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Portal:Massachusetts

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Massachusetts /ˌmæsəˈsɪts/ (About this sound listen), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is the 7th smallest, but the 14th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated of the 50 United States, and has the United States' sixth highest GDP per capita.

Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Protestant First Great Awakening originated from the pulpit of Northampton, Massachusetts preacher Jonathan Edwards; in the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution. In 1786, a populist revolt led directly to the Constitutional Convention, before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. In the late 19th century, basketball and volleyball were invented in Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution, during the 20th century, Massachusetts' economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, and financial services.

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The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a privately owned museum in Massachusetts whose stated aim is "to celebrate the labor of artists whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum", it has three branches, one in Dedham, another in nearby Somerville, and a third branch in Brookline. Its permanent collection includes 500 pieces of "art too bad to be ignored", 25 to 35 of which are on public display at any one time.

MOBA was founded in 1994, after antique dealer Scott Wilson showed a painting he had recovered from the trash to some friends, who suggested starting a collection. Within a year, receptions held in Wilson's friends' home were so well-attended that the collection required its own viewing space, the museum moved to the basement of a theater in Dedham. Explaining the reasoning behind the museum's establishment, co-founder Jerry Reilly said in 1995: "While every city in the world has at least one museum dedicated to the best of art, MOBA is the only museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the worst." To be included in MOBA's collection, works must be original and have serious intent, but they must also have significant flaws without being boring; curators are not interested in displaying deliberate kitsch.

MOBA has been mentioned in dozens of off-the-beaten-path guides to Boston, featured in international newspapers and magazines, and has inspired several other collections throughout the world that set out to rival its own visual atrocities.

Selected biography

Oliver Edwards (1860 - 1870)
Oliver Edwards was a machine company executive, an inventor, and a volunteer officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Edwards moved to Illinois as a young man to pursue a career as a manager of manufacturing, at the start of the Civil War, he became adjutant of the 10th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and later aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Darius N. Couch. In the fall of 1862, he took command of the 37th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as colonel and led that unit through numerous major battles including the Battle of Gettysburg. Just after Gettysburg, in July 1863, he was placed in command of a provisional brigade sent to assist in quelling the New York Draft Riots, during the Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, he was placed in command of a brigade and, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 he was briefly placed in command of a division of the VI Corps. For his service, he would be given the honorary rank of major general, after the war, Edwards returned to a career in manufacturing, most notably as manager of the Florence Machine Company in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Gardner Machine and Gun Company in England.

Selected location

Downtown Springfield
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and is the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern Mill River. It is the urban, economic, and cultural capital of Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley.

The city of Springfield has played an important role throughout American history, due largely to its geography, it is located midway between Boston and Albany, is only slightly farther from New York City, and is the closest major New England city to Montreal. In 1777, Springfield's location led George Washington and Henry Knox to found the fledgling United States' National Armory at Springfield, which produced the first American musket in 1794, and later the famous Springfield rifle. Springfielders produced many significant innovations, including the first American-English dictionary, vulcanized rubber, and the sport of basketball, which was started by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield in 1891.

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State facts

Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Atlas showing the location of the major urban areas and roads in Massachusetts
Atlas of Massachusetts with Greater Boston highlighted

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Engraving depicting the Salem Witch Trials

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State symbols

Colors Blue, Green, and Cranberry
Motto Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem
Song All Hail to Massachusetts
Bird Black-capped Chickadee
Tree American Elm
Flower Mayflower
Bug Ladybug
Mineral Babingtonite
Fish Cod
Beverage Cranberry Juice
Fossil Dinosaur Tracks
Soil Paxton Soil

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