Back in November I wrote a post about being thankful for our visitors and their understanding that Munroe Tavern had to be closed last season as construction of Lexington Historical Society’s Archives and Research Center was being completed. While the closure was not what any staff wanted, it did provide our Interpretation Committee the unique opportunity to reassess our interpretation of the historic tavern. Throughout the season last year, we discussed what stories were key to the house and what opportunities there were to make the experience at Munroe Tavern more immersive for our visitors. After months of discussions, we were ready to unveil the new interpretation at Munroe Tavern just in time for all of the fun events of Patriot’s Day weekend on April 13.
We’ve chosen to expand the story of the British Regulars on the first floor of the Tavern by including more first-person accounts of what the British troops experienced on April 19, 1775 through the use of audio clips that are playable in each room. Thanks to some diligent research done by Stacey Fraser, LHS Collections Manager, regarding what household items make the best blood stains, we’ve added some bloody bandages and even some broken furniture to the rooms on the first floor. The hope is that visitors will have a better sense of what the tavern might have looked like when the Munroe family returned home after the events of April 19th.
As visitors move up the stairs to the second floor of the tavern, they will reconnect with the Munroe family and have the opportunity to learn about the damage that was caused to the town of Lexington during the British retreat. Interpretation Committee member and guide Joan Paglicua and I had to opportunity to do some research at the Massachusetts State Archives and were able to locate the bills of damages that were submitted by Lexington residents following the Battle of Lexington, which are on display for visitors to study.
As always, our knowledgeable guides will be on hand roving through the tavern and interacting with visitors. They will be utilizing a roving interpretation method that has become increasingly popular in museums across the nation. This roving interpretation approach allows for the visitor to determine the path of the interaction and leads to a much more conversational tone between the visitor and the interpreter.
We have also begun to introduce objects from our teaching collection into the tavern interpretation. This will allow visitors to handle reproduction objects similar to items that would have been used by the Munroe family during their everyday normal lives or even the British Regulars during their brief visit to the Tavern on April 19th.
As I said earlier, we were able to open Munroe Tavern on April 13th and will continue to be open on weekends from 12 - 4 pm through Memorial Day. After that, the tavern will be open every day from 12 - 4 pm.
We’ll also be open for a special event on Wednesday May 22nd, as part of a Freedom’s Way Hidden Treasures. This event will be highlighting the Garden of Colonial Flowers outside Munroe Tavern. Members of the Lexington Field and Garden club will be on hand to discuss the garden and Munroe Tavern will be open from 10 am- 4 pm free of charge if you want to stop by for a quick visit.
-Chris Kauffman, Education and Interpretation Manager
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.