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.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

More Ways to Celebrate Patriots Day 2021 Safely

As I’ve both marveled at and lamented before, it’s hard to find a truly comprehensive list of commemorations of the 19th of April because so many historical sites, towns, and organizations have their own. Some of those organizations group together in coalitions, but not all in one coalition.

This year we’re once again sticking to our houses, but people have had time to prepare online events, videos, and exhibits to illuminate the start of the Revolutionary War. Which means there are a lot of different links to hunt down!

I can’t promise this is a complete list of resources to enjoy in the upcoming week, but it will keep you busy.

Minute Man National Historical Park is already rolling out new videos on YouTube and Facebook. These include a series titled “April 19, 1775: Our Tangible Past,” about museum objects and the stories they tell, and individual shorts on “A Nervous Night at Buckman Tavern,” “Preparing for War,” “The Enemy at the Door,” and more.

On Saturday, 17 April, the park will premiere a series of video talks and demonstrations through those channels:
  • 10:00 A.M., “The Minute Men: Neighbors in Arms”
  • 1:00 P.M., “The British Light Infantry”
  • 3:00 P.M., “Caught in the Storm of War: Civilian Stories from April 19, 1775” with Ranger Jim Hollister and author Alexander Cain
On Sunday, 18 April:
  • 7:30 P.M., “The Patriot Vigil,” a candlelight tribute at the North Bridge battlefield
On Monday, 18 April:
  • Throughout the day starting at 8:00 A.M., “Voices of 1775,” with reenactors and staff reading the words of people who experienced the events of April 19th
Finally, follow the hashtag #RevolutionInRealTime on Facebook and Twitter from 10:00 P.M. on the 18th through 7:00 P.M. on the 19th for regular updates on what happened on those dates in 1775.

The Lexington Historical Society’s events page is here, and that town’s community celebration is described here. These include the movie “The First Shot,” an outdoor scavenger hunt, and recordings of past reenactments which one can watch with good views and without having to wake up hours before dawn.

The Old North Church’s annual lantern ceremony will feature music, a reading of Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride,” and a ceremony to honor Dave McGillivray, long-time Race Director for the Boston Marathon. This is a benefit for Old North, and tickets can be purchased here.

The Paul Revere House is adding new episodes to its Revere House Radio podcast, which started with a series on “Revisit the Ride.”

The Concord Museum has a new permanent exhibit on the “Shot Heard Round the World,” and that includes a dedicated website people can enjoy at home.

Finally, check out additional book talks and podcast interviews listed on the Revolution 250 calendar.

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