BHS Works to Keep Its Community of Lifelong Learners Together

Special to the Beacon Hill Times

Beacon Hill Seminars was finalizing plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary last spring when the pandemic forced an unexpected change in plans. 

More than 200 members were enrolled in 25 courses when COVID-19 put a temporary end to BHS’ in-person classes at Prescott House, King’s Chapel Parish House, The Engineering Center and other historic venues around Beacon Hill.  

“We were fortunate to be able to quickly move a handful of our cancelled courses online last spring,” noted Bill Sherden, Beacon Hill resident and president of Beacon Hill Seminars.  “While many in our community were skeptical about holding classes online, over 90 members signed up for three online pilot courses, and the feedback was very positive.”

BHS provided Zoom training for all course registrants and its members appreciated being able to connect with each other, as well as to continue some of their classes. Weekly attendance was high, and many appreciated the convenience of learning from home, whether on Beacon Hill or elsewhere. Members also noted the benefits of viewing art, photography and other presentations on their own computers and iPads. Online classes were also recorded for members that missed a session or two. 

This fall, Beacon Hill Seminars is offering 15 online courses covering a range of topics including the arts, history, music, literature, current events and the sciences.  To learn more about these six- to eight-week courses, visit, and sign up for the free virtual Kickoff Event on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. to see BHS’ course leaders briefly introduce their fall courses.

BHS looks forward to returning to in-person classes at some point next year, but its program will forever be changed and improved due to its online experience. In the future, BHS will work to offer a mix of in-person and online classes in an effort to continue to engage members that cannot, for whatever reason, attend classes in person.

“Our goal”, noted Bill Sherden, “is to continue to work to keep our expanding community of lifelong learners actively engaged and learning together, whether online or in person.” 

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