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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.

Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail

Boston’s official Freedom Trail takes you to places where history was made! Walk Into History along the 2.5 mile red line leading to nationally significant historic sites, each one an authentic treasure. Preserved and dedicated by the citizens of Boston in 1951, the Freedom Trail is a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, a ship, and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond. Led by 18th-century costumed Freedom Trail Players®, tours feature tales of high treason, mob agitations, revolutionary actions, and partisan fights of the American Revolution. Discover the rich history of the American Revolution, as it began in Boston, where every step tells a story.

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

One of Boston’s most beautiful neighborhoods and right in the center of the city, the south side of Beacon Hill has traditionally been the home of Boston’s “old money” families, known locally as “Brahmins.” Well-kept brick homes in Federal and Greek Revival styles line its tree-shaded streets, and at its heart is Louisburg Square, where homes face onto a leafy private park. Author Louisa May Alcott lived here from 1880 to 1888. The Nichols House Museum, a Federal-style home by Boston architect Charles Bulfinch, shows how Beacon Hill’s upper class residents lived and is filled with collections of 16th- to 19th-century furnishings and decorative arts. At the western foot of Beacon Hill, Charles Street is lined with boutiques and shops that have traditionally catered to the neighborhood and are popular with visitors as well. Beyond Charles Street, facing the Public Garden, The Bull and Finch, established in 1969, inspired the popular television program, Cheers.

The north side of Beacon Hill is far more modest, and has been home to immigrants, including a sizable African American community, since the early 19th century. National Park Service Rangers offer free guided tours of the Black Heritage Trail from April through November and you can follow the trail on a self-guided tour year round. The Boston African American National Historic Site includes 15 pre-Civil War homes, businesses, schools, and churches that give a picture of Boston’s 19th-century African American community. The Museum of Afro-American History operates the African Meeting House, the country’s oldest (1806) church built by and for Black Americans and now restored to its 1854 appearance. The 1834 Abiel Smith School was the first public grammar school for African American children. Displays at both include artifacts, films, art, and sculpture related to the black experience in Boston and New England. All of this may be seen from the Boston Segway Tours.

Harvard University

Harvard in the spring

Harvard in the spring

Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and is widely considered one of the world’s leading academic centers. Go to the Harvard Information Center to take a spirited and entertaining free walking tour of the campus guided by a student who will share history, Harvard lore, and personal perspective. Or you can download a tour from their website. Harvard Yard sits right in Harvard Square, a lively hub for students, “townies,” and visitors, filled with shops, bookstores, and allegedly more places to buy ice cream than any other U.S. city.

Adjoining Harvard Yard is the Renzo Piano-designed home of the Harvard Art Museums, including three formerly separate collections, each of which ranked high as major U.S. art museums. Few universities have such enviable collections. Fogg Art Museum concentrates on Italian early-Renaissance art, the Busch-Reisinger on Expressionist art of central and northern Europe, with Bauhaus objects and paintings by Kandinsky and Klee. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum has one of the world’s best collections of Chinese jade, as well as Chinese bronzes, Japanese prints, Indian art, and Greco-Roman antiquities. Also prominent is the Harvard Musuem of Natural History. The Harvard Walking Tour given by undergraduate students is a great way to see see the campus.

Copley Square

Copley Square

Copley Square

The main square of the Back Bay area is surrounded by both old and ultra-modern buildings. Its architectural highlight is Trinity Church, a red sandstone building designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in his distinctive style, known as Richardson Romanesque. Trinity is widely considered to be his finest work. The murals, frescoes, and painted decorations inside are by John La Farge and much of the fine stained glass is by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. Facing it, across a grassy lawn where you can enjoy a picnic lunch with neighborhood office workers, is the Boston Public Library founded in 1848 as the first publicly funded lending library in the country. Architect Charles Follen McKim designed the present building in 1895. Go inside to see the library’s Renaissance Revival architecture and murals by John Singer Sargent and Edwin Abbey.

On a third side of the square is the venerable Boston institution, the Copley Plaza Hotel, now a Fairmont property; these three buildings, backed by the sheer glass wall of a skyscraper, create a stunning cityscape. A block down Boylston Street, look for the finish line of the Boston Marathon, run each April on Patriot’s Day. Just beyond is the Prudential Center, a 32-acre complex of apartments, shops, restaurants, and a 52-story tower. On its 50th floor you can visit the Skywalk observation deck for 360-degree views of Boston and its surroundings. The Boston Duck Tours are a fund way to visit all of these.

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Across the street from our Weston Copley Hotel, next to the church where our Memorial Service will be, is finish line of the Boston Marathon. Begun in 1897, inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world’s best-known road racing events. It is one of six World Marathon Majors, and is one of four major events held in the United States through the years of both World Wars (Kentucky Derby, Rose Parade, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show are the others).

The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in greater Boston in eastern Massachusetts. It is always held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April. Since 1897, the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has managed this event. The Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 established a record as the world’s largest marathon with 38,708 entrants, 36,748 starters, and 35,868 finishers.

Boston Common

Boston Common and Public Garden Swan Boats

Boston Common and Public Garden Swan Boats

In the heart of the city is Boston Common, America’s oldest park and the start of the Freedom Trail. In this large green space, which is much used by locals year-round, are various monuments and the Central Burying Ground of 1756. You can rent skates to use on the Frog Pond from November through mid-March, enjoy the spring blossoms and fall foliage colors reflecting in its surface, and in summer, watch youngsters splash about in the wading pool.

Adjoining it on the west side of Charles Street, is the 24-acre Public Garden, America’s oldest botanical garden, as well as Victorian-style monuments and statues, including an equestrian statue of George Washington and popular modern bronzes of a family of ducks immortalized in Robert McCloskey’s children’s book Make Way for the Ducklings. One of Boston’s most iconic experiences for all ages is riding around the lake in the garden’s center on the famous Swan Boats, first launched in the 1870s. Another class is the >hop-on, hop-off tours around the historical sections of the city.

Fenway Park

Fenway Park

Fenway Park

Known as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”, Fenway Park is one of the most fabled sports complexes in the country, and even if you’re not a sports fan, a tour of it is both fun and interesting. The home of the Boston Red Sox looks much the same as it did when it opened on April 20, 1912. One of its most recognizable features is the Green Monster, the 37-foot green wall in left field, and the park still maintains some of the remnants of “old time” baseball such as the hand-operated scoreboard. It also has the lowest seating capacity in the Major Leagues holding only 33,871 spectators (a fact that makes tickets exceedingly scarce).

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

One of the leading art museums in the country, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts excels in its collections of Impressionist paintings, ancient Egyptian treasures, Asian and Persian fine arts, and works from ancient Greece and the Middle East. But its newest and crowning achievement is the construction of an entire American Wing to house, integrated in chronological order, outstanding collections of American paintings, furniture, decorative arts, folk art, silver, glassware, and design dating from pre-Columbian arts to the Art Deco and Modernist eras. Highlights elsewhere include a 12th-century lacquered-wood sculpture of a Buddhist Bodhisattva and Korean painted screens, the ivory and gold statue of the Minoan Snake Goddess from 1500 BC, and a statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Mycerinus and his queen from 2548-2530 BC.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Set in a building its eccentric creator modeled after a 15th-century Venetian palace, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum displays its collections in rooms surrounding a four-story central courtyard filled with flowering plants and fountains. The priceless 2500-piece collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, decorative arts, books, and manuscripts reflect the personal tastes and considerable expertise of Mrs. Gardner herself, whose own flamboyance further adds to the charm of the museum.

Behind the palazzo, a 70,000-square-foot glass-clad building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano creates new viewpoints for the original palazzo and stunning spaces for music and visual arts, allowing the museum to showcase exceptional contemporary works and artists. Rather than clash or compete with the original building, Piano’s wing simply provides a new glass through which to view Mrs. Gardner’s palazzo. From almost anywhere in the new building are uninterrupted prospects of the palace and gardens through transparent walls. After you tour the museum, stroll through the Fens, a long green space where you’ll find a beautiful rose garden in bloom from June through October.

Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra

Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra

Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra

The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert in 1881 at Symphony Hall, one of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, opened in 1900. Over more than a century of history, its conductors have included greats such as Pierre Monteux, Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Seiji Ozawa, and James Levine. In addition to its regular symphony season, the hall is home to the Boston Pops Orchestra, which sets an international standard for performances of lighter music. For many visitors, the highlight of a trip is a Pops concert, either in Symphony Hall or at the Hatch Memorial Shell, an Art Deco outdoor music shell on the riverside Esplanade that has become a Boston landmark. The shell hosts a regular program of concerts and other special events, and is especially famous for the Boston Pop’s yearly performance of the 1812 Overture on July 4th. Audiences sit on the lawn in front of the shell with views of Cambridge, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill. You can go behind the scenes on a tour of Symphony Hall where you’ll hear the history and traditions of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, its musicians and conductors.

Boston Harbor

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Par

The Boston waterfront has seen many changes since its early beginnings as a colonial shipping port. After a period of decline for much of the 20th century, new life was breathed into the area in the mid-1970s with an ambitious redevelopment plan. Today, this interesting mix of residential and commercial space is connected by HarborWalk, an attractive walkway along the waterfront, with parks, public art, benches, cafés, interpretive signs, and access to several means of exploring the harbor by cruise boat, ferry, or water taxi. A shuttle-boat also runs to the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Although it extends from Charlestown to South Boston – and will expand considerably farther – the part you won’t want to miss goes from the North End through the wisteria-draped pergola of Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, past Commercial Wharf, India Wharf, and Long Wharf, and by Rowes Wharf before curving along the harbor into the vibrant Seaport District to the Institute of Contemporary Art, an art museum dramatically cantilevered above the water. The Boston Tea Party Ship, a replica of one of the original ships from which the Sons of Liberty dumped tea overboard the night of December 16, 1773, offers tours with a participatory reenactment of the event.

At Rowes Wharf, you can board an Odyssey cruise through Boston Harbor from Castle Island to George’s Island, then east to the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, and back north to Charlestown Naval Yard before returning to the wharf. You can enjoy lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch as you savor the views of the Boston skyline from the water. The skyline is especially beautiful at night, when you can take a starlight or full moon cruise.

New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium

Overlooking the waterfront, the New England Aquarium features more than 20,000 fish and aquatic animals representing over 550 species. A man-made Caribbean coral reef houses a large variety of tropical fish and underwater life including sharks, turtles, and moray eels. The Edge of the Sea touch tank allows visitors to handle small invertebrates like crabs, starfish, and urchins. Outside the aquarium, visitors can watch harbor seals play, perform, and live in their enclosed habitat. The New England Aquarium also sponsors educational programs and whale-watching tours outside of Boston Harbor, and the adjacent IMAX Theater shows 40-minute films on nature subjects.

Museum of Science

Museum of Science

Museum of Science

Exhibits in this extensive science museum encourage learning through hands-on exploration of science and technology, but the museum is not just for children. Physics, biology, chemistry, ecology, zoology, astronomy, computers, and more are explored in more than 700 permanent, hands-on exhibits that are enhanced by stage presentations and interpreters. Highlights are a 65-million-year-old fossil discovered in the Dakota Badlands, an electricity dome with continuing programs, the Butterfly Garden where you can walk among free-flying butterflies in a conservatory filled with exotic plants, a live animal center, a chance to join local meteorologists to learn weather forecasting, and ComputerPlace, where you can operate a robot and explore how your computer stores information. The planetarium presents daily laser and star shows, and the Mugar Omni Theater has a five-story domed screen.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

JFK Presidential Library

JFK Presidential Library

Dedicated to the memory of the thirty-fifth U.S. President, the museum is the official national memorial to JFK, designed by noted architect I.M. Pei and opened in 1979. The museum, which stands on the shore south of the city, features three theaters, personal memorabilia, photographs, and historical exhibits that document the life of JFK and his presidency. Exhibits cover the presidential campaign trail, the Oval Office, First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and the Kennedy family.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The 150-acre MIT campus is of special interest to fans of modern and postmodern architecture, a living museum of works by noted architects including Alvar Aalto, Eduardo Catalano, I. M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and Eero Saarinen. In addition, the campus displays hundreds of sculptures and art installations that you can see with the help of a self-guided walking tour map, by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Jacques Lipchitz, and Auguste Rodin. In the Hart Nautical Gallery are ship models, and the Compton Gallery shows contemporary art.

Gibson House

Gibson House

Gibson House

Here is a chance to tour a Victorian row house built in 1859, when Boston’s Back Bay was just starting out as the city’s upscale residential neighborhood. The house is filled with original Gibson family period furnishings: black-walnut woodwork, imported carpets, and 18th-century decorative arts. The kitchen, scullery, and butler’s pantry, as well as formal rooms and private family quarters provide a glimpse into the lives of a well-to-do Boston family.

Longfellow National Historic Site

Washington's Headquarters

Longfellow National Historic Site

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived in this 1759 Georgian-style house near Harvard Square from 1837 to 1882 and wrote several of his most famous poems here. Prior to this, the house was George Washington’s headquarters from July 1775 to April 1776 when he was planning the siege of Boston. Inside, you can see a museum with 18th and 19th century painting and decorative arts; Longfellow’s library; and letters from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, and Abraham Lincoln.

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