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, August 23, 2016

Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial

On 25 August the National Park Service is celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the law that founded the agency. Parks are charging no fees on 25-28 August. In addition, many N.P.S. sites have special events planned.

Not all those events relate to the Revolutionary period, even in greater Boston. Boston National Historical Park, for instance, is focusing on World War II. But here’s a selection that fit our period:

Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters, Cambridge—
In addition to family activities, a teddy bear tea, a 1916 jazz concert, a poetry slam, and a teen centennial celebration on different days, the site will host a showing of the movie 1776 on the evening of Saturday, 27 August. This musical was part of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s inspiration for Hamilton; his book even quotes a line from its opening number. The showing will be outside after sunset, so hope that day’s weather is like Philadelphia in the summer of 1776: no rain and warm.

Minute Man National Historical Park
At the visitor center near the Lexington-Lincoln border, activities scheduled all weekend include “Junior Ranger Centennial Activity Books.” There will also be a Battle Road Trail Walk starting at the visitor center at 12:30 P.M. on Saturday; “Bring plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes!” And there will be cake.

At the North Bridge in Concord, on Saturday at 2:30, there will be a presentation on “Sculpting an American Icon: Daniel Chester French and the Minute Man” by Donna Hassler of Chesterwood and David Wood of the Concord Museum. Rep. Niki Tsongas, N.P.S. Deputy Regional Director Rose Fennell, park superintendent Nancy Nelson, and local officials will also speak. And there will be cake.

On Sunday, the world-famous Middlesex County Volunteers Fife & Drum Corps will perform at the North Bridge at 11:00 A.M. No cake promised.

Adams National Historical Park, Quincy
On Thursday from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. the park will host visits from a young John Adams (as portrayed by Michael Lepage) and a matriarchal Abigail Adams (Patricia Bridgman), as well as John Quincy Adams (Jim Cooke) and his wife Louisa Catherine Adams (Judy Bernstein, 1:00-2:00 only).

For more details on each of these events and others, please visit the N.P.S.’s own websites.

Finally, Oxford University Press is honoring the Park Service by launching a webpage that “has brought together, and made freely available, some of its best online, scholarly content related to the National Park Service.” I can’t say I’m impressed with the range of resources so far, but I found the O.D.N.B. biography of Lord George Germain.


AdamC1776 said...

I realize its not a Revolutionary War site but Lowell National party is also holding an event this Saturday https://www.nps.gov/lowe/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?event=300FD4F1-1DD8-B71B-0B03CC970855E214

J. L. Bell said...

I think every park is commemorating the agency's centennial in some way this week. I focused on Revolutionary-tinged events, but there's plenty to do!