BOSTON — This November and December, The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, a floating museum dedicated to accurately reliving and representing a key time in history (1773–1775), is offering several new virtual programs. These programs allow people to learn about and experience the Boston Tea Party, “the single most important event leading up to the American Revolution,” from the comfort and safety of their own home or the classroom (whether at home, in-person or a hybrid model of learning). A new virtual ‘Tea Talks’ series has been launched highlighting various stories of the Boston Tea Party, in addition to offering virtual field trips ideal for teaching children about this iconic event that helped shape the United States of America.
“Every day, the entire team at The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is passionate about telling and teaching the story of the Boston Tea Party to visitors,” said Shawn P. Ford, executive director of The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. “In this COVID-era through which we are all navigating, our creative team has done a masterful job creating a new ‘Tea Talks’ series highlighting interesting and engaging virtual discussions about interesting aspects the Boston Tea Party, in addition to cost effective virtual field trips for teachers and students who are not able to visit the museum directly to learn about his pivotal time in American history in an interactive and immersive way.”
New ‘Tea Talks’
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum launches an in-depth, live and interactive monthly series highlighting the myths, truths and untold stories of the Boston Tea Party. These one-hour specialized Zoom webinars, led by a Boston Tea Party expert at The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, are designed to be informative, engaging and fun, and ideal for curious minds of all ages — from parents with kids at home, seniors, history buffs and folks looking to learn and expand their horizon with regard to American history. Each ‘Tea Talk’ costs $15 and lasts one hour. Participants must register at bostonteapartyship.com/virtual-museum. All presentations times take place in Eastern time zone.
In November 2020, the following new ‘Tea Talks’ will be presented:
Ships of the Boston Tea Party
Four ships bearing East India Company Tea were sent to Boston in 1773. Three of them arrived in Boston Harbor, sending the town into a frenzy. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum leads a virtual discussion focused on the important role these ships played in the events that would ultimately lead to a revolution. This presentation will explore the types of vessels involved in the Boston Tea Party, the construction methods used to recreate them for the museum, and share anecdotes and information about the ship owners and crews that sailed them. Available dates/times:
- Wed., Nov. 4, 2020: 7 p.m.
- Wed., Nov. 18, 2020: 7 p.m.
- Sat., Nov. 28, 2020: 2 p.m.
In December 2020, the following new ‘Tea Talks’ will be presented:
“Boston Harbor, a Teapot Tonight!” – The Boston Tea Party Story
This Dec. 16 commemorates the 247th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party that was described by John Adams as, “the most magnificent movement of all.” Experts at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum discuss the dramatic details of the Boston Tea Party and the lasting legacy of this iconic event.
- Wed., Dec. 2, 2020: 7 p.m.
- Sat., Dec. 12, 2020: 2 p.m.
The Making of a Reenactment
Since 2012, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum has been the proud co-producer of the Annual Reenactment of the Boston Tea Party. Taking place every Dec. 16 (the actual date of the Boston Tea Party), this event has become a Boston tradition and has grown into one of the largest moving theatrical productions in the nation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this large-scale event will not be produced in 2020. However, in honor of this tradition and in commemoration of the 247th Boston Tea Party anniversary, members of the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum’s production team will be leading a special behind-the-scenes look at the process of researching, planning, creating, producing, and reenacting one of the most iconic moments in American history. Only one date/time available:
• Wed., Dec. 9, 2020: 7 p.m.
Additional ‘Tea Talks’ will be added for January, February and March 2021.
Virtual field trip tours
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum supplements teaching curriculums by offering virtual field trip tours to learn about the Boston Tea Party and other aspects of this time in U.S. history, without leaving the classroom or home. Teachers around the United States and schools internationally have been taking part in these virtual field trip tours.
These virtual tours, presented exclusively by The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, are a way to bring the immersive experience of visiting the museum directly to classes using video conferencing technology allowing students to participate in many defining moments in American History. The experiences unfold in real time and hosts, costumed Colonial Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum actors, are able to interact directly with the students remotely. Students play active roles in these real time sessions and are encouraged to ask questions and participate throughout.
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum virtual field trip tour program is available year-round. Each program costs $250 and lasts about 45 minutes. All times are subject to availability due to usage space and time zone adjustments.
The following virtual tour program/experiences are available:
The Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party session covers a range of topics starting with the Stamp Act (1765) and concluding with a discussion on the Battle of Lexington and Concord (1775). Each student receives a character card prior to the experience. Through this virtual tour, the class is led in a debate on the taxes that preceded the Tea Act (1773). Students play an active role recreating the town meeting held just hours prior to The Boston Tea Party debating taxation without representation, and the issues that pushed Massachusetts down the road to revolution. Students assume the role of the Loyalists and Patriots who were in Boston during the early revolutionary era. The class storms aboard one of the authentic replica vessels at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, the Beaver or the Eleanor, and cast off the yoke of tyranny by destroying the Crown’s tea. They also get a taste of what life was like for sailors in the 18th-century by exploring below decks onboard one the vessels that moored at Griffin’s Wharf that night. Finally, the students discover how the Sons of Liberty successfully overcame obstacles to accomplish their goals, and achieve independence.
Boston Massacre Trial
This virtual experience captures the tensions in the town between the occupying force of British regulars and the Sons of Liberty as a result of the Boston Massacre that took place on King Street in Boston in 1770. The class is greeted by John Adams, who presents a compelling argument in defense of the soldiers, and Robert Treat Paine, who argues that the redcoats should be found guilty. Students play the role of witnesses, magistrates and jurors in this emotionally charged, riveting reenactment of the historic Boston Massacre trial, held just months after the tragic event.
Teachers can book virtual tours by contacting The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum directly at (617) 531-6241 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teachers in 37 states have already booked virtual tours and, internationally, schools in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Spain have also taken part in these remote learning, virtual tour experiences offered by The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
“The Boston Tea Party virtual tour session has allowed my Midwestern land-locked students to truly step into the experience and even participate in it a bit,” said Mary Robison, a fifth-grade social studies teach at Westfield Intermediate School in Westfield, Indiana. “They get to be a part of the fury leading up to it, they get a tour below decks, and they get to cheer on the actors as they dump the tea overboard. It makes the event much more real to our 21st-century kids.”
Not only are teachers across the United States using these virtual field trip tours in their classrooms, but senior community centers in Ohio, Illinois and Florida have also taken part in these virtual tours to stimulate and educate seniors in a fun and interactive way.
According to Emily Abrahamson, life enrichment manager at Greenfields Geneva, a Friendship Senior Options Community in Geneva, Illinois, “Our senior community launched a new series in 2018 called Exploring the World Our Way. Each month we embark on a virtual field trip to a different museum, cultural institution or national park. We’ve ‘traveled’ all around the world, but our most favorite and memorable experience was with The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Residents were transported back to the 1770s and got to be in character themselves with speaking roles provided by the museum. We supplied colonial hats and even served Boston-themed fare in the dining room that evening. Our residents are still raving about it more than a year later! Huzzah!”
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, which opened in June 2012 and is owned and operated by Historic Tours of America, is situated over the same body of water where the Boston Tea Party took place 245 years ago. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (summer/spring) and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (fall/winter). Tours run every 30 minutes in the fall/winter and every 15 minutes in the spring/summer and last 1 hour.