The Commonwealth Museum

The Commonwealth Museum FREE admission, rare national treasures, engaging field trips. This museum is YOUR museum! Located by the seafront of Columbia Point, the Commonwealth Museum serves as a state history museum in Massachusetts for the public.
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Our exhibit contains many important written texts and documents such as the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Paul Revere’s original engraving of the Boston Massacre and more. With neighboring John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate and the University of Massachusetts Bo

Our exhibit contains many important written texts and documents such as the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Paul Revere’s original engraving of the Boston Massacre and more. With neighboring John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate and the University of Massachusetts Bo

Operating as usual

I still call it 128- do you?
08/25/2021

I still call it 128- do you?

On this day in 1951, the first segment of Route 128 opened. By 1956, the expressway stretched 65 miles from #Gloucester to #Braintree. The proximity to university labs and expanding suburban communities drew so many high tech companies to the area that Route 128 was dubbed "America's Technology Highway." While officials were confident the road would relieve traffic, they did not foresee that Route 128 would become a destination. #MassMoments http://ow.ly/3i7H50AwXL2

#Didyouknow that Massachusetts’ state tree is the American Elm?Also known as the Ulmus Americana, this tree is known for...
08/24/2021

#Didyouknow that Massachusetts’ state tree is the American Elm?

Also known as the Ulmus Americana, this tree is known for its shade and had been used in various capacities, such as in folk remedies and for wagon wheels. Its large canopy made it favorable in cities, where it was often planted to line the sidewalks of city streets. If elms were planted on either side of the street, they would sometimes arch together, creating a canopy over streets. However, due to their large population, which bred a monoculture making the trees susceptible to illness, much of their population was wiped out by the Dutch elm disease.

The disease made its way to America in the 1950s, and killed much of the population. American Elms do still dot the landscape, as their natural habitat extends from New England down to Florida, as well as past the Rocky Mountains in the west. Luckily, there has been success with breeding the American elm with more disease-resistant trees, giving botanists hope of replenishing the elm population.

The Elm has also been present at a number of historical events. It is said that George Washington took control of the continental army underneath an Elm Tree in Cambridge Common. That tree, which died in 1923, came to be known as Washington’s Elm.

Have you spotted an Elm tree recently? Take a picture and tag us @commonwealthmuseum!

Check out this article about the Sacco and Vanzetti Trial from Mass Moments!
08/23/2021

Check out this article about the Sacco and Vanzetti Trial from Mass Moments!

94 years ago today, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were put to death in the state prison in #Charlestown. A jury convicted them of murder and robbery in 1921. Many believed that the pair were tried for their ethnicity and their politics, not because the evidence supported the charge. #MassMoments http://ow.ly/r50450AwXJ8

#FunFactFriday has just turned into #FigNewtonFridayFig rolls were created to combat digestion problems which many physi...
08/20/2021

#FunFactFriday has just turned into #FigNewtonFriday

Fig rolls were created to combat digestion problems which many physicians believed to be the root of most illnesses in the late 19th century. Charles Roser, a Philidephia baker, invented the recipe for what we know to be Fig Newtons. He sold it to the Kennedy Biscuit Company based in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts who decided to name them after the city of Newton. The first fig filled pastry was baked in 1891 and though the company who first mass produced them has evolved to form Nabisco and the name “fig” was dropped from the official product name, the concept remains the same.

#DidYouKnow?

#DoYouKnow how Old Ironsides got her name #OnThisDay in 1812? …… ……. Well if you don’t know – here’s the story! The USS ...
08/19/2021

#DoYouKnow how Old Ironsides got her name #OnThisDay in 1812? ……



……. Well if you don’t know – here’s the story! The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship, built in 1794 out of wood in Boston to protect American merchant fleets from harassment by British and French naval forces and attacks from pirates.

During the War of 1812, the USS Constitution stood strong in the unsettled sea. The HMS Guerriere, a strong British ship who was notorious for stopping American merchant vessels and who had a commander eager for a fight, skillfully attacked the USS Constitution by strategically timing their shots. Around 6pm, the two ships came together about 25 yards apart and the Guerriere opened fire. The 18-pound cannon balls bounced off of the USS Constitution’s sides which were made of white oak and live oak sheathed in copper. One British sailor supposedly yelled out, “Huzza! Her sides are made of iron!” – giving her the name, “Old Ironsides”

By the end of the war, Old Ironsides captured eight British ships, united America behind the war effort, and made Captain Isaac Hull a national hero.

Old Ironsides now enjoys her view of the Charlestown Navy Yard. But- she almost didn’t make it out of the 18th century as the navy considered scrapping her in 1830. Public support pushed for the USS Constitution to be refurbished and used as a flagship. Since then, Old Ironsides has embarked on a global naval journey, has been sued as a training ship, and currently is marked as a national landmark.

You can visit the USS Constitution in person from Tuesday-Sunday 10am – 6pm or virtually on Mondays at 1pm.

Happy #WomanCrushWednesday! Today we are crushing on Abigail Adams
08/18/2021

Happy #WomanCrushWednesday! Today we are crushing on Abigail Adams

Happy #TupperwareTuesday! Did you know Tupperware was invented in Massachusetts?Earl Silas Tupper, born in 1907, invente...
08/17/2021

Happy #TupperwareTuesday! Did you know Tupperware was invented in Massachusetts?

Earl Silas Tupper, born in 1907, invented the Tupperware after World War II. During the war, plastics were used to manufacture materials for the military. After the war ended, the plastics were directed towards the consumer market. He developed the product in 1946 in Leominster, the same year his factory opened. Tupper himself had worked in the plastics industry, and made his first iterations of the Tupperware with leftover plastics from DuPont, where he had worked. Tupperware came on to the scene as a modern, high-tech storage container different from the glass jars and ceramic containers before. Due to its foreignness, it was not initially popular. However, their marketing, largely run by Brownie Wise, boosted their popularity. Wise had come up with “Tupperware parties.” Women would hold parties at their house, with the help of a sales woman who then demonstrated the Tupperware products. The parties, targeted at married suburban housewives, allowed women to make money while still being available to her domestic duties. The parties included games, in which the hostess would toss Tupperware filled with liquid to demonstrate the product.

Check out @amhistorymuseum Tupperware Collection to explore the wonderful world of Tupperware!

License Link: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Babe Ruth died on this day 73 years ago. George Herman Ruth Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland on February 6th, 1895. R...
08/16/2021

Babe Ruth died on this day 73 years ago. George Herman Ruth Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland on February 6th, 1895. Ruth attended the reformatory school St. Mary’s Industrial School for boys, due to little attention from his father in addition to other behavioral issues. At the school, Ruth started playing baseball, encouraged by the schools’ prefect of discipline.

Babe Ruth started his career in the minor leagues, playing for the Baltimore Orioles. He was soon sold to the Boston Red Sox. He spent 6 seasons with the Red Sox, where he began getting recognition for his incredible skills as a player. He took the Red Sox to three World Series victories. When the Red Sox sold Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000, the team suffered. “The Curse of the Bambino” supposedly prevented the Red Sox from a World Series win for 86 years, until finally they won again in 2004. Playing for the Yankees, Ruth hit his prime, holding multiple world records, like the highest number of career home runs (since broken).

Ruth played for the Yankees for 15 years, until he left to work for the Boston Braves. He retired, and died of cancer on this day on August 16th, 1948.

#HappyBirthday to Lucy Stone! Born on this day, August 13th in West Brookfield, MA, Stone was a prominent suffragist who...
08/13/2021

#HappyBirthday to Lucy Stone! Born on this day, August 13th in West Brookfield, MA, Stone was a prominent suffragist who organized the first National Women’s rights convention in Worcester in 1850. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio, being the first Massachusetts woman to obtain a bachelors’ degree.

Stone helped found the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), and served as editor of The Women’s Journal, a national pro-suffrage publication. She was also an organizer of the Worcester National Women’s Rights convention in 1850. Stone was an abolitionist too, working closely with William Lloyd Garrison and spending time delivering anti-slavery speeches. The enfranchisement of black men drove Stone to found AWSA, as she supported the 13th amendment, though it meant that women still did not have the right to vote. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Stone’s fellow suffragist, did not support the enfranchisement of African American men as they believed that they should not be allowed to vote at all if women were not allowed to either. After the split within the suffrage movement, the AWSA focused on passing Women’s suffrage on a State level, while Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the National Women’s Suffrage Association worked on a Federal Level.

Stone kept her own last name after her marriage to Henry Blackwell. Women who did the same came to be known as “Lucy Stoners.” Her impact helped suffrage happen in 1920, though she did not live to see the amendment passed. She died on October 18th, 1893.

#HappyBirthday to Lucy Stone! Born on this day, August 13th in West Brookfield, MA, Stone was a prominent suffragist who organized the first National Women’s rights convention in Worcester in 1850. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio, being the first Massachusetts woman to obtain a bachelors’ degree.

Stone helped found the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), and served as editor of The Women’s Journal, a national pro-suffrage publication. She was also an organizer of the Worcester National Women’s Rights convention in 1850. Stone was an abolitionist too, working closely with William Lloyd Garrison and spending time delivering anti-slavery speeches. The enfranchisement of black men drove Stone to found AWSA, as she supported the 13th amendment, though it meant that women still did not have the right to vote. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Stone’s fellow suffragist, did not support the enfranchisement of African American men as they believed that they should not be allowed to vote at all if women were not allowed to either. After the split within the suffrage movement, the AWSA focused on passing Women’s suffrage on a State level, while Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the National Women’s Suffrage Association worked on a Federal Level.

Stone kept her own last name after her marriage to Henry Blackwell. Women who did the same came to be known as “Lucy Stoners.” Her impact helped suffrage happen in 1920, though she did not live to see the amendment passed. She died on October 18th, 1893.

#DidYouKnow that #OnThisDay in 1990 Susan Hendrickson discovered the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton? This 65 million...
08/12/2021

#DidYouKnow that #OnThisDay in 1990 Susan Hendrickson discovered the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton? This 65 million-year-old dino was named Sue and is now living at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

In honor of Sue’s discovery, let’s take a look at the beasts who walked around Massachusetts millions of years ago. We have had only 2 dinosaur species excavated here: Podokesaurus holyokensis and Anchisaurus polyzelus. Mignon Talbot, the first female scientist to name and describe a dinosaur, discovered the first remains of the “light and delicate frame[d]” Podokesaurus holyokensis near Mount Holyoke College. Unlike Sue- the massive T-Rex, our little Podokesaurus is about the height of a typical house cat. Paleontologists believe that they were bipedal, with powerful forelimbs and grasping hands.

Our other reptilian Bay Stater is the Anchisaurus, slightly taller than the Podokesaurus, these creatures walked on all 4 legs. However, they could rear up on their hind legs to reach higher plants with their… ‘hands’ (they had reversible first fingers that are similar to “thumbs” and were able to grasp objects)

Though both Massachusetts inhabitants are special, we have recently crowned our state dinosaur with thousands of people who voted online for the Podokesaurus holyokensis. We hope the rest of your day is dino-mite!

Happy #WomanCrushWednesday!Today we are celebrating artist and advocate, Elma Lewis, who spent her entire life dedicated...
08/11/2021

Happy #WomanCrushWednesday!

Today we are celebrating artist and advocate, Elma Lewis, who spent her entire life dedicated to making art accessible to brown and black Bostonians and is recognized as a visionary arts leader, teacher, and humanist. She attended Roxbury Memorial High School for Girls where she studied voice, piano, and dance and went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in 1943 from Emerson College. The following year, she received a master’s in education from Boston University. With a desire to meet the artistic and cultural needs of Boston’s black youth, she opened the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in Roxbury in 1950.

Elma founded Playhouse in the Park, which encouraged the clean up of Franklin Park, and produced summer concerts for the public. Most notably, Elma founded the National Center for Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) and later opened a museum in Roxbury as a repository for black culture.

Elma received nearly thirty honorary doctoral degrees and has had many honors bestowed upon her including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the Presidential Medal for the Arts, and the Commonwealth Award from the Massachusetts legislature.

Have you heard of the Roxbury Russet? One of America’s oldest apple varieties, it was first grown in Roxbury, MA in the ...
08/10/2021

Have you heard of the Roxbury Russet? One of America’s oldest apple varieties, it was first grown in Roxbury, MA in the early 1600s. Roxbury was known to have good soil for growing apples and pears, with its rocky texture.

The Roxbury Russet gets its name both from its place of origin and its russet color and texture. It stores well, staying fresh for months after harvest. It is was often used to make cider.

However, as agriculture became a bigger business, the roughness of the Roxbury Russet was no longer desirable. Roxbury Russets were phased out, although they are still grown today as an heirloom variety of apple.

Have you ever had a Roxbury Russet? Comment your favorite apple variety below!

License Link: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/2/

#OnThisDay in 1854 Henry David Thoreau published Walden, or, A Life in the Woods after spending 2 years and 2 months liv...
08/09/2021

#OnThisDay in 1854 Henry David Thoreau published Walden, or, A Life in the Woods after spending 2 years and 2 months living at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts📍After graduating from Harvard University, Thoreau build a simple cabin on his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s, land. He wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
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Thoreau printed 2,000 copies, and sold at $1 apiece, it took him 5 years to sell out. The book was not reprinted until after his death in 1862. Now, you can find Walden as a required reading in most classrooms today. Some major themes Thoreau touched upon are self-reliance, simplicity, progress, the need for spiritual awakening, meditation, and patience. He criticizes Western culture and the consumerist and materialistic attitudes that fuel destruction of nature. He also writes about finding inner peace, stating that outward progress can never pave the way to true inner growth.

We encourage you to respectfully visit the northern shore of Walden Pond and see the place that inspired Thoreau for 2 years. Have you been? Tell us below! ☀️

Address

220 William T Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA
02125

By Car (free parking) From the north: Rte 3/I-93S to exit 15 (Morrissey Blvd/JFK Library). Follow signs for UMass and JFK Library. From the west: Rte I-90/Mass Pike to I-93 South. Follow signs for UMass and JFK Library. From the south: Rte 3/I-93N to exit 14 (Morrissey Blvd/JFK Library). Follow signs for UMass and JFK Library. By MBTA Take the MBTA Red Line to JFK/UMass station. Free shuttle Bus #2 stops at the Archives Building and the JFK Library. The bus runs every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the hour and 20 minutes after and before the hour.

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 4:45pm
Tuesday 9am - 4:45pm
Wednesday 9am - 4:45pm
Thursday 9am - 4:45pm
Friday 9am - 4:45pm

Telephone

(617) 727-9268

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