J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

At the Golden Ball and the Constitution Museum

Here are two events next week in the Boston area for people with historical minds and free weekdays, a little outside the Revolutionary period but not drastically.

On Monday, 12 May, the Golden Ball Tavern in Weston, Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Historical Society are hosting their biennial symposium, this time with the theme “Comforts of Home?: The Real Truth about Daily Life in Colonial and Early America.” As of yesterday, organizers were still accepting new registrations. The cost is $100 for members of either of those organizations, $125 for everyone else, and includes a lunch.

The program runs from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and includes these presentations:

  • “Jerked and Jostled: Travel, a Non-Comfort in Early America,” by Elisabeth Garrett Widmer, author of At Home: The American Family, 1750-1870.
  • “Cloth for Ease: The Battle Between Comfort and Chic,” by Edward Maeder, Director of Exhibitions and Curator of Textiles at Historic Deerfield, Inc.
  • “The Technological and Social Transformations of the 19th-Century Kitchen,” by Debra L. Friedman, Head of Interpretation, Old Sturbridge Village.
  • “Creating a Comfortable Colonial Home: The Women of the Moffatt-Ladd House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire,” by Barbara McLean-Ward, Director/Curator, Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden.
For more information on registering, click on the Golden Ball link above.

On Tuesday, 13 May, the U.S.S. Constitution Museum will unveil its newly acquired series of four paintings of that warship’s victory over the Guerriere during the War of 1812, which gave the ship its nickname of “Old Ironsides.”

George Ropes’s portrayal of that battle was owned for many years by the Woburn Library, and its trustees decided to sell the canvases to raise money. The Constitution Museum seems to be ecstatic about acquiring these paintings. I’m assuming the detail shown here comes from one of the “After” images.

This celebration will take place from 2:00 to 2:30 P.M., and will feature children from area schools. Because the museum is on the Charlestown Navy Yard site, security is tight and parking limited, so the event organizers ask people planning to attend to R.S.V.P. by Monday at 617-426-1812. The paintings will be on display in the museum through the summer and beyond.

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