J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Getting #Alarmed! at Buckman Tavern

The Lexington Historical Society is hosting a field trip for the History List through Buckman Tavern. Executive Director Erica Dumont and Collections Manager Stacey Fraser will discuss the building and some of the society’s prized objects, such as the drum that William Diamond beat to summon the town militia to the nearby common on 19 Apr 1775.

Dumont and Fraser will also take the group through the museum’s exhibit “#Alarmed: 18th-Century Social Media,” explaining how it was designed and researched. Mass Humanities, which provided some of the funding for the exhibit, explains the concept behind it:
Networks. Posting. Sharing. Memes. These may sound like buzzwords describing 21st-century social media, but all had their equivalents in the 18th century, some with the same names. In a time of candlelight and horse drawn carriages, there were many sophisticated communications networks in place. Lexington Historical Society’s new exhibit #Alarmed!: 18th-Century Social Media explores how news went viral 250 years ago, and lets visitors imagine how colonials might have made use of our modern media tools to kick start a revolution. Located on the second floor of the tavern, the exhibit contains nearly a dozen interactive activities.
The exhibit team included Fraser, past executive director Susan Bennett, local author and filmmaker Rick Beyer, designer Lauren Kennedy, and young carpenter Pierce Warburton. I came aboard in the middle of the project and added some Boston 1775 touches to the displays.

This special tour is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 10 February, from 11:00 A.M. to about 1:00 P.M. It can accommodate only twenty people, registered in advance, with a waitlist. The History List asks that people not sign up unless they’re sure they can attend so as not to take slots from others. The event is free, though attendees are encouraged to make donations to and consider becoming members of the Lexington Historical Society.

The “#Alarmed” exhibit is scheduled to remain part of the Buckman Tavern’s offerings through 2019 for regular paying guests.

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