A Pivotal Moment in American History Comes Alive (with tea!)

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In the annals of Boston’s tremendous importance in colonial American history, two key events stand out: the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Over the years, some have tried to breathe new life into offering a multilayered and nuanced appraisal of this last most dramatic event. It’s a tall order, indeed.

Fortunately, visitors and locals now have the remarkable Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, located right on Congress Street, where they can learn about the events surrounding that most notable night of December 16, 1773.

In but one short hour (and more if they like), visitors will take part in an interactive experience that takes them through the meeting house to learn about that fateful evening, onto the tea ships the Eleanor and the Beaver, back inside to learn about that most curious and wonderful 1773 tea chest (the only one remaining from that Ceylon celebration) and back into the Minuteman Theatre.

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Photo: Boston Tea Party Ships

What is most remarkable about the entire experience are the holograms and the immersive show that takes place in the Minuteman Theatre. In lesser hands, this entire format could have been gimmicky and trite. As presented, it was truly immersive, engaging, and a real delight.

While I knew the basic contours of this pivotal experience in American history well, I left wanting to know much more. Truly this is the mark of a 21st century museum experience. Historians of all stripes will be delight to know that their website has a wonderful section that will help prepare them before they make the journey to the museum; it happens a great resource for educators as well. Additionally, complete details about visiting the museum (hours, ticket prices, and more) can be found here.

Tea Party Museum

Photo: Boston Tea Party Museum

On a related note, visitors and locals should prepare for December 16, 2013, as the Old South Meeting House and the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum recreate the Boston Tea Party, starting at 6:30 p.m. over at the Old South Meeting House.

While tickets are required to obtain access to some of the activities along the way, the public is encouraged to join along as the events of that fateful evening are recreated in a rare unique fashion. After a meeting of the body of the people at the Old South Meeting House, the procession will continue on over to the ships, where visitors can watch as the tea is spilled into Boston Harbor at 8 p.m. It should be a remarkable evening and all of the particulars of this evening can be found here.