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Welcome to the website of the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The society is an educational, non-profit that seeks to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom, and a respect for our national symbols and American citizenship. We do this by perpetuating the stories of courage, sacrifice, and triumph of those who achieved our independence to inspire succeeding generations.

Exhibit: The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775

The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775 Exhibit

Open to the public: Friday, April 18 through Sunday, September 21, 2014

(Concord, MA; January 23, 2014) On April 30, 1775, Concord’s minister William Emerson wrote in his diary: “This Month remarkable for the greatest Events taking Place in the present Age.”

As Emerson’s diary entry makes plain, the significance of the events of April 19th was not lost on the people who participated. The process of commemorating the event began almost as soon as the smoke cleared, and one way people memorialized the date was by saving relics. This spring the Concord Museum will bring together over fifty of these authentic objects —many for the first time since that day —in a remarkable exhibition entitled:

The exhibition will follow an hour-by-hour account of the actions of British Regulars and Patriots on April 19th, 1775, presenting a chronological and geographical timeline of the day and representing many of the communities surrounding Boston — Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Arlington (Menotomy), and Cambridge — whose militias played a prominent role in the day-long engagement.

Organized by Concord Museum curator David Wood and militaria expert Joel Bohy, the exhibition will draw from the Museum’s important collection, as well as a number of private and institutional collections. “We are extremely grateful,” said Peggy Burke, Concord Museum Executive Director, “for the generous collaborative spirit of our sister institutions, particularly the historical societies and libraries in the Minuteman communities, as well as a number of private collectors, for sharing the treasures of April 19th with our visitors to this extraordinary exhibition.”

While each object is intrinsically valuable, a central goal of the exhibition is to highlight the role that objects can play in the interpretation of historical events. Collectively, these artifacts paint a fresh and dramatic picture of a significant day in American history. Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Paul Revere’s Lantern
  • A letter John Hancock wrote from Lexington at 9:00 p.m. on April 18 (private collection)
  • William Diamond’s drum that summoned the Lexington militia to the Common (Lexington Historical Society)
  • James Hayward’s powder horn, pierced by the bullet that killed him (Acton Memorial Library)
  • A powder horn with original woven strap that belonged to Abner Hosmer, who was killed at the North Bridge (Concord Museum)
  • The powder horn of Amos Barrett, whose first-person reminiscence of the North Bridge fight is among the most vivid and detailed accounts to survive (Concord Museum)
  • The sword of Captain Nathan Barrett, who ordered the Patriots to return fire at the Bridge (Concord Museum)
  • And, from the British Regulars, a sergeant’s musket and the sword of a private in the 10th Regiment (Concord Museum) and a Royal Artillery Pouch (Arlington Historical Society, First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington)

These objects demonstrate a profound understanding of the dangerous situation and an absolute commitment to its resolution on the part of the participants, who, by the end of that long day, numbered some twenty thousand from all over eastern Massachusetts. David F. Wood, curator of the Concord Museum, notes that “though a great deal has been written about April 19th, it is still the case that some details of the action that day are found only in the surviving artifacts. Through this exhibition,” he says, “we hope not just to assemble these relics, but also to reexamine them for the evidence they may contain about the events of that day.”

The Concord Museum is delighted to collaborate with so many of its neighboring communities and is especially pleased to have partnered with the Lexington Historical Society both on the exhibition and related programming. The Lexington Historical Society will open an exhibition on May 2, 2014 that will take a lighthearted look at the longstanding rivalry between Lexington and Concord for historical preeminence in the events of April 19, 1775. Titled The Battle after the Battle: The Tug of War Between Lexington and Concord for Revolutionary Fame, the exhibit draws on documents, photographs and artifacts from both institutions that illustrate this sometimes heated, sometimes humorous conflict. Both institutions hop that visitors will attend both exhibitions as they present an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to explore both the objects and the accounts of that fateful day.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Lead Sponsor, Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers, and grants from the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. Corporate Sponsors include N.P. James Insurance Agency and Woodman & Eaton.

Programming and Events

An exciting calendar of programs and events will accompany the exhibition, adding another layer of interpretation and an opportunity for hands-on learning.

A large encampment of Revolutionary War soldiers will take place on the Concord Museum’s lawn beginning on Friday, April 18, 2014. The Museum’s lawn will transform into a Revolutionary War encampment over the Patriots’ Day weekend, with skilled re-enactors from David Brown’s Company setting up camp overnight and interacting with visitors about the Minutemen’s experience on April 19, 1775. Organized by militaria and historic arms specialist Joel Bohy, this historically accurate encampment will honor the events of April 19, 1775 by recreating one of the companies of soldiers who were at the North Bridge that day. A full day of programs with highly trained re-enactors will take place at the museum as well as a march to the North Bridge for a dawn salute on April 19, 2014 planned in collaboration with Minuteman National Historical Park (MNHP). (To note: The Concord Museum will be closed on Sunday, April 20, 2014, Easter Sunday but will be open on Monday, April 21, 2014 with related Patriots Day programming).

Gallery Talks with Concord Museum Curator David Wood
The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775
Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 2 pm: David Wood will elaborate on the remarkable objects selected for The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775and share some of their stories with us.
Free with Museum Admission; space is limited – for reservations call 978 369 9763 x 216

Monday, April 21, 2014 at 2 pm: David Wood will elaborate on the remarkable objects selected for The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775and share some of their stories with us.
Free with Museum Admission; space is limited – for reservations call 978 369 9763 x 216

Patriots’ Day at the Concord Museum – Monday, April 21, 2014
Revolutionary Family Fun 11 – 3 pm
Crafts and games for families. A patriotic treasure hunt and Family Guide exploring the Museum’s Revolutionary War objects will enable younger visitors and families to learn about revolutionary Massachusetts in a fun and engaging way together – ongoing.

About the Concord Museum: The Concord Museum is where all of Concord’s remarkable past is brought to life through an inspiring collection of historical, literary and decorative arts treasures. Renowned for the 1775 Revere lantern and Henry Thoreau’s Walden desk, the Concord Museum is home to a nationally significant collection of American decorative arts, including clocks, furniture and silver. Founded in 1886, the Museum is a gateway to historic Concord for visitors from around the world and a vital cultural resource for the town and the region. Visit www.concordmuseum.org

Admission

General admission to the Museum is $10 for adults, $8 Seniors (62 & over), $8 Students with valid id, $5 Youth 6-18. Members and children under 6 are free.

Hours

January—March: Mon.–Sat., 11:00–4:00; Sun., 1:00–4:00
April—December: Mon.–Sat., 9:00–5:00; Sun., 12:00–5:00;
Sundays in June, July and Aug., 9:00–5:00

The Museum is closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day, and closes at 1:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Media Contact: Emer McCourt, 978-369-9763 x 211

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