Impassioned Destruction: Politics, Vandalism, and the
Boston Tea Party opens at the Old State House
For Immediate Release: July 3, 2023
Contact: Amanda Bertone
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BOSTON — On Saturday, July 1, 2023, Revolutionary Spaces opened its newest exhibit, Impassioned Destruction: Politics, Vandalism, and the Boston Tea Party, at the Old State House. Commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, this new exhibit examines how a divisive act of property destruction that took place in 1773 transformed into a celebrated national origin story. Through the lens of other acts of property destruction throughout American history, visitors will consider whether the participants in the Boston Tea Party were justified in their acts of protest.
Impassioned Destruction was curated by Revolutionary Spaces Director of Interpretation & Education Matthew Wilding, Exhibitions Associate Claire Senatore, and Exhibits & Interpretation Coordinator Lucy Pollock. The exhibit was designed by Will Twombly of Spokeshave Design. Twombly brings more than 50 years of experience in exhibition design, fabrication, and installation services for museums and historical societies. His previous work includes the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Concord Museum. Exhibit design was also supported by Helen Riegle of HER Design, a Boston-area, woman-owned design consultancy. She has designed exhibitions for a variety of local, national, and international institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution and National Museum of Australia. Art was done by illustrator Jeremiah Schiek and graffiti artist Miguel Cruz.
Revolutionary Spaces President & CEO Nat Sheidley said, “We are thrilled to kick off our commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party with this important new exhibit. The first major installation at the Old State House since the pandemic began, Impassioned Destruction delves deeply into a seminal moment in the mythology of our nation’s founding. Our team has meticulously crafted an immersive experience and thought-provoking narrative that will help visitors see the history and legacy of this audacious act of destruction in a new light. We hope that audiences will join us in uncovering the complex stories of the Boston Tea Party and their connection to other pivotal moments in American history.”
Wilding added, “As we approach the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, we have a real opportunity to reassess the event not just as one of the crucial touch points leading to the American Revolution, but also as an event that was controversial to contemporaries. Called ‘the Destruction of the Tea’ at the time, this event is one of America’s most notorious examples of extralegal protest through property destruction. We saw that as a really exciting opportunity to explore the incident in relation to other less famous, less celebrated, and in retrospect, possibly less justifiable incidents where participants used similar rationale for their actions.”
This exhibit was made possible with support from Meet Boston. Impassioned Destruction: Politics, Vandalism, and the Boston Tea Party is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM at the Old State House. Entrance to this exhibit is included in the price of admission. Members of the press who would like to view the exhibit are encouraged to reach out to Director of Marketing & Communications Amanda Bertone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT REVOLUTIONARY SPACES
Formed in January 2020 through a merger between the Bostonian Society and Old South Association, Revolutionary Spaces tells the interwoven stories of two of Boston’s most iconic sites—the Old State House and Old South Meeting House. Revolutionary Spaces brings people together to explore the American struggle to create and sustain a free society. We steward these buildings as gathering spaces for the open exchange of ideas and the continuing practice of democracy, inspiring all who believe in the power of people to govern themselves.
Constructed in 1713, the Old State House was the center of royal government in the Massachusetts Bay colony and the focal point for many of the Revolution’s most dramatic events, including the Boston Massacre. Built in 1729, the Old South Meeting House was the largest building in colonial Boston and the site of the most stirring mass meetings that led to the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution. Today, these historic sites and museums—located just two blocks from each other in the heart of downtown Boston—provide thought-provoking exhibits, compelling walking tours, exciting educational offerings, and engaging public programs.
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