A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
Banner for Crossroads of the Revolution

In the spring of 1775, the towns of Lexington and Concord became targets, scenes, and symbols of actions which would ignite a war culminating in the birth of a new country. In those towns were people caught at the crossroads of Revolution. At the Crossroads of Revolution: Lexington and Concord in 1775 is designed to immerse our participants in the evocative eighteenth-century landscapes of those towns, as well as the port city of Boston, to examine the decisions and dilemmas involved in the events of 1775 and the subsequent interpretations and uses of those events. We want to put you, the educator, at the crossroads of the American Revolution.

The workshop is structured to provide a healthy mix of scholarly presentations, discussions, field excursions, social activities, and time for participants to work with the project team and teacher-facilitator on individual and group projects - as well as precious "down time" for reflection and wandering on your own.

We will be spending the week with some of the top scholars who have researched, taught, and written extensively on the beginnings of the Revolution. Readings - including works by workshop faculty members, documents at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and writings of the nineteenth-century Concord authors (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Alcott) - will be assigned to accompany each scholar's session and must be done in advance.

Day-by-Day Schedule of Events (Tentative) 

In 1775, towns around Boston became scenes of actions that ignited a war. Inhabitants were caught at the crossroads of Revolution. We will explore use of the crossroads theme  to investigate their decisions and dilemmas by applying this theme as choice (of route, direction, path); counterfactual history (the road not taken at the crossroads); intersection (of forces, ideas, paths); gathering place (for people, supplies, meetings);  turning point or change (in the life of a person, people, even a country); and physical landmark and connector (the role roads played in conveying and linking people, ideas, goods, and news).

 Sunday: Welcome to Concord!

Activities/Schedule:

3:00 - 7:30      Project co-directors will be at the Colonial Inn to welcome teachers and assist with check-in

7:30                 Participants meet at Inn for bus to Hartwell Tavern (3 miles)

8:00-10:00      Battle Road Heroes Program: Listen to dramatic stories of people who lived along the Battle Road in April of 1775; whose paths and lives crossed through this place and through history. Meet characters such as Captain William Smith of the Lincoln Minute Men, Mary Hartwell, Ephraim and Elizabeth Hartwell, and His Majesty's soldiers during this special evening of theater and history.

Monday: Life on the Eve of Revolution

Using Concord as a base, historian Robert Gross, author of The Minutemen and their World, will lead us in an examination of life at the beginning of the war. What happens to inhabitants of towns that are literally and figuratively "on the road to revolution" where local concerns and larger outside forces intersect? The Concord Museum's "Why Concord?" exhibition will provide visual context.

Activities/Schedule:

8:30               Walk to Concord Museum

9:00-10:00      Introductions, Overview of syllabus and discussion of key approaches (Project Team)

10:00-11:30    Lead-off lecture with Dr. Robert Gross on the world of the Minutemen and "Why Concord?"

11:30-1:30      Lunch and "Why Concord?" exhibition viewing

1:30-3:-00       Second session with Dr. Robert Gross on the world of the Minutemen

3:00-4:30        Introduction of lesson plan projects with Kathleen Barker and teacher-facilitaor Duncan Wood; Initial project group meetings

4:30                Walk back to the Colonial Inn

5:00-7:00         Free time in Concord

7:00-9:00         Orientation to Concord in 1775 and 2012: evening walking tour of participants' home base with Jayne Gordon.

Tuesday: The Coming of the Revolution

In Boston, Professor William Fowler will lead us on a walking tour of revolutionary Boston as we investigate the issues and actions that brought colonists and the British to the point of confrontation, and the ways in which towns around Boston were working together on a regional and provincial basis by 1775. At the Massachusetts Historical Society, we will work with collections that document the background and beginnings of the Revolution.

Activities/Schedule:

8:00-9:00        Bus from Colonial Inn to Boston

9:15-9:30        Coffee and welcome to MHS

9:15-10:30      Lecture/Discussion: Boston and the Coming of the Revolution with Professor Ben Carp, Brooklyn College

10:45-12:00    Document viewing and analysis with MHS collections

12:00-1:30        Bus to Quincy market and lunch on your own

1:30-4:00           Meet Professor William Fowler, Northeastern University, for a walking tour of Boston sites connected to the Revolution

4:00-6:00           Program at the Paul Revere House

6:00 - 8:30          Free evening in Boston. Meet at Quincy Market for bus back to Colonial Inn. (Or take the commuter rail to Concord on your own at 10:40 and 12:10)

Wednesday: The First Day of the Revolution

Park staff will guide us through the events of April 18 and 19, 1775 --  hour by hour -- at site throughout Minute Man National Historical Park, at Lexington Green, and at Concord's North Bridge. We will piece together conflicting evidence of "who shot first?", and consider the short- and long-term significance of decisions made on those two fateful days.

 

Activities/Schedule:

8:30               Bus from the Colonial Inn to the Paul Revere Capture site

8:45-10:15        Walk from Revere capture site to Minute Man Visitor Center along restored Battle Road; Make connections to David Hackett Fischer's Paul Revere's Ride

10:30-11:15       View "Road to Revolution" multimedia show and explore Minute Man Visitor Center

11:30-1:30     Bus to Lexington Green and part I of "Who Shot First?" program with NPS ranger Jim Hollister.

3:00-4:00          Bus ride to North Bridge Visitor Center, discussion of site along the Road with Jim Hollister, time to view exhibitions at North Bridge Visitor Center

4:00-5:30          Part II of "Who Shot First?" program; walk to North Bridge for eyewitness activity

5:30                 Walk back to Colonial Inn.

Evening          On your own in Concord

Thursday: Ordinary People/Extraordinary Times

Brian Donahue, an environmental historian, will take us on a hike through the rehabilitated colonial landscape of farming fields, pastures, orchards, and woodlots, providing us with tools for "reading" or understanding the "land of the embattled farmers." A research and writing workshop with Mary Fuhrer and Joanne Myers will allow us to look at five Lexington residents -- representing multiple perspectives -- and the choices they made "at the crossroads."

Activities/Schedule:

8:15                 Bus to Buttrick House at North Bridge Visitor Center

8:30-9:15         Group A: Introduction to using local primary sources with Mary Fuhrer; Group B: Lesson planning time.

9:15-9:30         Break

9:30-10:15       Switch! Group A lesson planning; Group B with Mary

10:15               Bus to Battle Road Farms area in National Park

10:30-12:15      Everyday Lives in the Landscape with Brian Donohue at Battle Road Farms

12:15               Bus to Lexington Depot

12:30:2:00      Lunch at Depot; time to tour nearby Buckman Tavern area

2:00-5:00         Hands-on Activity and Writing Workshop in McHugh Barn (Hartwell area): Each participant will be given one of five "identities" based on an actual person from Lexington c. 1775. After they have discussed questions of background, motivation, choice and action, they present their historical character's "choice at the crossroad" to the rest of the group.       

5:00                Bus back to Concord Center        

5:15-7:15        Free time to relax, work on group project, explore       

7:15                Travel to Brooks Tavern

7:30-10:00        Eighteenth-century working dinner and musical entertainment at Minute Man Park's Noah Brooks Tavern

Friday: The Legacy of Revolution

In the settings of the Old Manse and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, we will discuss how the colonists made sense of the events that had transpired in their towns on those April days, and the part they played in those events. We will then explore the uses that the Concord authors made of Concord's revolutionary legacy in their own efforts to end intellectual and cultural dependence on the Old World.

 Activities/Schedule:

8:30                 Checkout of Colonial Inn and walk to the Old Manse/North Bridge

9:00-10:00        "The Shot Heard 'Round the World": 1775 with Bob Gross and Tom Beardsley

10:00-11:00      Tour of Old Manse

11:00-12:00      "The Shot Heard 'Round the World": Whose Freedom? with Bob Gross; visit to Caesar Robbins House

12:00-1:30         Picnic at the Old Manse and discussion of lesson plans

1:30-3:00       "The Shot Heard 'Round the World": 1835-1875 with Bob Gross

3:00-3:30         Parting Shots;  Informal evaluation of workshop; formal end of program

3:30-5:00         Optional tour of Sleepy Hollow cemetery with Jayne Gordon

For those departing Concord on Friday night: You are free to leave Concord after 3:30; Flights should be scheduled for 6:00 P.M. or later.

 

Top

Back to top
Top