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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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Boston Town House at 300

In 1713, Boston built its Town House as its center of government—the building for town meetings, the Massachusetts Council and General Court, and the Superior Court. It was only natural that the business community would congregate nearby as well. Many large ports in the British Empire had similar buildings. What’s remarkable about Boston’s Town House is that it’s standing, the oldest surviving public building in the United States. But now we know it as the Old State House museum.

The Bostonian Society, which maintains that museum, is celebrating the 300th anniversary of its building with a series of events in May. These include:
  • Nathaniel Philbrick speaks on the Boston origins of the American Revolution and signs his new book, Bunker Hill [more on that to come soon]. Friday, 3 May, 6:30 P.M., free for all.
  • Masonic Re-Dedication & Anniversary Commemoration. Saturday, 4 May, 11:00 A.M. Free to all passersby.
  • Battle Road Brewing hosts a beer tasting for visitors aged 21 and over. Wednesday, 8 May, 5:30 P.M.
  • Treasure or Trouble? A special exhibit on preserving historic buildings, including “the opportunity to put on a pair of gloves to get a hands-on experience with historical materials.” Thursday, 9 May, 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Free with admission to the Old State House.
  • Modern Demands, Historic Spaces. A panel of experts will examine key issues in historic preservation, including accessibility, balancing preservation with for exhibitions and events, changing technologies and energy needs. Moderator Greg Galer, the Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, will encourage audience participation and dialog with the panel. Thursday, 9 May, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. Free.
  • Old State House 300th Anniversary! Saturday, 11 May, 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. A day of celebration as the Old State House turns 300! Visitors can experience three centuries of history through family-friendly activities, special tours, and conversations with Revolutionary Characters. Free with admission to the Old State House.


John L Smith Jr said...

I read the book review by historian-author Thomas Fleming of Philbrick's "Bunker Hill". He was pretty much in praise of it, but thought Philbrick went a little off the primary research track when he wrote of Dr. Warren impregnating a 17-year old "vixen". Maybe this falls into the solid "Sex Sells" category of marketing?

J. L. Bell said...

Actually, that’s based on primary sources, though folks can differ on interpreting them. I discussed some of those sources back here, and Dr. Sam Forman’s biography of Dr. Warren has the whole story as we know it so far. It’s just a small part of Nat Philbrick’s Bunker Hill but obviously an attention-catching one.