My birthday is December 17th and the eve of my annual celebration is yet another historic reason to celebrate: The Boston Tea Party.
While today we associate the name Samuel Adams with beer (who it is actually named for), Mr. Adams was an important figure in eighteenth century history. Samuel Adams was a member of the Sons of Liberty, an organization formed by the those in the Boston community who were patriots looking to establish their rights. He was also second cousin to future President John Adams.
My favorite saying of this time period is: “No Taxation Without Representation”. Not only it is a catchy phrase but it explains a main cause behind the American Revolution, in a nutshell.
These patriots of our not yet founded country decided to take charge by making a bold move. They were tired of adhering to British laws and taxes, with no say whatsoever in their government. Tea was a staple of British life as well as a highly taxable item which made this protest an even stronger statement.
On December 16, 1773 hundreds of men and women took to Boston harbor armed with boxes and boxes of tea and proceeded to hurl them overboard.
It is this significant event for which this next item appeared on my itinerary; the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
While many tour guides will say this is an activity most likely to please children, I didn’t find that to be true at all. In fact without proper appreciation of the history as well as our current state of affairs, the details shared here will quite literally go over your head. I believe it is similar to the reason why Betsy Ross’s House (http://bit.ly/2AyJTDr) didn’t have a positive affect on me when I visited as a first grader.
I have long been interested in the Revolutionary War and the periods that led up to it. Thus, I had no intention of skipping this museum on my very first trip to Boston.
Out of my party of six, I took my mother and aunt with me to this museum’s re-enactment. I believe those who stayed behind missed out.
The encounter begins in the Sons of Liberty meeting room where none other than Samuel Adams comes in to speak to the crowd. His rallying cries about the “current” predicament and actions that are needed get us all worked up. From there it is onto the ship’s exterior.
When you first encounter this town hall style meeting you are handed a card of a role to play based on someone that was actually in the room that night. All I remember about mine is that he was a doctor. For those who fear public interactions don’t fret! This is largely left to the children to engage their interest.
We are guided through the events of the night as we act them out. Then FINALLY it is time to do some tea tossing. I was uber excited to participate but alas that was left to the children too. I mean what the F??
After that disappointment we were ushered back indoors to see the only remaining tea box that survived that infamous night in 1773. The Robinson Tea Chest, as it is known, is probably the most moving relic from the past I have seen since I saw George Washington’s tent this past summer at a museum in Philadelphia. It hardly seemed real. I could stare at objects like this in amazement endlessly.
The tour lasts about an hour and I was visiting at the very end of the day. For earlier tours you can stop by Abigail’s Tea Room for you guessed it tea, snacks, sandwiches, and even a beer before you hit up the gift shop which I enjoyed a great deal.
This museum brings to life a crucial moment in American history even before America actual existed.
The location is the only part of this experience that may not be entirely accurate.
Historical records state that the Boston Tea Party took place on the ships docked on Griffin’s Wharf. However that spot has since been filled in by landfill and no longer exists.
The current location of the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is as close to the original location as is physical possible.
As you will see in the photograph I took below, the spot is marked appropriately.
I loved my experience here and recommend it for all tourists and locals alike, whether young or old.
For those seeking to delve deeper into the American Revolution, there is a great new museum in Philadelphia (http://bit.ly/2uOyVEy), which opened earlier this year, that does an amazing job telling this story alongside some remarkable artifacts from the era.
This year will mark the two-hundredth and forty-fourth anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
I hope you have plans to commemorate this occasion as I surely do.
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