Patriots' Day is a long-standing Massachusetts holiday celebrated each year on the third Monday of April. The day is set aside to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first military engagements of the American Revolution. If you live in the area, however, "Patriots' Day" stretches into "Patriots' Day Week." Public schools enjoy a week-long spring vacation and families take day-trips to the many local events related to the holiday.
If you have a bit of free time during this special week, the National Heritage Museum offers programs and exhibitions that will help you celebrate.
Join us on Saturday, April 16, at 2:00 PM for a gallery talk featuring "Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington and the American Revolution," our keystone exhibition that explores life in this small farming community where ordinary people made extraordinary choices that shaped history. Museum staff will give you the inside scoop on Lexington before British soldiers marched into town on April 19, 1775. The gallery talk is free.
On Patriots’ Day itself, Monday, April 18, the Museum will be open to the public from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. After attending the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington at the crack of dawn and breakfasting on pancakes prepared by one of the town's civic organizations, come to the Museum. From 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, visiting families are invited to drop in to celebrate Patriots’ Day with arts and crafts activities exploring life in 1775. The admissions charge for the craft activities is $5/family (members); $7/family (non-members). While you are here, take the opportunity to explore “Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington and the American Revolution.” Families with young children who visit the exhibition can look forward to meeting and reading about Billy the Patriot Mouse.
An exciting piece of American history will make its annual appearance at the Museum during the holiday week. You won't want to miss seeing the Lexington Alarm Letter, on view from Saturday, April 16 through Saturday, April 23. This document was written on the morning of April 19, 1775, and was used to alert the colonies that war with England had begun. Previous posts to our blog include: a transcription of the letter's text; details on the important role it played in the 24 hours after the Battle; and a reconstruction of the route the letter took to New York City.
If you are interested in learning more about Patriots' Day and the Battle of Lexington, take a look at related posts to our blog. In exploring the following links, you'll learn some incredible facts about the beginnings of the American Revolution in Lexington and see some fascinating objects from our collection:
- The Lexington Tea Bonfire of December 16, 1773
- How Lydia Loring saved the Lexington church silver from the Regulars
- How Lexington Town Meeting prepared for war in 1774
- A tall-clock made in Lexington in uncertain times
- The story behind the only U.S. Mint coin commemorating the Battle of Lexington
Finally, if you are an educator or a student of the Revolutionary era, check out the following posts:
- Bringing Patriots' Day to life in the classroom
- The Museum's "Lexington in 1775" school curricula online
We look forward to seeing you at the Museum. If you have questions about our April programming or about our exhibitions, please call the Museum at 781-861-6559. Please refer to our website for opening hours and directions.
“The Battle of Lexington,” 1775. Amos Doolittle (1754-1832), New Haven, Connecticut. Courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut
Farmer, 2007. Joe Farnham, National Heritage Museum
Meeting Billy, 2007. Sheli Peterson, National Heritage Museum
Lexington Alarm Letter, 1775. Daniel Tyler, Brooklyn, Connecticut. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A95/011/1