Student Snippets


You Had Me At Diorama

With classes starting this week, I've been running around checking things off of my "To Do In Boston" List. Two weekends ago, I walked the entire Freedom Trail with some friends. (It's only about 2.5 miles long.) The weather was sunny and breezy, so it was the perfect time to take in the sights outdoors. We hit every stop! I was most impressed with the less touristy ones, like King's Chapel and the Bunker Hill Monument, which commemorates an early battle in the Revolutionary War and is actually located on Breed's Hill, where most of the combat took place.

If you are walking the whole trail from end to end, you can either start at the State House or at the Bunker Hill Monument. We didn't think we were going to see everything, so we started at the USS Constitution. Launched in 1797, it is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat (even though it's temporarily in dry dock). My friend Nick had been there on a tour with the New England Archivists (NEA) and had some great insights about their repository, so it was interesting to hear about that. (They have a naval historian on their full-time staff!) After we finished up there, Nick was checking his phone and realized that the Bunker Hill Monument had a museum with a diorama. He asked if we minded going back to the beginning of the trail to see it. My response was, "Sold! You had me at diorama."

The diorama was definitely worth the backtracking! It's located on the third floor of the Bunker Hill Museum, which shares a building with a branch of the Boston Public Library across the street from the monument. Because the monument itself is on a very small piece of the battlefield, and as the surrounding area has since been developed, it is difficult to read descriptions and accounts of the battle and understand exactly which events happened where and when. The diorama shows what that part of Boston looked like around the time of the Revolutionary War, and through flashing lights and accounts from primary sources, we gained a more comprehensive understanding of the scope and chronology of the battle.

Overall, it was a fun day and the history of some of the stops was so palpable and significant I that was surprised that I became a little unexpectedly emotional, proud, and awestruck.

The following weekend we visited Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's house (which was also George Washington's headquarters during the American Revolution). Entry and a 50-minute tour of the property were free. This is a less traveled history stop, but so far it has been my favorite. The gardens are well maintained and everything in the house was owned by the Longfellow family in the late 19th century, except the carpeting and window dressings. It was a treat to have such a long, informative tour with a very knowledgeable and personable tour guide.

I took a few pictures, but none of them with the blog in mind, so they are sort of random:

IMG_1085.jpgA mosaic marking the original site of Boston Latin School on the Freedom Trail


Gravestone of a beloved family pet, buried in 1914, in the backyard of the Longfellow House


View of the Longfellow House from the garden