#Alarmed! 18th Century Social Media
April 2017-November 2019
Networks. Posting. Sharing. Memes. These may sound like buzzwords describing 21st century social media, but all had their equivalents in the 18th century, some with the same names.
In a time of candlelight and horse drawn carriages, there were many sophisticated communications networks in place. Taverns like Buckman Tavern in Lexington played an important role, providing places for people to discover and share information.
Lexington Historical Society’s new exhibit #Alarmed! 18th Century Social Media explores how news went viral 250 years ago, and lets visitors imagine how colonials might have made use of our modern media tools to kick start a revolution.
Located on the second floor of the tavern and open with a regular admission ticket seven days a week, the exhibit contains nearly a dozen interactive activities. The exhibit team of Susan Bennett, Rick Byer, Stacey Fraser, and Lauren Kennedy hopes that visitors engage with the exhibit in both analog and digital ways.
Mass Humanities sponsored a consulting scholar, J. L. Bell, who is a savvy social media user in his own right. He writes the blog Boston1775.com and is active on Twitter, which made him an excellent fit for #Alarmed! The Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati provided additional funding for the exhibit.
Local Boy Scout Pierce Warburton, member of troop #160, earned his Eagle Scout badge by building a replica colonial bar for #Alarmed! David Bogdan, Chris Kauffman, the Lexington Minute Men, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and The Printing Office of Edes + Gill at Old North Church provided exhibit materials, photo opportunities, documents, and printed materials.
The Battle after the Battle
A special exhibit at Buckman Tavern
May 2014 to November 2016
*From June 2017 on, this exhibit is now on view at the Whittemore House in Minute Man National Historical Park. More info.*
Where did America’s War for really begin? For two centuries, two towns have battled over bragging rights. A controversy ignited by a visit from the Revolutionary War hero Lafayette eventually escalated into open warfare involving accusations, depositions, and even a sitting president of the United States.
The Battle after the Battle takes a lighthearted look at two centuries of “local bickerings and petty jealousies” between the two towns, complete with bold graphics, historic artifacts, audio content, and hands-on displays. Visitors will be invited to vote for themselves whether Lexington or Concord has the better claim as the place the American Revolution really began.
Rarely seen artifacts on display include:
• The 1799 slate tablet commemorating the fight on Lexington Common
• The forty-foot long banner that greeted Marquis de Lafayette in 1825
• Stereoscope cards visitors can use to get a 3-D view of the 1875 Centennial celebrations
• The original Patriots’ Day proclamation issued by Governor Frederic Greenhalge in 1894, along with the quill pen he used to sign it.
“This brings up the great civil war now raging between the two towns…When Concord announced an oration, Lexington met it with another, and so both went on with processions, balls, unveiling of statues.”
-New York Times, April 17, 1875
As proof that the dispute between the two towns is largely a thing of the past, The Lexington Historical Society is delighted to be mounting the exhibit in partnership with the Concord Museum, which is putting on a simultaneous exhibit entitled The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775. The Concord exhibit presents an hour-by-hour chronology of April 19, 1775, with fifty authentic artifacts from that day, including several from Lexington.
The Battle After the Battle
An exhibit by the Lexington Historical Society
Funding provided by the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati
Guest Curators: Rick Beyer and Lauren Kennedy
Curator - Archivist, Lexington Historical Society: Elaine Doran
Historical Research: Richard Kollen
Photography: Paul Doherty
Special thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their support:
The Concord Museum, New York City Hall, The American Antiquarian Society, Windsor Conservation, Lexington Town Offices, MegaPrint Inc., Plymouth, NH