‘Making History on the Common’ Day Attracts Just Under 1,000 Students

Despite the light rain, just under 1,000 Boston elementary school students in grades three through five participated in the Friends of the Public Garden’s eighth annual “Making History on the Common Day” on June 5.

It was a fun-filled, action-packed day of learning. Some of the activities that occurred were:  colonial games and trades led by educators from Historic New England; instruction on how to plant a Native American “three sisters” garden of corn, beans and squash; a performance by the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers; a demonstration by the Freedom Trail Foundation of the use of wooden pillories for punishments in the 17th and 18th centuries; debating about the fate of Boston Common, urban planning, public transportation led by “Julia Ward Howe” and the “Boston Evening Transcript” with New England Historic Genealogical Society;  students met sheep from Wright-Locke Farm;  a re-enactment of the valor of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first regiment of African American soldiers from the North to fight in the Civil War;  a demonstration of New England contra dances;  Exploring propaganda and patriotism when Victory Gardens were planted on the Common during World War I  Mapping the Common with the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center from the Boston Public Library;  students learned about the long history of public protests on the Common and could participate in a mini-protest of their choosing;  a demonstration of Native American tool making and flint-knapping by Boston City Archaeologist Joe Bagley;  and viewing the line of blue survey flags marking the pre-colonial shoreline along the Charles Street edge of the Common.

“It was great to see these kids extending their learning outside the classroom and experiencing our rich history and culture in tangible ways,” said Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of the Friends. “The students are engaged and connect with historical events in a fun way when they attend ‘Making History on the Common.’”

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