Sometimes marketing the Historical Society's events and activities is about writing press releases and sending them to local press outlets. Sometimes, it's about creating content for our social media platforms and building engagement on those accounts. Sometimes, it's a whole other animal.
In early June, I noticed that the Special Collections Department at Occidental College had a photo on their Instagram feed showing temporary tattoos of their college seal! I loved it and immediately decided we had to do something similar.
After boring the rest of the staff with different ideas, I settled on pulling the icons from our logo and creating a tattoo for each one (see the photos at the top of this post). In the future, we may roll out different versions of the tattoos based on our activities and events. A la Oprah, YOU GET A TRICORN HAT, YOU GET A MID-CENTURY MODERN HOUSE, EVERYBODY GETS A HAMILTUNES SILHOUETTE!
We've ordered a test run of 200 tattoos and plan to launch them at this Wednesday's 4th of July event. In the future, we will make them available at Patriot's Day, Discovery Day, etc. Pick your favorite (vote below!), keep an eye out, and grab one for yourself!
-Stacey Fraser, Collections and Outreach Manager
If you’ve driven through downtown Lexington in the last six weeks, you’ve probably noticed an abundance of yellow school buses parked along the Battle Green and slightly longer wait times at pedestrian crosswalks as students shuffle to and from the several historic sites located in Lexington. May and June have become synonymous with “School Group Season” here at Lexington Historical Society and this year’s season has proven to be one of our busiest seasons yet. So far this season we’ve welcomed groups from twenty-four different schools and three home-school collaborative groups. All six public elementary schools from Lexington have visited us for a morning of fun, but we’ve seen interest from other school districts in the local area start to grow as well. In fact, this season we’ve welcomed groups from as far away as California and even a group from Melbourne, Australia!
While a tour of one of our historic houses is always a fun option and one that 629 students have chosen this season, our programs designed for school children are becoming an increasingly popular option. The Historical Society offers a variety of programs that allow students to not only learn the importance of Lexington, but to also experience the history of the town during their time with us. Every program that we offer students is designed around the use of primary sources and allows students to use these unique materials to help them accomplish a task associated with the program. Whether students are studying Reverend Jonas Clarke’s diary entries to help create a meal for his family or using sworn depositions from Captain Parker’s militia to try and determine who fired the first shots on Lexington Green, students are getting the chance to be proactive in their learning. They can turn on their minds and be creative in these programs. Of the close to 1800 students who have visited Lexington Historical Society this season, nearly 1200 have participated in one of our school programs.
Although this year’s School Group season is slowly winding down, I am looking forward to next year as we are planning to introduce several new initiatives that will be sure to be of interest to young minds. We’re planning to add a new “Simple Machines” program that will teach students to prototype simple machines designed to assist with chores done in Colonial times. We’ve also partnered with Lexington's EMPOW Studios to offer STEM themed school programs where students will learn about the rich history of Lexington. Then they will apply their newfound knowledge by creating stop motion animation projects as well as 3-D building projects (photos above). Finally, we are going to be expanding our home-school opportunities this fall as we look to expand the ways in which Lexington’s rich history can be accessed. So while the school year is over, we’ve already begun preparations to make next year’s “School Group Season” an even better one.
-Chris Kauffman, Education and Interpretation Manager
On April 19, 1776, Reverend Jonas Clarke gave a sermon “to commemorate the murder, blood-shed and Commencement of Hostilities, between Great-Britain and America” begun at the Battle of Lexington exactly one year before. Could he possibly have known, or even imagined, the importance that we would place on the handwritten manuscript of this sermon nearly 250 years later?
In 1846, a daguerreotype, the earliest form of photography, was taken of the first steam train traveling from Lexington to Boston. Would this photographer have realized the rarity of this image, or the historical significance that this steam train would come to have on the town of Lexington and the region as a whole?
Loring Muzzey, a lifelong Lexington resident, created an extensive scrapbook of his experiences in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Would he have appreciated that this would be an invaluable resource to future generations?
Though the individuals referenced above likely did not recognize the importance of their creations, the fact remains that these items, and others like them, have an intrinsic value to historians, scholars, and residents of Lexington and the nation. Thus, the manuscript, daguerreotype, and scrapbook mentioned above are just a few of the items that Lexington Historical Society has made a concerted effort to conserve, preserve, and restore for future generations.
At the Society, we have a long list of items that meet the necessary criteria for conservation work by specialists, and we make every effort to make this a priority. To that end, we have introduced an annual Conservation Evening, where members of the community are asked to donate toward specific items that we have designated as in need of immediate attention. This year, we raised money towards the conservation of four tavern ledgers and day books dating to the late 18th and early 19th centuries from Buckman and Munroe Taverns. Through the generous donations of many patrons, we have raised enough funds to complete the work on the two most costly books and are continuing to raise money to conserve the remaining two. If you are interested in helping us achieve this goal, or if you’re simply interested in learning about the other conservation projects that we have undertaken in the last several years, you can do so by visiting this section of our website.
The conservation of the ledgers will be completed by Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, MA, and the Society works with them quite often, as they specialize exclusively in treating paper-based collections, such as maps, photographs, books, and manuscripts. They also have a wonderful Imaging Services department, which provides us with high resolution digital images of documents that might be difficult to photograph or scan. The Society only works with premier conservators for all our conservation needs, including: Carmichael Art Conservation in Bedford, MA for treating works of fine art; EverPresent in Newton, MA for digitizing audio and visual media; Trefler’s in Needham, MA for full service restoration of wooden furniture, porcelain, ceramics, silver, and other fine collectibles; and Windsor Conservation in Dover, MA for textile conservation.
-Elizabeth Mubarek, Archives Manager
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.