Today's Moment
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Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities

The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities (Mass Humanities) launched the Mass Moments project—an electronic almanac of Massachusetts history—on January 1, 2005. If you have suggestions for new Moments or for feaures or widgets that would complement the almanac, please send them to If you would like your radio station to play the Moments, please contact the radio station.

Visitors to the Mass Moments website [] can choose to listen to a one-minute audio spot or read the script, and then explore the story further by reading a background essay and clicking on a primary source document, links to follow, and places to visit. You can also use the timeline to see when a given "moment" occurred and a map to see where it happened. Visitors post comments or questions on the Discussion Board and have the option of being notified when someone responds. You can sign up for a free subscription to eMoments. If you are on Facebook, become a fan of our Mass Moments page and enjoy daily moments on your own wall.

The 366 stories are searchable by key word, topic, time period, and region. Every web page can be printed individually. An eMoment subscription delivers each day's story automatically. It's fun—and it's free.

The Mass Moments website has four main sections:
One: The Main Menu
This page is updated daily. The screen features the title, illustration and first few sentences of the current Mass Moment. From this screen, there are links to the other parts of the site. At any point in the site, clicking on the Mass Moments logo in the upper left hand corner of the screen will bring you to this main menu screen.

The days of the week running along the bottom of this screen (and all others), enables visitors to view the six most recently posted Mass Moments.

Clicking on the "...More on this Moment" button at the bottom right of the main menu screen will bring you to:

Two: The "Moment" Screen
These screens provide detailed information for a selected "moment." From this page, you can listen to or read the audio spot, download it for later use, or subscribe to our daily podcast. The page also contains the full text of a background essay. This content is copyrighted; it may be printed for personal or classroom use.

Most other "Moment" screens include one or more of the following elements:

Primary Source: A transcription of an excerpt from a letter, memoir, newspaper article, or other primary source document used to research the day's story.

Links: Selected links to other websites related to the day's story.

If you go: Suggestions for places to visit to find out more about the day's story.

Map: an illustration indicating where in Massachusetts the "Moment" occurred (Statewide stories do not appear on the map).

Photo Gallery: One or more images documenting the story.

Three: Search Screens
There are several ways to search previously posted Mass Moments.
Search & Advanced Search: "Moments" can be searched by keyword, or the Advanced Search screen can be used to narrow a search.

Timeline: The timeline graphically indicates where in American history a "moment" occurs. Toggling the diamond-shaped indicators shows when in time other "moments" happened, and clicking on these shapes reveals more information on that particular "moment."

Map: Via the map screen, you can search "moments" by geography to find all those that took place in one of the state's five regions.

Four: Message Boards & eMoments
Message Boards
The Mass Moments website is designed to be a resource for people interested in Massachusetts history, and we encourage visitors to contribute their questions, comments, and observations. After signing in (visitors can select their own screen identities and icons), you can post queries or elaborations on any "Moment," and if you wish, you can be notified by email if and when someone responds.

This feature is intended to provide an on-line space for people interested in Massachusetts history to connect with one another. To this end, we ask that participants refrain from using undignified or confrontational language. The Message Boards will be monitored, and offensive or inflammatory postings will be removed immediately.

By signing up for this service, visitors to the site can be notified daily by email of the new Mass Moment. They can choose between HTML notifications (with graphics) or ones that are in plain text.

Mass Moments is a project of Mass Humanities, whose mission is to support programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life throughout the Commonwealth. Mass Humanities receives support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as private sources. This project is funded in part by a grant from the "We the People" Initiative at NEH.
The team responsible for the content of the Mass Moments website and radio spots is headed by Ellen K. Rothman. The former Associate Director of Mass Humanities, Ellen has over 25 years experience in public history. She received her B.A. from Harvard and her Ph.D. in American History from Brandeis University.

Mary Babson Fuhrer and Liz Nelson assisted on the research and writing. Mary Fuhrer holds a B.A. in History from Princeton and an M.A. from George Mason University. She was on the staff of Fruitlands Museums in Harvard, MA for seven years before becoming a consulting research historian. Liz Nelson has written numerous books and articles on Massachusetts history and been a freelance editor on several major historical publications. She holds a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and an M.Ed. from Lesley University. Liz Nelson was also the chief consultant on the Teachers' Features section of the website.

The photo researcher was Zachary Howard, former Administrative and Program Assistant for Mass Humanities. Research interns were Margaret Fuhrer, Margo Shea, and Caroline Wheeler. Sports history research and writing by Maria Healey. Proofreading assistance from Patricia Bruttomesso. Thanks to Marjorie Gustafson for editorial assistance.

Web design
The Mass Moments website was designed and illustrated by Mark Roessler of Roessler Design.

Programming and interface assistance was provided by Kjell Ostlund of The Other Room. Ongoing maintenance is provided by Gravity Switch.

Audio spots
The Mass Moments spots were read by Jack Clancy, a veteran actor with 20 years experience doing voice over work. The engineer was Alan Sahatijan. The spots were recorded and mixed at Burclan Studios in Watertown, MA.

The Mass Moments theme is "All Hail to Massachusetts," written by Arthur Marsh, with arrangement and performance by Broque—Gideon Freudmann, cello, and Mark Herschler, guitar. Download and listen to the entire Mass Moments theme.

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