Events

Sunday, September 8, 2019 1:30 PMSunday, September 8, 2109 3:00 PM
Join Partnership of Historic Bostons as we follow in the footsteps of early Bostonians by taking our fabulous Founders Trail tour. Strolling through the area of Boston's original settlement, you'll learn about the city's first English settlers, from governor John Winthrop to the charismatic and controversial Anne Hutchinson. Who were the Puritans, and how did they differ from Pilgrims? Why did they leave their homes in England? What did they find when they got here, and why was Boston, then known to the local tribe as the Shawmut Peninsula, chosen as the heart of the new Massachusetts Bay Colony? With our experienced and knowledgeable tour guides, you'll visit the Founders Memorial, the sites of the Great Spring, the first Puritan Meeting House, and more.
  • Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street
  • Boston, Suffolk County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • web: bit.ly/30vZfmf
  • cost: Free
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 6:00 PM7:00 PM
Author Susan Ronald discusses the publishing legend in her latest biography the publishing legend. The inaugural "American Inspiration" author series launches at the venerable New England Historic Genealogical Society in Back Bay with an in-depth discussion with British-American author Susan Ronald. She will discuss her new book on the life and legacy of Conde Nast, the publishing legend known for such magazines as Vogue and Vanity Fair. A Q&A session and book signing will follow and future events this fall will include other well-known authors discussing inspiring Americans in our nation's cultural, political and social history.
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 6:00 PM7:30 PM
Judith Graham will examine the challenges of rearing children in the New World. An examination of childhood in seventeenth and early eighteenth century Massachusetts, with an emphasis on the family life of the diarist, councilor, and judge Samuel Sewall (1652-1729) and his wife Hannah (Hull) Sewall, and of their contemporaries. How did they approach birth, the illness and death of children, discipline, religious and secular education, preparation for a religious calling, courtship and marriage, and intergenerational relationships? What evidence have historians gathered to illuminate Puritan family life? Judith Graham earned a BA in history from Brandeis University and a PhD in history at Boston College. She is the author of "Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall."
Thursday, September 19, 2019 5:00 PM
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831, during the post-Colonial era that would help define America's identity. This series of 5 short plays, staged at sites across the landscape, will bring to life the drama, philosophies, and struggles shared by Mount Auburn founders Jacob Bigelow, by sculptors Edmonia Lewis and Martin Milmore, and by strong women like Harriot Kezia Hunt and Charlotte Cushman who sought new opportunities beyond the social norms of the time. This journey through the American experience concludes with an immigrant story, featuring some of Mount Auburn's Armenian residents. Experience the personalities and drama that lie at the heart of America's first large-scale designed landscape open to the public.
Saturday, September 21, 2019 5:00 PM
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831, during the post-Colonial era that would help define America's identity. This series of 5 short plays, staged at sites across the landscape, will bring to life the drama, philosophies, and struggles shared by Mount Auburn founders Jacob Bigelow, by sculptors Edmonia Lewis and Martin Milmore, and by strong women like Harriot Kezia Hunt and Charlotte Cushman who sought new opportunities beyond the social norms of the time. This journey through the American experience concludes with an immigrant story, featuring some of Mount Auburn's Armenian residents. Experience the personalities and drama that lie at the heart of America's first large-scale designed landscape open to the public.
Saturday, September 21, 2019 1:00 PM
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831, during the post-Colonial era that would help define America's identity. This series of 5 short plays, staged at sites across the landscape, will bring to life the drama, philosophies, and struggles shared by Mount Auburn founders Jacob Bigelow, by sculptors Edmonia Lewis and Martin Milmore, and by strong women like Harriot Kezia Hunt and Charlotte Cushman who sought new opportunities beyond the social norms of the time. This journey through the American experience concludes with an immigrant story, featuring some of Mount Auburn's Armenian residents. Experience the personalities and drama that lie at the heart of America's first large-scale designed landscape open to the public.
Saturday, September 21, 2019 12:00 PM4:00 PM
Referred to as a "neighborhood hidden gem" by the Beacon Hill Times, don't miss this opportunity to tour this beautiful Federal period mansion across from the Boston Common and experience what life was like for an affluent Beacon Hill family in the 1800's. Voted as one of the top 8 examples of Federal architecture by Boston Curbed, and one of the Seven Boston house museums to visit by Boston Magazine, Prescott House was built in 1808 for the Boston merchant, James Smith Colburn. The land was owned by John Singleton Copley, America's most accomplished colonial portrait painter. Tours every hour on Saturdays: September 7, 14, 21, 28. Free admission on 9/21, Smithsonian Museum Day.
Monday, September 23, 2019 6:00 PM8:00 PM
In partnership with Central Square Theater, we invite artists David Fichter, Eryn Johnson, and Vincent Siders to discuss how the arts can serve as a catalyst for -- or reaction to -- change. We ask, how is their work informed by a history of social justice in the arts? Does this build on a legacy of such work in Cambridge? Dr. Marty Blatt will moderate the conversation. This event is part of Central Square Theater's Central Conversations series and the final History Cafe of 2019.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 1:00 PM
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831, during the post-Colonial era that would help define America's identity. This series of 5 short plays, staged at sites across the landscape, will bring to life the drama, philosophies, and struggles shared by Mount Auburn founders Jacob Bigelow, by sculptors Edmonia Lewis and Martin Milmore, and by strong women like Harriot Kezia Hunt and Charlotte Cushman who sought new opportunities beyond the social norms of the time. This journey through the American experience concludes with an immigrant story, featuring some of Mount Auburn's Armenian residents. Experience the personalities and drama that lie at the heart of America's first large-scale designed landscape open to the public.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 5:00 PM
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831, during the post-Colonial era that would help define America's identity. This series of 5 short plays, staged at sites across the landscape, will bring to life the drama, philosophies, and struggles shared by Mount Auburn founders Jacob Bigelow, by sculptors Edmonia Lewis and Martin Milmore, and by strong women like Harriot Kezia Hunt and Charlotte Cushman who sought new opportunities beyond the social norms of the time. This journey through the American experience concludes with an immigrant story, featuring some of Mount Auburn's Armenian residents. Experience the personalities and drama that lie at the heart of America's first large-scale designed landscape open to the public.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 6:00 PM7:30 PM
Mark Peterson will examine the financial network that supported the New England colonies. Upon arriving in North America, the Puritans created a new financial system to help manage life in the New World, and also to help them interact with the Old. The development of a viable money supply was necessary to support overseas trade and keep New England's colonists connected to the transatlantic network of English dissenting religion. How did they build an economy from the ground up? Mark Peterson, PhD is the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of History at Yale University. In two previous books and his other writings, Professor Peterson has examined the relationship between the growth of Puritan religious culture and the expansion of economic and political power in Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 10:00 AM11:30 AM
An exploration of the Puritans' challenging first years in North America. The walking tour "Survival: Boston 1630 to 1635" explores the story of the first, dangerous years, when nearly half the original Puritans either died or fled back to England and how, by 1635, they combined their collective skills and religious beliefs to build Boston and create New England against daunting odds. We are an all-volunteer organization whose sole mission is providing the public with accurate history of 17th-century Puritan Boston. Donations are gratefully accepted. You can become a Member of the Partnership with a donation of $35 or more. We'll meet on the front steps of the State House.
Thursday, September 26, 2019 6:00 PM7:00 PM
The venerable New England Historic Genealogical Society located in Boston's Back Bay hosts their second in-depth book discussion as part of their "American Inspiration" author series highlighting inspiring Americans in our nation's cultural, political and social history. This time biographer Brian Jay Jones discusses his newest book on creative genius, Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. A Q&A session and book signing will follow and future events this fall will include other well-known authors.
Friday, September 27, 2019 1:00 PM2:30 PM
Captain Myles Standish was one of about 102 passengers who crossed the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower nearly 400 years ago. Made famous by Longfellow's The Courtship of Myles Standish, thousands of his descendants can be found around the world. Join genealogist and author Gary Boyd Roberts to learn about the English ancestry and notable descendants of Myles Standish and view papers donated to NEHGS by descendant Wesley Weyman Standish. In partnership with the Society of Myles Standish Descendants and presented by Gary Boyd Roberts and Tim Salls.
Saturday, September 28, 2019 2:00 PM4:30 PM
How are students raising questions and demanding action around identity and collective memory? Don't miss two documentary short films that highlight the work of students who are speaking up for change. One group of mostly Mexican-American students seeks to repatriate General Santa Anna's prosthetic leg and address the legacy of the Mexican-American war. A second group of students confronts anti-immigrant sentiment in their library catalog that becomes a flashpoint in the Capitol Hill immigration debate. Presented in connection with the exhibition America Transformed: Mapping the 19th Century at the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center. Discussion to follow.
Sunday, September 29, 2019 2:00 PM3:30 PM
Look into the past for a tour of Boston's Old West End. Once a thriving multi-cultural neighborhood representing 23 nationalities, The West End was transformed during a Government-sponsored Urban Renewal Program starting in the late 1950s and lasting through the 1960s. The project displaced over 2,500 families amounting to over 10,000 people. Concurrently, the City Hall Plaza project (through separate funding) forced the demise of Scollay Square - the commercial, entertainment and cultural center of the neighborhood. Lost were relics such as the Old Howard, The Boston Museum (think P.T. Barnum), and the Elizabeth Peabody House. In its place, just a few small plaques commemorate 300 years of lost history. Highlights include: The West End Museum, The Last Tenement Standing, The West End Settlement House, The Old West End Church, The West End Library, Bowdoin Square and Scollay Square.
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 6:00 PM7:30 PM
David D. Hall will examine the values that shaped civil life in Puritan New England. Given a free hand to form colony and town governments, what values did the people who arrived in New England in the 1630's bring to this process? How did these values shape the making of a legal system, rules about who could vote, and especially, who could participate in civic life? David D. Hall has written widely on the religious, social, and political culture of 17th century New England.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 3:00 PM5:00 PM
Join us for a panel discussion program of recognized humanities scholars, organized around the presentation of "My Name is Opukahaia," a one-person play written by Moses Goods that sets the story of Opukahaia into a narrative of Hawaiian agency. This story, historically used in New England by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to recruit missionaries and provide funding for the mission to the Sandwich Islands, is at its core, a Hawaiian story. As the first Hawaiian Christian, today he is the subject of an intense debate about his role in Hawaii's history.
Thursday, October 10, 2019 6:00 PM7:30 PM
In the 17th-century, reconciling civil order and religious zeal was a daunting task. Quaker interventions, transatlantic pressures and official responses shaped the politics of toleration in Massachusetts Bay. Though frameworks for broad-based religious liberty were beginning to circulate, few people in this era were willing to subordinate their religious beliefs to ideas of human rationality. Religious tolerance in the Puritan world was shaped by official response, transatlantic pressures, and Quaker interventions. How did these religious dissenters build a strong and lasting civil order? Adrian Chastain Weimer PhD, associate professor of history at Providence College, discusses the effect of the Quakers on Puritan civil order.
Saturday, October 12, 2019 2:00 PM4:30 PM
Join us for a screening of the new feature documentary, "Orchestrating Change" that tells the inspiring story of the only orchestra in the world created by and for people living with mental illness and those who support them. Based in Boston, this extraordinary orchestra is changing the lives of these musicians in ways they never imagined.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:00 PM7:30 PM
Come learn about how Puritans have been represented in print and illustration from the 1630's to the 1930's with Peter Drummey of MHS. From the 1630s to the 1930s, the Puritans were stigmatized and chastised in literature as dour, joyless and oppressing. H.L. Menckin's epigram, "Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy," summarizes much of the first 300 years of Puritan historiography. But against the background of the Great War, Depression and Prohibition, the heavens began to open and Puritan society was examined in a new light. In 1930, historian S.E. Morison wrote "My attitude toward seventeenth-century puritanism has passed through scorn and boredom to a warm interest and respect." How did the literary portrayal of the Puritans change, and how does that change help us understand our national history? Peter Drummey is the Stephen T. Riley Librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He was appointed MHS Librarian in 2004, having joined MHS in 1978. Mr. Drummey serves on the board of Plymouth 400 and is a member of the American Antiquarian Society.
Saturday, October 26, 2019 11:00 AM12:00 PM
Join the Jamaica Plain Historical Society and author Heli Meltsner, who will talk about her new book "The Arts & Crafts Houses of Massachusetts: A Style Rediscovered." At the opening of the 20th century, Massachusetts architects struggled to create an authentic new look that would reflect their clients' increasingly informal way of life. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, the result was a charming style that proved especially appropriate for the rapidly expanding suburbs and vacation houses in the state--charming but overlooked, principally because the style is somewhat difficult to describe. Meticulously researched and with abundant color photos, the book is the only work focusing on the state's Arts and Crafts domestic architecture and the only one to include an illustrated field guide. It is also the first book to explore the use of this cutting-edge style in designing buildings for estate servants, transit workers, and renters--groups that historically lacked access to professionally designed homes. Several of the houses featured in the book are in the Woodbourne section of Jamaica Plain! Heli Meltsner is a long-time historic preservation consultant, author and editor. She is curator of the Cambridge Historical Society and serves on Cambridge's Avon Hill neighborhood conservation district commission.
  • Connolly Branch Library, 433 Centre St
  • Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • contact: 617-522-1960
  • web: www.jphs.org
  • email: connolly@bpl.org
  • cost: Free, light refreshments served
Sunday, October 27, 2019 3:00 PM4:30 PM
Two of the nation's leading scholars join together for their first onstage conversation. Danielle Allen and Jill Lepore will explore the role of historians in society, and the importance of history in a democracy. How can the study of the past inform a nation grappling with issues of identity, citizenship, and misinformation? In an era of contentious debates about historical events and figures, what forces influence public memory?
  • Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Columbia Point
  • Boston, Suffolk County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • contact: (413) 584-8440
  • web: masshumanities.org/programs/forum/
  • cost: Free
  • funded by Mass Humanities
Sunday, October 27, 2019 5:00 PM
Join Mass Humanities in conferring the Governor's Award upon four exemplary honorees whose public actions have been grounded in an appreciation of the humanities and have enhanced civic life in the Commonwealth. The honorees: Danielle Allen, Lee Blake, Nancy Donahue, and Jeffrey Mussman. Reception begins at 5:00 PM, followed by dinner and The Governor's Awards in the Humanities.
Thursday, November 14, 2019 5:30 PM7:45 PM
Join us for a screening of the new feature documentary, "Orchestrating Change" that tells the inspiring story of the only orchestra in the world created by and for people living with mental illness and those who support them. Based in Boston, this extraordinary orchestra is reducing stigma one concert at a time and changing the lives of these musicians in ways they never imagined.
Saturday, November 23, 2019 11:30 AM1:30 PM
Join us for a powerful panel and video screening exploring the legacy of Mass Rock Against Racism (RAR). RAR was designed to address some of the racial divides that had been inflamed during the Boston School Desegregation offering teens a safe and nourishing place to both think critically about issues of race and class, and explore their creativity through music, dance, video production, and cross-cultural learning and sharing.

Exhibits

Saturday, May 4, 2019 Sunday, November 10, 2019
During the 19th century, the United States expanded dramatically westward. Immigrant settlers rapidly spread across the continent and transformed it, often through violent or deceptive means, from ancestral Native lands and borderlands teeming with diverse communities to landscapes that fueled the rise of industrialized cities. Historical maps, images and related objects tell the story of the sweeping changes made to the physical, cultural, and political landscape. Moving beyond the mythologized American frontier, this map exhibition explores the complexity of factors that shaped our country over the century.
Thursday, September 19, 2019 Sunday, March 1, 2020
A new exhibit exploring how the African meeting House fortified Boston's 19th-century African American community by providing a space for cultural expression.
  • Museum of African American History, 46 Joy Street
  • Boston, Suffolk County, MA (Greater Boston)
  • contact: 617-725-0022
  • web: www.maah.org
  • email: charrington@maah.org
  • cost: $10 museum admission ($8 for seniors 62+ or students, free for children 12 and under
  • funded by Mass Humanities

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