AMESBURY, MA — The Amesbury Carriage Museum (ACM) will launch its first book club, Mystery & History, on December 9, with registration open now. The Book Club will meet online, via Zoom, for one hour on the second Wednesday of the month, December through April. Participants will read and discuss the first five books in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series by Amesbury, MA resident and award-winning author Edith Maxwell. The novels take place in Amesbury around 1890. Aside from the “whodunit” aspect of the stories, Maxwell incorporates authentic events, and covers the social and political issues of the time.

Initially because of the pandemic, the Amesbury Carriage Museum began offering online programs to replace those requiring in-person attendance. Due to the great reception they’ve had from the community, the ACM intends to continue online programming along with face-to-face events which will resume in 2021. “To meet the challenge of COVID, we created a part-time staff position to manage a new approach to programs with online offerings. We’ve been able to pivot quickly and are enjoying great success,” said ACM Executive Director John Mayer. He added, “Our inaugural Book Club is a great example of the type of programming we will be continuing - offering a chance to join together with others for fun and informative programs.”

For each of the five Book Club sessions, participants prepare by reading the designated book and well-researched articles on the specific historical themes. The one-hour online sessions, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, will have a short introduction by an expert guest, then break into two groups of 10 participants for open discussion guided by a moderator.

The book club schedule, late 19th century historical themes, and featured guests are as follows:

Dec. 9, 2020 - Book: Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell. Themes: Quakerism, midwifery. Speaker: Edith Maxwell, award-winning mystery writer.

Jan. 13, 2021 - Book: Called to Justice by Edith Maxwell. Theme: anti-slavery movement. Speaker: Chris Bryant, President, Whittier Home Association.

Feb. 10, 2021 - Turning The Tide by Edith Maxwell. Theme: women’s suffrage. Speaker: Candace Kanes-Murphy, Ph.D., former curator of Maine Memory Network, Maine Historical Society

Mar, 10, 2021 - Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell. Theme: lives of mill girls, abortion in the 1880s. Speaker: Elizabeth DeWolfe, Ph.D., Professor of history at the University of New England.

Apr. 14, 2021 - Judge Thee Not by Edith Maxwell. Theme: Immigrants. Speaker: Bob Forrant, Ph.D., Professor UMass Lowell History Dept.

The museum hopes that participants will enjoy the company of other readers, curious about Amesbury history, specifically the people, culture, lifestyle, and beliefs of mid to late 19th century New England.

The Book Club is open to all Amesbury Carriage Museum members free of charge. Non-members can sign up to become 2021 members of the museum and will be eligible to participate. Memberships, starting at $25, are offered on www.amesburycarriagemuseum.org/membership. Registration includes all five sessions, December through April, and is available at www.amesburycarriagemuseum.org/events.

The Amesbury Carriage Museum is a non-profit organization with a mission to champion the history of Amesbury’s industry and people. For more information and a calendar of events, please visit the museum website –www.amesburycarriagemuseum.org or contact John Mayer, Executive Director, Amesbury Carriage Museum by calling 978-834-5058 or via email at jmayer@amesburycarriagemuseum.com.

 

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