The Bostonian Society

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The Bostonian Society maintains a library and museum inside the Old State House.

The Bostonian Society is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1881 for the purpose of preventing the Old State House (built in 1713) from being "moved brick by brick"[1] from Boston, Massachusetts to Chicago, Illinois.[2][3] Determined to save the historic building that was the site of the Boston Massacre and the place for the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence in Massachusetts, a group of citizens banded together formed "Boston's first successful historic preservation movement".[4][5][6][7]

Now stewardship of the Old State House—"one of the most important public buildings in U.S. history"[8] and the oldest surviving public building in Boston—is the society's primary purpose. Today the 18th century building stands above the underground State Street MBTA Station in a busy area of Boston situated between Downtown Crossing and South Station.[2][5] According to the Society's website,

The Bostonian Society is dedicated to studying, and preserving Boston’s uniquely important history, embodied in materials, records, and structures such as the Old State House, and in sharing an understanding of the revolutionary ideas born here.[9]

The city of Boston still owns the structure, and it is within the Boston National Historical Park and a major site on the Freedom Trail, but day-to-day management of the site is in the hands of the Bostonian Society,[1] which maintains a museum in the building and a research library across the street.[10] Materials in the collection date back to 1630s Massachusetts Bay Colony and include 7,500 books, 350 maps, 30,000 photographs, and other primary source materials.[11] Exhibits at the museum focus on the American Revolution and the American Revolutionary War, the neighborhoods of Boston, and similar local themes.[2][5][6] Some of the artifacts on display on the walls and in glass cases are antique rifles and other weapons, old nautical instruments from the Age of Sail, images from 18th century London newspapers expressing how Britons viewed the war, and an original Paul Revere political cartoon that was passed down through the family of Josiah Quincy I until it was donated it to the Bostonian Society in the 1880s. There is also a model showing what Boston looked like during Colonial America.

According to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, "The Bostonian Society is the first stop for anyone interested in the city's history" and "the Society brings Boston history to life".[2] The Bostonian Society has various programs and educational resources for children and adults and has been called "a comprehensive historical and educational resource".[7] For several years, The Society oversaw a historic marker program across the city of Boston[12] and ran a teacher training program called "Teaching Boston History Workshops", bringing together leading experts on various subjects, community-based organizations, teachers and museum educators, and the Society's "unequalled collections of primary sources".[11] The Society oversees the annual Boston Massacre reenactment which occurs every year in March and has other historic programs with costumed interpreters. The Society also makes the Old State House available for various events from private events.[13]

The Bostonian Society operates three gift shops: One inside the Old State House, a shop in Faneuil Hall and, close by, a shop at Quincy Market.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tarnished heirloom" (editorial). The Boston Globe (August 18, 2006).
  2. ^ a b c d "Bostonian Society (The) – Old State House". Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Accessed September 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Allison, Robert J. "Boston's cultural legacy". Boston Globe (August 30, 2006).
  4. ^ [1] Old State House Museum
  5. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2006-03-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Old State House History. The Bostonian Society
  6. ^ a b Boston Celebrates July '76, Boston 200 Office of the Boston Bicentennial, Kevin H. White, Mayor. Published Boston, MA: Addison House, 1976. ISBN 0-89169-011-5 (paperback) and 0-89169-010-7 (cloth).
  7. ^ a b [2] 2005 Boston Charter Day Event Committee, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard university
  8. ^ [3][permanent dead link] Attraction Information: Old State House-The Bostonian Society (
  9. ^
  10. ^ Address & Hours from The Bostonian Society
  11. ^ a b 2007 Catalogue For Philanthropy
  12. ^
  13. ^

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