S: Boston Tea Party Reenactment ~ December 12, 2010
BC: References Cutler, N. (2009a). Working with volunteers. In M. Bingmann, N. Cutler, T. Grove, K.A. Huber, & A. Johnson (Eds.), The Museum Educator's Manual (15-28). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Cutler, N. (2009b). Evaluation. In M. Bingmann, N. Cutler, T. Grove, K.A. Huber, & A. Johnson (Eds.), The Museum Educator's Manual (117-127). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Diamond, J., Luke, J.J. & Uttal, D.H.(2009). Practical Evaluation Guide: Tools for Museums and Other Informal Educational Settings. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
FC: The 237th Anniversary Boston Tea Party Annual Reenactment ~Old South Meeting House, December 12, 2010~
1: Old South Meeting House proudly presents their signature event, the Boston Tea Party Annual Reenactment, every December. The event is sponsored by Salada Tea, the Liberty Hotel and numerous other local businesses. On December 12, 2010 over 500 men, women, and children gathered at Old South Meeting House to recreate the debate held on December 16, 1773 and to help determine the fate of 340 chests of British East India Company tea on board the ships Dartmouth, Eleanor, and Beaver
2: The program began with a welcome from the museum's Executive Director, followed by an introduction from a member of the museum's Board of Directors. | A moderator and a scribe ensured the Meeting of the Body of the People ran smoothly and all who wanted to speak were given the opportunity.
3: The audience was invited to be active participants in the Tea Tax Debate, taking on the roles of Boston's Patriots and Loyalists. All attendees received a Patriot or Loyalist part when they entered Old South Meeting House which they could use during the debate. | Shouts of "HUZZAH!" and "FIE!" rang out through the crowd as the "colonists" reacted to the arguments.
4: More than 70 volunteer reenactors help Old South Meeting House put on the reeactment each year and are acknowledged in the event's program. | Reenactors are required to sign up in advance and attend a rehearsal on the day of the program. Many are given the roles of well-known Patriots such as John Hancock and Paul Revere, and Loyalists like the tea consignee Isaac Winslow Clarke. Many of the reenactors spoke about being encouraged by the museum to do research about the colonist they would portray.
5: Marketing materials were included in the program to invite attendees back for next year's Reenactment. | Reeactors mingle with the crowd after the program. | The Old South Meeting House Museum Shop stays open during the event and sells buttons, t-shirts, tea and other Boston Tea Party related merchandise. Staff wear brightly colored "Staff" shirts, provided by the museum, to stand out in the crowd.
6: Old South Meeting House's Annual Boston Tea Party Reenactment brings together multiple communities of participants ranging from volunteer reenactors, to families, to history buffs, and even politicians. Every year, Old South Meeting House is faced with the daunting task of creating a reenactment program with mass appeal that also maintains the historical integrity of the event being recreated. By using a well-cultivated network of volunteers, as suggested by Nancy Cutler (2009a) in The Museum Educator's Manual, Old South Meeting House is able to utilize the talents of these volunteers to its advantage while providing them with a meaningful experience. The reenactors regularly take on small research projects to learn more about the more obscure characters they portray in the debate, and are given an open forum with staff, other volunteers, and the program audience to discuss their findings. The discussion amongst the volunteers is especially important to creating a social group dynamic (Cutler, 2009a). The audience in attendance at the reenactment is provided with an opportunity for participation from the moment they enter the museum, which enhances the opportunity for learning moments (Cutler, 2009b). Arguments representing both sides of the issue are handed out, and it is not uncommon for a group arriving together to be split with both Patriots and Loyalists among them.
7: The glaring failure of the reenactment at Old South Meeting House is a lack of evaluation of the program. Currently, there are no tools in place with which to measure the impacts and outcomes of the Boston Tea Party Reenactment on the audience in terms of either quantitative or qualitative data. As an informal learning program, it is both difficult and essential to try to measure the depth of what visitors learned from the program, especially when considering that most researchers agree that informal learning creates connections with previously learned knowledge (Diamond, Luke, & Uttal, 2009).
8: References Cutler, N. (2009a). Working with volunteers. In M. Bingmann, N. Cutler, T. Grove, K.A. Huber, & A. Johnson (Eds.), The Museum Educator's Manual (15-28). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Cutler, N. (2009b). Evaluation. In M. Bingmann, N. Cutler, T. Grove, K.A. Huber, & A. Johnson (Eds.), The Museum Educator's Manual (117-127). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Diamond, J., Luke, J.J. & Uttal, D.H.(2009). Practical Evaluation Guide: Tools for Museums and Other Informal Educational Settings. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
9: Please enjoy the following (larger) photographs of the 237th Anniversary Boston Tea Party Annual Reenactment!
16: SAMPLE PATRIOT PARTS
17: SAMPLE LOYALIST PARTS
19: HUZZAH! | FIE!