Since this year marks the 250th anniversary of the events leading up to the American Revolution, two local landmarks and historic sites on the Freedom Trail have joined together to celebrate this milestone in our nation’s history.
Revolutionary Spaces unites the Old South Meeting House and Old State House “as both landmarks and museums, as well as gathering spaces for the open exchange of ideas and the continuing practice of democracy,” according to a statement from the newly formed nonprofit.
“We’ve really been immersed in the planning process for more than a year with both boards and staffs, and key partners from the cultural and historical communities,” said Matthew Cotty, director of development. “The idea was really together to be stronger stewards of the two buildings and build and really enhance on their dynamic programming and tell the unique story of the American Revolution.”
The commemorative events kick off with a Boston Massacre 250th Anniversary Commemoration at the Old South Meeting House, located at 310 Washington St., on Thursday, March 5, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with limited seating available to the public; and on Saturday, March 7, from 1-5 p.m., re-enactors will reinterpret the historic event inside and outside of the Old State House, Old South Meeting House and the Edes & Gill Print Shop at Faneuil Hall, and from 7 to 7:30 p.m., the reenactment takes place outside the Old State House near the Massacre site on the Freedom Trail
“The Boston Massacre is a pivotal historic event that should not be forgotten. At the same time, public history should not be limited to telling stories about our past,” Nat Sheidley, Revolutionary Spaces’ president and CEO, said in a press release. “We’re using the memory of this significant event to both bring history into the present day and use that platform to foster dynamic, interactive conversations about democracy through art, drama, conversation and exhibits.”
On the night of March 5, 1770, more than 1,000 British soldiers sent to reinforce the Crown’s rule clashed with an indignant mob of Bostonians on King Street (now the site of Old State Street), resulting in the deaths of five men, the first of whom being Crispus Attucks, a self-liberated sailor of mixed African and Native American roots.
Revolutionary Spaces will open a temporary exhibit called “Reflecting Attucks” March 5, at the Old State House, which explores his life and memory of the Massacre’s first victim and runs through March of next year, as well as present an encore production of “Blood on the Snow” – award-winning playwright Patrick Gabridge’s hour-long dramatization of the Boston Town meeting of March 6, 1770 — one day after the Massacre – this fall at the Council Chambers at the Old State House.
Also this year, Revolutionary Spaces is partnering with Now + There – a nonprofit that helps foster public art throughout the city – at the Old State House, which Cotty describes as “ a multi-disciplinary art project that really reflects the Massacre and how we use it to look at history today.”
And while plenty is in store for 2020, Revolutionary Spaces is already planning ahead to the 250th anniversaries of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution in 2023 and 2026, respectively.
“Public history like we’ve never seen before is our big thing,” Cotty said. “We’re bringing programming in the coming year and into the future that challenges our understanding of our shared past and help us build on the future that we want for Boston and the nation.”
Visit www.RevolutionarySpaces.org for up-to-date information on Revolutionary Spaces.