Illustrated Presentation: New England's Colonial Meetinghouses and their Lasting Impact on American Society


For Libraries and Historical Societies

Landgrove Vermont Photo

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Program Description:

"New England’s colonial meetinghouses embody an important yet little-known chapter in American history. Built mostly with tax money, they served as both places of worship and places for town meetings, and were the centers of life in colonial New England communities. Using photographs of the few surviving “mint condition” meetinghouses as illustrations, this presentation tells the story of the society that built and used them, and the lasting impact they have had on American culture."

Financial support for this presentation is available from both the New Hampshire and Vermont Humanities Councils. Not from one of those states? I will help you obtain support in your state as well.

Some sample flyers may be seen here (the title of the presentation may vary by venue):

The speaker brings his own laptop and projector, so the only things needed at your venue are a table and a projection screen. Larger rooms could also benefit from a microphone.

Bookings for 2018 and beyond are now being accepted. To inquire about scheduling this presentation at your venue, please contact the artist directly.

Sponsored by:

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Some Comments from the New Hampshire Humanities Council:

  • Paul’s presentation provides a solid overview of colonial society and its values through examining a type of building that many of his audiences may be familiar with in very general terms, but have never stopped to consider. He answers the Who, What, When, Where and Why questions of Colonial Meetinghouses, and makes the connections between the culture of those people who constructed these buildings and our democratic and community values today. He also crafted his talk to include more information about the particular venue in which he was speaking (Salem, NH). In addition, while he shows some of his beautiful photographs as a way of explaining how he grew interested in this topic, his work is not the focus of the lecture.

  • Interesting commentary about photographic equipment, techniques and image creation; keep developing and exploring theme of artistic response to unique town meeting tradition.

  • This was a thoughtful presentation linked to the publication (Peter Randall) of Wainwright’s pictorial work (with Peter Benes text) on the uses of New England meetinghouse building type and its traditional/current uses.

  • If an HTG host wanted to create a series, this program could be linked with Becky Rules’ “Moved and Seconded” on town meetings and the Washington Meetinghouse documentary.

This page was last modified on: 17 Oct 2017