I’m wandering around outside the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum on the Channel, waiting for my tour to begin. It’s an unseasonably warm January afternoon of sunny blue skies and melting snow on the waterfront. As I’m wandering around the building, over the sound of the colonial hornpipe music I suddenly hear something happening above me. A woman, dressed in colonial clothing, bursts out the top window and yells for me to join her in discussing my qualms with those presumptuous English. From there, I’m swept into the world of stamp taxes, tarring and hardtack for an experience that would prove quite revolutionary.
The interactive and engaging tour through the history of the Boston Tea Party and beginning of the American Revolution, included reenacting cast members who lead me (acting the part of an angry revolutionist named James Brewer) through the sense of mounting tensions in Boston leading up to the fateful night in 1773. Donning feathers and (gasp) my own red coat, we boarded the Eleanor and cast off replicas of the tea boxes into the harbor with plenty of huzzahs and here heres to go around.
While the interaction and high energy of the reenactors maintain the attention of those perhaps not of the history buff variety, the tour will also excite participants familiar with the time period. We entered the dark belly of the vessel, an authentically restored tea ship, and saw the living corridors of both crew and captain (lots of gawking at the less than ideal living conditions).
Though the museum uses historical artifacts to tell the story of the event, it also utilizes modern and animated technology, such as an oil paintings that come alive to enter arguments with one another or holographs addressing the reenactors. I found that the surprising and unexpected use of modern technology did not distract from the history of the museum, but rather provided a medium to travel back to the period in first-person experience.
At times, it felt a bit surreal to follow around two colonists (who impressively would not, under any circumstance, break character) on a wooden sailing ship against the backdrop of 20-story glass buildings. The place was like a ship preserved in a glass bottle, seemingly impervious to the weathering winds and tides. In many ways, it was a ultra-condensed Fort Point experience of the arts, history and the modernity that a global city landscape offers.
After a hard hour’s work of tea throwing and colonist squabbling, I enjoyed a cup of the beverage in question myself in Abigail’s Tea Room (a recommended Friend’s of Fort Point stop!). I wandered through the museum’s gift shop filled with tea sets, ornaments and hats, allowing myself to slowly adjust back to the land of the 21st century.
Interested in your own revolutionary experience? Check out the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum website for more information and tour times!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. What are your favorite sights in Fort Point? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you want to learn more about what’s going on in Fort Point you can sign up for our newsletter here.
Christine is the Marketing and Social Media Intern for Friends of Fort Point Channel and a current junior at Northeastern University.