On December 16, 1773, Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Mohawks and dumped British tea into Boston Harbor. They were protesting what they believed to be Parliament’s immoral taxation.
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Today, lovers of liberty can visit the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum at Griffin’s Wharf, where the original action took place.
The one-hour program begins in a Meeting House, where each participant is issued a feather and assigned a character from the original Tea Party. A few participants even have speaking roles, although my guy, Samuel Hobbs of Sturbridge, stayed silent.
Most of the talking, though, is done by Sam Adams. He riles the crowd up and then leads them out to the Tea Ship. There patriots young in truth or in spirit can throw foam “chests” into the water. (They’re attached to cords for easy retrieval and reuse.)
From there, it’s into the Museum itself, whose highlight is the only surviving tea chest from the 1773 event, encased in glass and rotating like the Hope Diamond. The tour concludes with a short film about the American Revolution, placing the early Tea Party in larger context.
The Museum offers a fun chance for adults and children to enjoy a brief step back in time to one of the most significant events in U.S. history.
What to Know before You Go to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
The Museum is located at 306 Congress Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Discounted parking is available at the Atlantic Wharf Garage and the Farnsworth Street Garage. The closest T stop is South Station, housed in a historic building with lots of shops, restaurants, and ATMs, on the Red and Silver lines.
The Museum has a large gift shop selling books and colonial kitsch that’s worth browsing. Abigail’s Tea Room & Terrace offers the five teas that were tossed overboard into the Harbor, Sam Adams beer, and other hard and soft drinks, as well as pastries like Boston cream pie and light lunch items like clam chowder.
Part of the tour is outside on the Waterfront, so dress in layers suitable for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Allow an hour for the tour, plus extra time to visit the shop and/or Tea Room, as you like.
If you’re in the mood for seafood, I recommend the upscale Row 34 or the casual Barking Crab nearby.
Excellent hotels within walking distance include: