Impassioned Destruction

Politics, Vandalism, and the Boston Tea Party

On December 16, 1773, radical Bostonians threw 340 crates of tea into Boston Harbor to protest what they saw as unfair taxation by the British Parliament. Known today as the “Boston Tea Party,” the event known to contemporaries as “the destruction of the tea” was highly divisive, drawing criticism from figures like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. It would take almost a century for this event to transform from an embarrassing act of property destruction to a celebrated national origin story.

The Boston Tea Party was not the first instance of property destruction in what would become the United States, and it certainly was not the last. Explore how Americans have used vandalism as a tool of protest throughout the centuries in Impassioned Destruction: Politics, Vandalism, and the Boston Tea Party. Open daily at the Old State House, this new exhibit invites visitors to consider other acts of property destruction in the context of the Tea Party. When, if ever, do you believe it is justified to destroy property in the name of a cause?

Impassioned Destruction was made possible with support from MeetBoston.

Open Daily

At the Old State House

Entrance is included in the price of admission.

Boston Tea Party 250th Anniversary

This year, Revolutionary Spaces is commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, which took place at Old South Meeting House on December 16, 1773. This exhibit is made possible through the generous support of our Boston Tea Party 250th Anniversary Commemoration Transformational Partner: Meet Boston Foundation.