Wednesday Program

All programs will be available via Zoom except for the hands-on art class on Sept. 28, the October 15 fall outing, and the Justice Center tour on Oct. 19. For programs listed as hybrid, the presenter will be in person at UMass Lowell (UML) and the program will also be available via Zoom. The presenter will be remote for all programs labeled Zoom only. All hybrid classes will be in University Suites 106, except the October 12 program, which will be in Coburn Hall. Please check your email for the weekly program announcement and any last-minute changes.

New England Lighthouses and the People Who Kept Them
Presenter: Jeremy D'Entremont
Wednesday, Sept. 14: 10 a.m. – noon (Zoom Only)

Everyone knows that there's something about lighthouses that gives them broad appeal, but their vital role in our history and culture is little appreciated. Our early nation was built on a maritime economy, and lighthouses were part of the system that made that possible. Because of automation, traditional lighthouse keeping is a way of life that has faded into the past. Noted lighthouse historian Jeremy D'Entremont tells the history of New England's historic and picturesque lighthouses primarily focusing on the colorful and dramatic stories of lighthouse keepers and their families. Jeremy’s talk will include the duties of a keeper, family life at lighthouses, woman keepers, lens technology, and more.

Coordinator: Bob Hanlon*

Cover page of the Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation: Stronger than a ‘Rope of Sand’
Presenter: James McClure
Wednesday, Sept. 21: 10 a.m. – noon (Zoom Only)

The consensus among scholars is that the Articles of Confederation was America’s first constitution. Adopted in York, PA in 1777-78, it served as the new nation’s framework of government until succeeded by the U.S. Constitution in 1789. Many believed it was flawed and weak, comparing it to a “rope of sand.” But its adoption by the Continental Congress in York brought France on board as an ally against the British in the American Revolution. And it was strong enough to serve as America’s wartime constitution, the law of the land, for more than a decade. Our session will cover how the Articles of Confederation were drafted and adopted, particularly the hard work done by Continental Congress in the frontier town of York in crafting America’s first constitution.

Coordinator: Bruce Magnuson*

Hands On Art Class
Instructor: Lisa Hertel*
Wednesday, Sept. 28: 10 a.m. – noon. (In person only, no Zoom)

In the first hour, we'll make little trees out of recycled wire; in the second hour, a small watercolor sunset using wash technique and latex resist. All materials will be provided; feel free to join us for one or both items.

Coordinator: Lisa Hertel*

Creating Opportunities for Refugees and Immigrants in Lowell
Presenters: Various
Wednesday, Oct. 12: 10 a.m. – noon (Coburn Hall/Zoom )

Note that this class meets in Coburn Hall Room 255 and will have a separate Zoom meeting ID - check your weekly Constant Contact message for the link.

Since 1919, the International Institute of New England (IINE) has resettled newly arrived refugees and immigrants in the city of Lowell. Lowell has long been a welcoming town to immigrants from many countries, and most recently, for refugees from Afghanistan. In this presentation, you will learn about the current state of affairs regarding refugees being brought to the US, what IINE does in Lowell and surrounding towns to help them when they arrive, and the experiences of fellow LIRA members who are volunteering to support IINE’s efforts. This event is part of the “Lowell City of Learning Festival.”

Coordinator: Becky Bronson*

Tour Of Lowell Justice Center
Facilitator: Officer Kenneth Davis  
Session 1: Wed. Oct 19: 10 a.m. -noon (limit 20 people)  
Session 2: Wed. Oct 19: 1-3 p.m. (limit 20 people)

We will tour the new Lowell Justice Center, which was completed in 2020 just before the pandemic. The tour will include the Law Library, Juvenile, District and Superior Courts; some of the holding cells, as well as the Registry of Deeds. We will hear from the Senior Court Officer in charge, and one of the judges, as well as Richard Howe, Registrar of Deeds for North Middlesex County. If appropriate, we will be able to sit in on a portion of a trial. The cases being heard will be determined closer to the tour date.

The views over Lowell are magnificent from the glass-sided windows on each floor of the six-story building. Do not bring anything that would be considered illegal. Everyone will go through the metal detectors at the door, and we will then wait inside on the first floor. No photos or videos are allowed, and bags will be searched. The Justice Center is at 370 Jackson Street. Metered on-street parking is available, or you may park in the Hamilton Garage off Dutton opposite Broadway Street or the Early Garage, 135 Middlesex. There are no UML garages or lots near the Justice Center. Please email: if you plan to attend, noting morning or afternoon. First come, first served.  

Coordinator: Sally Coulter*

Playing with the Radio
Presenter: Peter Gamache
Wednesday, Oct. 26: 10 a.m. – noon (Zoom only)

Ham radio, the amateur radio hobby, has been going strong for over a century. This talk will cover ham radio's traditional roots and what ham radio looks like in 2022. No Morse code required.

Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*