Here are the latest Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes:

Philharmonic at the library

The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St., will host “Interpretations of Music: Lessons for Life” with Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 29.

This world-renowned master class will consist of highly accomplished young musicians, all of them performing at a professional level. Zander will guide them to more inspiring, communicative and alive interpretations, engaging the audience at the same time.

Admission is free. Call 617-536-5400 or visit for more information.

Introduction to genealogy

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St., will host a new visitors’ day at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

This free orientation and tour will introduce resources available at the NEHGS research facility, home to more than 15 million artifacts, books, manuscripts, microfilms, journals, photographs and records to help research family histories. Tour attendees are welcome to use the resources following the tour. Registration is not required.

Further information can be found at or by calling 888-296-3447.

Native citizens

The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston St., will present “Native Citizens: Race, Culture and the Politics of Belonging, 1884-1924” at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Lila Teeters of the University of New Hampshire will explore Native activism in shaping the constructions of American citizenship. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, Native activists played an essential yet overlooked role in shaping American citizenship. Some pushed to harden the political boundaries separating Native nations while others sought to remove those boundaries completely. Still others sought a more permeable relationship. This talk traces those debates from the 1884 Elk v. Wilkins decision through the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act.

Admission is free. Further information can be found at or by calling 617-536-1608.

19th century art and politics

Historian Mark Rennella will examine “Art and Politics in Boston After the Civil War” in a free talk from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4 at the Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston St.

After the Civil War, artists and writers from Boston faced a question that haunted America: What's next? For cultural leaders like Charles Eliot Norton and Isabella Stewart Gardner, Reconstruction left them feeling directionless and betrayed. These “Boston Cosmopolitans” researched Europe’s long past to discover and share examples of civil society shaped by high ideals.

Visit or call 61-536-5400 for further details.

African American Freedom Trail

Dr. Kerri Greenidge and Dr. Kendra Field of Tufts University will introduce the work of the African American Freedom Trail Project in a free program at noon on Friday, Oct. 5 at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 99-101 Newbury St.

The African American Freedom Trail Project is a citywide organizational network and community-based archive housed at Tufts University. The project maps African American and African-descended public history sites, while developing collaborative, community-based public history projects.

Through research, exhibits and community engagement, this project aims to develop African American historical memory and inter-generational community across greater Boston. Ultimately, The African American Freedom Trail Project places present-day struggles for racial justice in the context of historical movements for social change that originated, and found expression in greater Boston's historic African American, Black Native and diasporic communities.

Registration is suggested for this free program, online or by calling 888-296-3447.

Solo exhibition

The Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury St., will host a solo exhibition by artist Michelle Jung from Oct. 6 to 27 in the President’s Gallery.

An artist talk and reception will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6 and an artist’s demonstration will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Admission is free.

Visit or call 617-536-7660 for more details.

Art inspired by Walt Kuhn

A new exhibition, “Le Masque and Kuhn’s Metaphors,” an original exhibition and experiment in perception from local artist Alastair Dacey, is being displayed now through Nov. 10 at the French Cultural Center of Boston, 53 Marlborough St.

Inspired by Walt Kuhn’s response to European Modernism in the early 19th century, Dacey spent two years exploring Kuhn’s unique vision and style, seeking to interpret select portraits and use them as guides and catalysts to create wholly new works of art. Recreating the look and feel of each piece posed questions of design, color and form as well as the overarching question of exactness and how literal to be in the details—right down to the feathered caps and embroidery.

The exhibit is free, but reservations are recommended.

Visit or call 617-912-0400 for more information and to RSVP.

Bach cantatas

Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., is presenting its 42nd season of the J. S. Bach Cantatas at 10 a.m. on Sundays now through May 12.

The orchestra and chorus of Emmanuel Music will present weekly performances of the cantatas and motets of J.S. Bach and others, conducted by Ryan Turner.

For more information, call 617-536-3356 or visit

Victorian Back Bay

Boston by Foot is offering 90-minute guided, walking tours of the Back Bay at 2:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays, now through October. Walkers will meet the guide on the steps of Trinity Church at Copley Square.

Visitors will discover how the Back Bay, once a body of water, was filled in and how the neighborhood was developed in the mid-19th century to become one of the nation’s richest collections of art and architecture. The treasures of the Back Bay tour include Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, Old South Church and the grand Back Bay townhouses.

Tickets are $13 for adults, $8 for children from ages 6 to 12 and free for members if purchased in advance or an additional $2 if purchased from the guide.

For more information, visit or call 617-237-2345.

Library tours

Boston Public Library volunteers will give art and architecture tours of the McKim Building, a National Historic Landmark, in its main building, constructed in 1895, throughout the week.

Highlights include the murals of John Singer Sargent, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Edwin Austin Abbey and the work of architect Charles Follen McKim.

Self-guided tours are available as well, and literature describing the architectural highlights is available on the web at

For tours by appointment, call 617-536-5400.