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Visit the Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum

10 Things to do in Boston Seaport District

1. Visit the Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum

As one of the oldest cities in the nation, Boston is steeped in history: Specifically, the famous Boston Tea Party, which many describe as the inciting event of the American Revolution. Located along the northern edge of The Seaport District, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum helps visitors experience what it must have been like on December 16, 1773, when the Sons of Liberty defied the orders of the British Tea Act and tossed five varieties of the East India Company’s wares into the waters of Boston Harbor.

To immerse visitors in this experience, the Museum has two primary parts, the first of which consists of two authentic sailing vessels, the Eleanor and the Beaver. These two ships are replicas of the brig and ship that were used in the 1773 Boston Tea Party, and are replete with a fully functional below deck, including a captain’s cabin and crew quarters. Visitors can toss boxes of tea over the side of the ships into the harbor and then investigate the cargo hold and the authentic riggings and masts.

The second part is the Museum itself, which is based on land and has numerous exhibits, displays, and interactive opportunities. Perfect for families, couples, and visitors who want to get a taste of Boston, the Museum also boasts one of the original tea chests from 1773, known as the Robinson Half Tea Chest. Of the estimated 90,000 pounds of tea that were tossed overboard during the Tea Party, the Robinson Half chest is one of the few items that washed ashore relatively intact. Discovered by a teenager named John Robinson, the chest was preserved for over two hundred years by the family before being acquired by the Museum, where it is now displayed in glass and can be viewed by the public.

The Museum also has a “Meeting House” which is constructed in the style of an authentic 18th century place of assembly. Historical reenactors don the garb of the period and act out debates between the Patriots and the Loyalists. A technologically enhanced display also recreates the tensions of the period, as well as allowing visitors to glimpse more costumes of the period. For those who prefer to sit down and unwind, there is also a dedicated theater which regularly screen a film recreating events from the period, including Paul Revere’s midnight ride. For those who wish to bring home physical souvenirs, the museum has a small gift shop in which visitors can purchase the types of tea that were thrown overboard, thereby literally tasting history. Abigail’s Tea Room also serves tea and snacks throughout the day to hungry and thirsty visitors.

The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum has an in-season and off-season; during the in-season, operating hours are traditionally between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., while during the off-season, the hours are between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In both instances, the first tour begins at 10 a.m., and the last tour at the named hour. There are several parking garages nearby for those visitors who arrive via car. The Museum provides discounted parking rates to those with validated parking tickets.

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