The Lyceum Returns to Heath!
Myrifield Institute sponsors free public presentations in connection with Myrifield-sponsored gatherings related to cognition and the arts. These presentations are inspired by the nineteenth-century Lyceum movement, designed to provide local communities a shared educational experience before the days of radio, tv, and now the internet.
The first Lyceum in the United States was started in Millbury, Massachusetts by Josiah Holbrook in 1826. By 1840 there were 137 separate Lyceums registered in Massachusetts. Conceived primarily for the purposes of education by offering public lectures to residents of local communities, the Lyceum movement broadened after the Civil War to include performances and other entertainments. Lyceum evenings in Heath were held frequently in various locations, including the Branch School on Route 8-A at the corner of Sumner Stetson Road, now a private residence.
Lois Buchiane of Heath, who is researching the history of the Lyceum movement in town, recently discovered a letter dated 1877 that refers to a Lyceum meeting at the #8 School in North Heath. Unfortunately, her grandmother’s diary, which ran from the 1870s to the 1940s, and mentioned several Lyceum occasions, was lost in a fire. The Lyceum circuit in Massachusetts was traveled by noted speakers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who may very well have come to Heath.
Myrifield Institute for Cognition and the Arts brings together scholars and thinkers in the peaceful and restful surroundings of Myrifield so that they explore ways to further research in the interdisciplinary relation of the cognitive sciences and the arts. Lyceum presentations offer Heathans and their friends the opportunity to meet with our Institute participants and join with us in exploring and celebrating the remarkable artistic and creative powers of human cognition.