer Heidi Shin and a panel discussion with artists, scholars and community leaders.
  • The MCC Federal Building Library, Assembly Room, 50 Kearney Square
  • Lowell, Middlesex County, MA (Northeast)
  • contact: (781) 280-3678
  • email: cadyd@middlesex.mass.edu
  • cost: free
  • funded by Mass Humanities
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 7:00 PM8:30 PM
A swarm of angry villagers emerges from the mist, torches lit and pitchforks drawn. Marching through the darkness, they hunt a monster, spurred on by fear and screaming for retribution. Are they coming to save the day, or do they blindly seek to crush that which is more misunderstood than menacing? What happens when actions meant to protect society go terribly wrong? As has become our Halloween tradition, Professors Gino DiIorio (Theater), James Elliott (English), and Jennifer Plante (The Writing Center) will read scary stories that turn our attention from the fear of the monster to the fear of the mob. This event is sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities at Clark University.
Thursday, October 26, 2017 5:30 PM7:30 PM
The Harvest is a community engagement initiative examining the history and consequences of our nation's failed effort to achieve racially integrated public schools. At Urban Edge, the discussions on the readings will be led by Fran Smith. Readings can be downloaded from the Mass Humanities Harvest resources page. Urban Edge is located across the street from the Jackson Square Orange Line MBTA stop.
Saturday, October 28, 2017 4:00 PM5:00 PM
The Framingham History Center presents a spooky Halloween tradition that began at the Old Burying Ground has moved to this beautiful "garden cemetery" modeled after Mount Auburn in Cambridge. Join us for a stroll and visit with some of the luminaries buried here. You will hear from: Mary Eames who was the first person interred at Edgell Grove; mapmaker Warren Nixon; General George Gordon and his wife Lizzie; historian, Josiah Temple, and a Revolutionary War soldier who died of smallpox and was reinterred in the soldier's lot before developers destroyed his original grave behind Framingham's "pest house." There are others who are waiting to tell you their tales, but we don't want to spoil their surprise! Content is most suited for ages 8+ and wear appropriate footwear for hilly terrain. Refreshments following the tour at Plymouth Church. Rain date - November 5th.
Saturday, October 28, 2017 10:00 AM4:00 PM
Come celebrate Halloween at the Museum! All visitors in costume will receive free admission for a guided tour of the Museum.
Saturday, October 28, 2017 1:30 PM3:00PM
John F. Gallagher served over thirty years on the Boston Police Department and retired at the rank of superintendent. As a command staff member, he was the department's chief of detectives. His interest in history and genealogy and his background in criminal investigation motivated him to write about these century-old murders on the South Shore. John and his wife, Jeanne, live in Hanover, Massachusetts. Gallagher published his third book, "A Monument to Her Grief: The Sturtevant Murders of Halifax, Massachusetts." Nearly 150 years ago, the Massachusetts state constabulary launched an investigation into the brutal murders of three elderly people at their farmhouse on Thompson Street in rural Halifax. The story of the murders and the aftermath has been passed down through the generations and has become part of local lore. Until now, no comprehensive, definitive account has been published. Refreshments will be served at 1:30 pm with the talk to begin at 2 pm.
Saturday, October 28, 2017 2:00 PM3:30 PM
The Harvest is a community engagement initiative examining the history and consequences of our nation's failed effort to achieve racially integrated public schools. At the Deerfield Business Center's conference room, the discussions on the readings will be led by Mel Ptacek. The readings can be downloaded from the Mass Humanities' Harvest resources page. Registration is requested so we can keep the discussion group manageable. Parking is available.
Sunday, October 29, 2017 4:00 PM6:00 PM
Recently discovered historical images by photographer William Bullard spark numerous questions about community, its meaning, and how we remember it. The site of most of Bullard's photographs of people of color-the vital, diverse Beaver Brook neighborhood in Worcester-now largely consists of empty lots. How does loss of place impact the memory of a community? What are the implications to an entire city, such as Worcester, when the histories of individual neighborhoods are overlooked? Cheryll Toney Holley (Sonksq and historian, Nipmuc Nation) and Janette Thomas Greenwood (Professor of History, Clark University) will discuss by how the Bullard photographs can help us reconstruct this neighborhood, its families, and their stories, suggesting lessons we can learn about community and memory today.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 7:00 PM9:00 PM
Join us for the screening of a new documentary film, "The Harvest" co-produced by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/historian Douglas Blackmon. The film explores the legacy of public school integration in Blackmon's home town of Leland, Mississippi. The film will be followed by a panel discussion.
Thursday, November 2, 2017 6:00 PM8:00 PM
Historical novelist William Martin's next book, "The Mother Lode," is due out in the fall of 2017. This work continues his lifelong epic of American history with the further adventures of Boston rare-book dealer Peter Fallon and his girlfriend, Evangeline Carrington. This time, they are headed to California, where their search for a lost journal takes them into the history of the Gold Rush and gets them into plenty of trouble, too. The journal follows a group of young men who journey by sea from staid Boston to wild San Francisco, then travel up into the gold country, where they confront greed, racism, and themselves in an epic tale of adventure. Join the author for the final lecture in the Seven Lectures at Seven Gables and learn about his research and writing process. A book signing will follow the lecture.
  • The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street
  • Salem, Essex County, MA (Northeast)
  • contact: (978) 744-0991 x152
  • web: www.7Gables.org
  • email: jarrison@7Gables.org
  • cost: $7, free for Gables members
  • funded by Mass Humanities
Thursday, November 2, 2017 6:00 PM7:00 PM
Join us for an informal discussion with Denis Boucher. Denis' book is short, but spans his 31 years working at Nichols & Stone from 'Floor Boy' to Plant Manager. He covers topics from imports and American made items, the stress of knowing the company was going to close, and watching the machinery they worked on everyday be auctioned off and torn out of the building. He also explains why furniture is a "people job", why he's always flipping chairs over to look at the bottom of the seat, and much more. You are welcome to ask questions and share your own experiences. You do not have to have read his book yet to participate in the conversation. If you'd like, you can sit and read his story during open hours at the Heywood Memorial Library in the local history room or in the Chair City Community Workshop.
  • Chair City Community Workshop, 306 Central Street
  • Gardner, Worcester County, MA (Central)
  • contact: (865) 696-6733
  • email: peopleyoumaymeet@gmail.com
  • cost: Free
  • funded by Mass Humanities
Friday, November 3, 2017 5:15 PM6:15 PM
The free Capp's Lecture at the National Humanities Conference features Dr. Craig Steven Wilder and is sponsored in part by The Lowell Institute and Mass Humanities. Join Dr. Craig Steven Wilder as he traces the origins of one of New York City's most iconic high schools to the old Dutch slaveholding village of Flatbush in order to explain the multiple "lives" of the school and to encourage rethinking the early history of public education. Dr. Wilder is a historian of American ideas and institutions and author of several books, including his most recent, "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities," which Kirkus Reviews named one of the best nonfiction books of the year. He is also a senior fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative and has advised and appeared in several historical documentaries, including Ken Burns' "Race Man."
Friday, November 3, 2017 12:00 PM1:30 PM
Cultural historian Mabel O. Wilson (Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation), who has written about the National African American Museum of History and Culture and was a designer of the University of Virginia's Memorial for Enslaved African American Laborers, explores current and historical intersections of race, architecture, and the public realm. This event is part of the African American Intellectual Culture Series, and it is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities, Africana Studies, the Department of Political Science through the Chester Bland Fund, and the Office of the Provost at Clark University.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 7:00 PM8:30 PM
Author, performer, and practitioner Terri Kapsalis draws upon the history of radical clinics linked to political movements such as the Black Panther Party and the Women's Health Movement, addressing the continued need to expand economic and geographic access to quality health care and offering a vision of what radical health care has been and what it can be. This event is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities;the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies; and Women's and Gender Studies at Clark University.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 7:00 PM8:30 PM
Socially engaged art exists at the intersection between powerful symbolic statements and quantifiable political change. Rooted in the long history of artistic traditions and more recent upheavals and revolutions, socially engaged art has the power to interrogate privilege and inequity as well as identity-based pretexts for social and political discrimination. William Chambers, instructor at Massachusetts Bay Community College and Visual Arts Chair at the Bancroft School, will present a series of case studies that demonstrate the complex interplay between theory and practice, precedents and challenges found in a field that exists at once in the heart of our social and artistic spheres and nowhere at all. This event is sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities at Clark University.
Saturday, November 11, 2017 1:00 PM4:00 PM
Members of the Taunton Area Vietnam Veterans Association will share a slideshow presentation at 2pm and memories of their experiences during the Vietnam War. They will also bring military memorabilia as well as items from their time in Vietnam, including a Montagnard crossbow and sword, shrapnel from a 122mm rocket, and a piece of a Skycrane helicopter. The Taunton Area Vietnam Veterans Association (TAVVA) will never let anyone forget the sacrifices made by those that served their country in Vietnam. This program is a wonderful way of remembering "those that gave some and those that gave all." TAVVA is a non-profit organization. Based in Taunton Massachusetts, it was officially founded in January of 1983 by five Vietnam Veterans and one Korean Veteran.
Saturday, November 11, 2017 9:00 AM4:00 PM
Jane Addams (1860-1935) may be the most important American woman that most people today have barely heard of. A disciple of Lincoln, Tolstoy, and Gandhi, Addams was an astute critic of Gilded Age capitalism and advocate for economic and social justice. She was a pioneering feminist, suffragist, internationalist, peace activist, ethicist, co-founder of the NAACP, the ACLU, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Yet today she has all but vanished from the pantheon of popular American history. Please join us for the first public gathering to revisit the life and legacies of Jane Addams and reflect on how her work is carried on today in the Pioneer Valley. Panelists will include Addams scholars, practitioners in fields she influenced, and representatives of vulnerable populations. General audience discussion will be encouraged.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 7:30 PM9:00 PM
Playwright and author Patrick Gabridge will discuss his novel based on the thrilling true story of Robert Smalls, an enslaved ship's pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, who in 1862 stole a Confederate steamship and delivered it -- along with the crew and their families -- to the Union blockade. Smalls was later elected to the South Carolina State legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. Patrick Gabridge is the author of two other novels and many short and full-length plays, including "Blood on the Snow," a site-specific play about the day after the Boston Massacre performed the last two summers at Boston's Old State House.
  • Royall House and Slave Quarters, 15 George Street
  • Medford, Middlesex County, MA (Metrowest Boston)
  • contact: 781-396-9032
  • web: www.RoyallHouse.org
  • email: Director@RoyallHouse.org
  • cost: Free for RH&SQ members; $10 non-members.
Monday, December 4, 2017 6:30PM
While green design and urban open space initiatives enjoy great popularity today, nearly 150 years ago a residential development that integrated dense, working-class housing with ample green space arose in Jamaica Plain. In 1871, the wealthy industrialist John Amory Lowell subdivided his familial estate Bromley Vale into a residential garden square that he rechristened Bromley Park. Similar to Boston's South End squares, Bromley Park consisted of an extensive central garden area surrounded by brick rowhouses. However, Bromley Park was much larger and densely-populated than both American and European architectural precedents. Over its nearly 80 year existence, the site became home to thousands of both local and immigrant working-class families. Though Bromley Park was demolished in the mid-20th century to make way for the Bromley/Heath public housing development (now the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments), its design and history reveal a striking vision of how nature and housing could be interwoven into an increasingly dense urban fabric. Sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society.
  • Connolly Branch of the Boston Public Library, 433 Centre St
  • Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • web: www.jphs.org
  • cost: Free, light refreshments served

Exhibits

Thursday, September 7, 2017 1:00 PMSaturday, December 23, 2017 4:00 PM
The Chair City Oral History Book Series honors the people who made the product that defines Chair City, while bringing the community together to celebrate the legacy, values, and skills of furniture workers. In this project, first-hand accounts from furniture workers are made into hand-crafted books using a vintage letterpress and hand-binding techniques. The books are all made by volunteers right in downtown Gardner at the Chair City Community Workshop. This exhibit focuses on the stories of people who worked at Nichols & Stone, the last large furniture factory to close in Gardner in 2008. The exhibit also shows examples of the antique tools and old-fashioned techniques that are used to print and bind the books. The exhibit runs during regular museum opening hours Wednesday-Sunday 1-4 pm.
Saturday, September 9, 2017 10:00 AMFriday, December 22, 2017 4:00 PM
Andover's special places are as diverse as the community itself. The Places juried art show, on exhibit September 9 through December 22, 2017, at the Andover Historical Society, 97 Main Street, Andover, features original works of art inspired by Andover's many special places. Thirty-five original works of art by 20 artists from Andover and as far away as Acton and Dunstable were selected for the show. Watercolor, acrylic, and oil paintings will be on display along with works in decoupage and clay. Places is supported by Andover Historical Society, Andover Cultural Council, Andover Artists Guild, Essex Art Center, Andover PK-12 Visual & Performing Arts Department, artists and community members.
Saturday, October 14, 2017 10:00 AMFriday, February 25, 2028 4:00 PM
Itinerant photographer William Bullard left behind a trove of over 5,400 glass negatives at the time of his death in 1918. Among these negatives are over 230 portraits of African Americans and Native Americans mostly from the Beaver Brook community in Worcester,MA. This exhibit features eighty of these unprinted and heretofore unpublished photographs. that otherwise may have been lost to history. Bullard's identification of over 80% of his sitters makes this collection especially rare and enables this exhibition to tell specific stories about individuals and recreate a more accurate historical context. Moreover, Bullard's portraits examine the role of photography as the vehicle for "a new Black identity" during the nascent years of the New Negro movement. Offering a photographic narrative of migration and resettlement in the aftermath of Emancipation and Reconstruction, Bullard's portraits address larger themes involving race in American history, many of which remain relevant today, notably, the story of people of color claiming their rightful place in society as well as the fundamentally American story of migration, immigration, and the creation of a community in new surroundings.

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