J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

Follow by Email


Thursday, May 01, 2014

“Battle after the Battle” at Buckman’s in Lexington, 4 May

Alongside the Concord Museum’s “Shot Heard Round the World” exhibit (described yesterday), the Lexington Historical Society is reopening its Buckman Tavern site on Sunday, 4 May.

As I wrote yesterday, New England is largely organized around independent towns. Lexington and Concord, forever yoked in U.S. history, competed fiercely in the nineteenth century over which deserved the honor of being called the site of the first battle of the Revolutionary War. Both sides produced pamphlets, orations, and monuments. When the President came to Massachusetts in 1875, the rivalry grew even worse.

The Lexington tavern will examine that competition with a “light-hearted” exhibit called “The Battle after the Battle,” tracing the arguments and commemorations over the decades. The society’s press release states:
Rarely seen artifacts being displayed at the exhibit include the 1799 slate tablet that first commemorated the battle on Lexington Common, the forty-foot long banner that greeted Lafayette in 1825, and the original Patriots’ Day proclamation issued by Governor Frederic Greenhalge in 1894.
What’s more, Buckman Tavern itself has a new look:
The Lexington Historical Society has completed a major restoration of the building to preserve the historic fabric into the 21st century, make all parts of it accessible to visitors with disabilities, and provide new exhibit space as well as novel ways to engage the thousands of people who visit every year. This completes a multi-million dollar, fourteen-year effort to fully restore the Society’s three historic homes and the Lexington Depot.

Visitors will find an entirely new experience waiting within the 300-year-old walls of the tavern. After painstaking research, the rooms have been re-imagined to more authentically recreate their 1775 appearance.
Self-paced audio tours will replace the guides. For more, here’s the Boston Globe’s coverage.

Today Minute Man National Historical Park extends through both towns (as well as Lincoln, sometimes forgotten in the middle). And the Lexington Historical Society has loaned some of its treasures to the Concord Museum exhibit. So the rivalry’s all behind us, right? Mostly but not entirely, according to some heated conversations I got to hear last year.

The new exhibit will be up at Buckman Tavern for months. After taking it all in, tavern visitors can vote on where they now think the war really started. [The Boston 1775 answer is here.]

No comments: