On Thursday, November 12, Concord Museum will debut three new permanent galleries chronicling the events of April 19, 1775 and their revolutionary effect on American history. The oft-told story of the battle at Concord’s North Bridge comes to life in dramatic new and more inclusive ways to recount the fateful moment when ‘the shot was heard round the world’ and the American Revolution began.
“This new April 19, 1775 exhibition will marry the Museum’s iconic artifacts with a multi-dimensional narrative to the foundational story like it has never been told before,” stated the Museum’s President Ralph Earle.
“Due to the support of the Concord community, our museum is being transformed each day, said Tom Putnam, Edward W. Kane Executive Director. “Yet this achievement is perhaps the most remarkable in the lifespan of our exhibit history.”
One of the focal points of the new galleries, which were designed by Amaze Design, is a 12 by 7 foot map that comes to life to provide a birds-eye view of the events of April 19, 1775. Created by Richard Lewis Media Group, the map allows visitors to experience the two lanterns being lit in Boston and watch as the next 24 hours of history unfolds in six minutes! The British Regulars march, the alarm riders spread the word, towns alight, gun fire crackles, smoke rises, and Provincial troops pour into battle from across the region. Text and infographics track the story to understand its significance, while the sounds of the battle echo through the gallery.
“The April 19, 1775 gallery is the most comprehensive collection of artifacts involved in that iconic day – and serve as eye-witnesses to this history,”
explained David Wood, Curator of the Concord Museum. Visitors will encounter the eight day clock which ticked away the hours in Lexington’s Buckman Tavern as the town’s militia mustered on the Common; the powder horn of Amos Barrett, who wrote a vivid account of his experience at the North Bridge; a sword abandoned by a British officer during the Regulars’ bloody return to Boston and the only surviving lantern which hung in the belfry of North Church, signaling to alarm the riders that the British Regulars were coming.
New Haven printer Amos Dolittle’s four engravings of April 19th provide an invaluable record of the day’s events. The two dimensional still images are transformed into animated story telling devices each running three minutes long.
Beneath the animations are the very artifacts and objects presented in Amos Doolittle’s original prints.
Museum goers will also hear over ten first-person narratives of Provincials, Regulars, men, women, young and old – of what people actually experienced on that day. Martha Moulten relays her experience in the Center of Concord as Regulars infiltrated and started burning the town. Hannah Winthrop tells her account of being driven out of her home. Interwoven throughout the exhibit is information about people of color both enslaved and free. A Broadside displayed graphically includes valuable information about a black man wounded at the North Bridge.
Bookending this dynamic experience are two “Focus Galleries” that will showcase, respectively, the situation in Concord that precipitated the bloody battle and how the town commemorated these historic events 100 years later. These two galleries will also feature iconic documents, furniture, and a reduced scale replica of Daniel Chester French’s Concord Minute Man of 1775 sculpture which not only brings this history to life but unveils lesser known stories and provides a more complete narrative.
In honor of America’s first veterans, the Concord Museum is offering a sneak peek and free admission with advance registration for timed tickets to all active military and veterans and their families on Wednesday, November 11, 2020.
The April 19, 1775 Galleries are part of Phase II of the New Museum Experience. Phase III and the final stage of the Museum’s renovation and reinstallation process is slated for June 2020.