Historical Society Programs for 2021-2022

As of January 1, 2022 we are shifting our 2021-2022 programs to remote (Zoom) programs.  When it seems right, we will return to holding these programs live, at Ocean House (Keep your fingers crossed!).  Listed below are the expected program dates.
Our programs are free and open to the public. Please feel free to attend.
Unless otherwise noted, our programs start promptly at 2pm and generally run about 1 hour.
If the program is a remote Zoom program, an appropriate Zoom link will be offered below.
For  in-person programs at the Society, these COVID guidelines will be strictly followed:
  • All participants must be vaccinated. For the sake of all our members and our community, please be honest about this.
  • If you are experiencing any of the standard COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and take care of yourself!
  • Except for the speaker, everyone must wear a mask while inside Ocean House and throughout the entire program.
  • Seating will be reduced from the usual 45-50 seats to roughly 30 seats to allow for more spacing.
  • When weather permits, we will keep doors open and fans running for better fresh air circulation.
  • Refreshments will not be available following the program (sorry!). If people wish to socialize, we will encourage folks to go outside – we have a lovely backyard.

If public health conditions dictate, we will convert in-person programs to remote, Zoom programs.  We will try to make this decision at least a week or two in advance of any given program.  Any change of plans or schedule will be made via email and the Society’s website, so please make sure to check before coming to the Society.


Sunday, Oct 17, 2021, 2pm

John Galluzzo, Author and Historian – History of the Massachusetts Audubon Society


Sunday, Nov 21, 2021, 2pm

Andrew Noone, Author and Independent Historian – Bathsheba Spooner: A Revolutionary Murder Conspiracy


Sunday, Jan 16, 2022, 2pm

An Anne Barrett remote Zoom presentation

Hollywood: Wild West to Movie Mecca

Discover how Hollywood evolved from a small, conservative community into a glittering movie mecca full of glamorous stars and eye-popping scandal.  See clips of the early films that launched the movie industry, and learn about the revolution in film that made it all possible.


Sunday, Feb 20, 2022, 2pm

An Anthony Sammarco remote Zoom presentation

A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon

Howard Johnson created an orange-roofed empire of ice cream stands and restaurants that stretched from Maine to Florida, and all the way to the West Coast. With a reputation for good food at affordable prices, hungry customers would regularly return for more. The attractive white Colonial Revival restaurants, with eye-catching porcelain tile roofs, illuminated cupolas and sea blue shutters, were described in “Reader’s Digest” in 1949 as the epitome of “eating places that look like New England town meeting houses dressed up for Sunday.” Highlighted in television shows such as Mad Men and films Netflix’s 2019 The Irishman, it’s obvious that Howard Johnson’s occupies an indelible and pleasant place popular culture. Boston historian and author Anthony M. Sammarco recounts how Howard Johnson introduced twenty-eight flavors of ice cream, the “Tendersweet” clam strips, grilled frankforts and a menu of delicious and traditional foods that families eagerly enjoyed when they traveled.


Sunday, Mar 20, 2022, 2pm

Author and reporter Sara Hammel remote Zoom presentation

The Strong Ones

The story of forty-five civilian women, including the author, who volunteered for a controversial seven-month strength study at Natick Army Labs in 1995—and proved just how strong women can get.  With females still banned from combat and their supposed lack of physical strength used as a reason to keep them out, women from around Massachusetts—including moms, teachers, a landscaper, a prison guard, a journalist and one solider—came to change the rules.  Author Sara Hammel, a test subject and reporter with exclusive access to the study, traces the women and their results through the years, revealing how their efforts came full circle decades later when all military jobs were opened-up to women.


Sunday, Apr 24, 2022, 2pm

Currently scheduled to be a live presentation at Ocean House, but we may be forced to switch to remote Zoom

Christie Higginbottom, Garden Consultant and Research Historian

19th Century Pears: A Ruling Passion

William Lewis was a farmer and pear orchardist in Barre, MA from 1861 to 1895 who kept extensive journals and account books documenting his work. Using these materials along with primary source research from the orchard advice literature Lewis consulted, we can explore the orchard wisdom of the era: design, nursery sources, planting, grafting, fruit sales and over 90 varieties documented in his pear journals.  This is a remarkable opportunity to get a very detailed look at 19th century farming in Massachusetts, not so far afield from Ashland.


All Events are subject to date changes and/or cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen events.

Changes and cancellations will be posted on this site and emailed to Society members.