The Local History Guild

The Local History Guild conjoins on AHA! Nights in the galleries of the Museum.

Where once the Guild featured individual speakers, this season features a new format: conversations among area experts, aficionados, librarians, archivists, curators, historic preservation specialists, historians, and collectors. Topics run the gamut from commercial fishing to historic houses, to the latest acquisitions, collections or publications.

Each moderated 30-minute program features specialists who will discuss the topics of their interest, trends, initiatives, projects and sometimes even new books, or public access databases of relevance to our local historical landscape.

Free and open to the public. No advance registration necessary.

Upcoming Program (cancelled)

CANCELLED: Thursday, April 9th Local History Guild event with Peggi Medeiros and Carole Foster

Harriet Jacobs book cover

Thursday, April 9, 2020
6–7 pm in the Energy & Enterprise Gallery
Author Talk: Peggi Medeiros – Harriet Jacobs in New Bedford

Join local historian and author Peggi Medeiros, and archivist Carole Foster, for a discussion of Medeiros’ new book, Harriet Jacobs in New Bedford (Charleston, 2020). Using a wide variety of primary sources, Medeiros tells this gripping tale of a woman who escaped slavery in 1840, wound up in New York in 1842, and later grew to develop a deep and abiding friendship with Cornelia Grinnell Willis of New Bedford. Harriet Jacob’s story is a remarkable parallel to the life of Frederick Douglass, and a uniquely detailed look at the lives of two women of disparate backgrounds in a mid-nineteenth century seaport.


Past Programs

CLICK HERE for a complete list of past Local History Guild programs.

painting of woman in white dressFebruary 13, 2020
Please join Chief Curator, Christina Connett-Brophy and Curator of Social History Akeia Benard for a discussion of William Allen Wall’s allegorical painting, The Nativity of Truth. Michael P. Dyer will moderate the discussion and read sections from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1836 essay, Nature.

Caption: William Allen Wall, The Nativity of Truth, or the Spirit of the Age. Oil on canvas, circa 1849-1853.
Born a New Bedford Quaker Wall earned his living as a self-taught portrait painter but he sought greater themes. In this allegorical interpretation, possibly based on the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wall replaced the iconic American figure of Lady Columbia/Liberty with a similar character. Does she represent a view of American Manifest Destiny, or perhaps other ideas such as Nature as a defining good unto herself? “Truth, and goodness, and beauty, are but different faces of the same All.”


image of 1901 bill -- MorganDecember 12, 2019
New Bedford Whaling Museum Librarian Mark Procknik and Curator Michael Dyer displayed a “show and tell” of maritime documents from the museum’s permanent collection. Hundreds of different types of documents from authorized Consular Certificates to receipts scribbled on scraps of paper make up the primary materials of maritime history.

Caption: Paid invoice on bark Charles W. Morgan & Owners, dated San Francisco, November 26, 1901, for carpentry and repairs. KWM Loose Manuscript Collection