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Best Local History & Culture in Boston

By: Cityseeker
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The Old State House

With an antique brick facade set among downtown skyscrapers, any passerby can pick this building out as a relic from an earlier time. Now a museum run by The Bostonian Society, the site has a long and distinguished history. The Boston Massacre, one of the catalysts for the American Revolution, took place just outside. The Declaration of Independence was first read to Boston here on July 18, 1776. The structure served as the new state's capitol until 1797. Exhibits at the museum take visitors through the stories of the revolution and the people involved in them. Check website for more.

Boston, MA, United States
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Paul Revere House

Paul Revere was a Boston native and local silversmith renowned for his role in the American Revolution. On a night back in 1775, he left home to warn fellow rebels Sam Adams and John Hancock that British troops were headed to Lexington to arrest them. That night was immortalized by Longfellow's poem, "Paul Revere's Ride." The house was built in 1680 and bought by Revere in 1770. It just escaped the wrecking ball when Revere's descendants recovered the property in 1902. Now a national historic landmark, the building is one of the oldest in downtown Boston and reminiscent of colonial America. It opened its doors to public-viewing and displays an unique assortment of personal belongings and memorabilia.

Boston, MA, United States
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Museum of African American History

Museum of African American History is dedicated to chronicling the contributions of African Americans to New England during the American Colonial era. In addition to displaying artifacts, the museum holds classes, workshops and day camps dedicated to educating people about the African American experience. Properties maintained by the museum include the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill and the African Meeting House on Nantucket. The museum also runs the Black Heritage Trail.

Boston, MA, United States
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Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

One of the most well known incidents of the American Revolution was the Boston Tea party where shiploads of tea were thrown into the sea to protest against the British taxes. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum allows guests to relive this incident with costumed tour guides telling the story of the war with paintings and historic artifacts and even reenactments. Visitors can board the ships and dump tea crates into the sea. Each aspect of the historical event, as well as the aftermath is covered in this museum, making it a must stop for keen guests.

Boston, MA, United States
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Gibson House Museum

Built in 1859, the Gibson House was the residence of Charles Hammond Gibson. The family preserved the original decor and converted the house into a museum after his death. The structure is constructed with brownstone and red brick. The interiors are laced with black-walnut woodwork, elegant wallpapers, imported carpets, furniture, paintings, sculpture, photographs, silver, porcelain, curios, and 18th-century family heirlooms. Several filmmakers have used the house as a setting for period films, notably Merchant-Ivory's 'The Bostonians'. The Gibson House Museum was officially opened to the public in 1957, and is a National Historic Landmark.

Boston, MA, United States
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USS Constitution Museum

If you plan on visiting the USS Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Constitution Museum is a must-see, located adjacent to the ship. Come and discover what life was like for the crew that served on Old Ironsides. Take a trip into American history learn about life on the sea, the Revolution, and the War of 1812. A fun, educational experience for the entire family. Be sure not to miss the gift shop so you can take a piece of history home with you!

Boston, MA, United States
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John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

President John F. Kennedy's memory is sacred in the minds of many Americans. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, a glass pavilion designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, is dedicated to his memory. Visitors are transported back to the darkest days of the Cold War. A short film recounts JFK's deeds in his own words while the authentic photos and exhibits evoke the brief period in White House history that nostalgic Americans refer to as "the days of Camelot".

Boston, MA, United States
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Commonwealth Museum

Commonwealth Museum exhibits some interesting documents and legal records belonging to the State. The museum's education department offers lectures encouraging the use of material from the archives. A special exhibit entitled 'Highway to the Past' is dedicated to the archeology of the Big Dig. Many of the artifacts uncovered during the digging are also on display.

Boston, MA, United States
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Salem Witch Museum

Salem Witch Museum revisits the hysteria of 1692, when people in the town were falsely accused of being witches or 'consorting with the devil.' Twenty people were put to death during this notorious time. The museum explores that time period with a presentation that includes narration and life-sized figurines. Visitors will also learn about peoples changing views on witch hunts and witchcraft over time. The museum store has some interesting souvenirs to pick up. Check website for more.

Salem, MA, United States
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