Friends of the Public Garden
Fourth Annual Making History on the Common Day
Monday, June 3, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
FOR SCHOOL GROUPS ONLY
Download Map (pdf)
Activities and Participants
Historic New England: Colonial Games and Trades
Educators from Historic New England will demonstrate carding and spinning techniques used to process wool gathered from sheep, which once grazed the Common. In addition, students will create a paper-doll farmer with his sheep, play games popular during Colonial times, and try their hand at rope-making.
The Commonwealth Vintage Dancers: Duck and Goose
This Boston-based dance troupe, formed in 1983, reconstructs, teaches and performs historical ballroom dances. Our primary focus is on social dances of the Civil War era, la Belle Epoque, and Ragtime era. The troupe will be performing a country dance and teaching a game called Duck and Goose.
The Ancient Fishweir Project and the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers
5,000 years ago fishweirs were built in tidal water near what is now Boston Common to catch fish during the spring spawning season. Remnants of early fishweirs still exist, buried in clay below the streets of Boston’s Back Bay. The Ancient Fishweir Project connects school students with members of the Native American community, public artist Ross Miller, archaeologists, and educators, to build a fishweir replica along the Charles Street side of Boston Common. To further celebrate Native American traditions, the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers will perform at 11:00 a.m. and 12 noon.
Freedom Trail Foundation: Colonial Punishments
Freedom Trail Players, eighteenth-century costumed guides, lead exciting educational
tours displaying Boston’s rich history. Players will be on hand during Making
History Day to describe how Boston Common was used during the Colonial period,
from grazing land to military encampments to a site for hangings and punishments.
In addition, the Freedom Trail Foundation will display demonstrate the use of wooden pillories– a hinged wooden framework used for punishments in Massachusetts in the 17th and 18th centuries. Participants will be invited to see what it was like to be punished in a fun and educational manner by Friends of The Public Garden volunteers and the Players.
Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company
The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts is the oldest chartered military organization in North America. Each year on the first Monday in June, the company reenacts a drumhead election on Boston Common, where its officers are chosen in a ceremony overseen by the Governor of the Commonwealth. This year the parade begins at Faneuil Hall and ends on Boston Common at 1:30 p.m. with cannons firing at 2:30 p.m.
Codman Community Farms: Meet an Animal
Codman Community Farms provides cows to re-create the period when Boston
Common was used for grazing. John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts
Bay Colony, purchased the land from William Blackstone as a space for the colonists’ cows and sheep to graze. Though town greens, or “commonages,” were standard fare in England at the time, this was the first such area in the American colonies. In fact, cows were allowed to graze there until 1830.
The Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment
In 1863, the Governor of Massachusetts authorized a regiment of infantry, known as the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts, to be made up of both white and African American officers. More than 250 members of the regiment were killed or wounded at the Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina. Their presence in that battle changed the Union’s opinion on allowing African Americans in the army. A memorial was built on Boston Common in 1897 and restored by the Friends of the Public Garden in 1982. Members of this group are participating at Making History Day to tell the story of the “Glorious Fifty-Fourth.”
New England Contra Dances
‘Jefferson & Liberty’ will lead and play with Jacob Bloom, Calling; Audrey Knuth, Fiddle & John Chambers, Accordion. Contra Dances are an American melting pot of dance and music that came with the Colonials from England, Ireland, Scotland & France. They were popular from the 17th century onward and were later influenced by Scandinavian and German dances. These dances and music were blended and modified by the New Englanders who kept them alive. They are now danced all over the country and world.
Frog Pond Native American Site
Boston City Archaeologist, Joe Bagley, will discuss the Native American history of Boston Common through the Frog Pond site, found on Boston Common during an archaeological dig in 1986. This site contains the oldest artifact known in the city, a 7,500 year old spear point, as well as a 3,000 year old shell midden containing clams from Back Bay and artifacts from daily life on the place we now call Boston Common. Joe will also be giving flintknapping demonstrations on the art of making stone tools such as spear points, knives, and arrowheads.
Whole Foods Market is providing apples in commemoration of the orchard believed to have been planted on Beacon Hill by William Blackstone in 1623.
The Carousel at the Boston Frog Pond will offer discounted rides between 11:00 am and
1:00 pm. Tickets are normally $3 each, but will be $1 each for registered groups.