Day By Day

Saturday, April 16, 2005

An afternoon at the Maryland Historical Society

Friday I attended a seminar at the Maryland Historical Society and afterwards took a guided tour of the society's displays. Some are spectacular. I was particularly attracted to these early musical instruments manufactured in Maryland. If any of my readers are in Baltimore, take some time and visit the place. It's on Monument Street, about a block from the Walters Art Gallery. You'll be glad you did.

The seminar was great. Philip Morgan of Johns Hopkins University presented a speculative paper to members of the McNeill Center for Early American Studies and the Washington Area Early American History Seminar. His thesis (that the experience of British colonizers in the Caribbean after 1550 had a "foundational" effect on the course of settlement at Jamestown) was provocative, but vulnerable on a number of points. There were several distinguished, even famous, scholars in attendance and the give and take was hot and heavy. Some of the best questions, as always at these things, were asked by grad students.

Since my retirement I had been staying away from these things and had not realized just how much I missed them. There is something wonderful about being in a room full of very bright and accomplished people who are wrestling seriously with difficult intellectual problems.

I really do miss that stuff. Blogging is great, but no substitute for the real thing.

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