New York City Day #4

This morning, we had another rich discussion of the American Revolution. We had a discussion of Paul Revere's midnight ride, the Battles of Concord and Lexington, Evacuation Day in Boston, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Being only one of two Massachusetts residents in a room of about 35, everyone was relying on me to speak up about what Massachusetts' view is of the Revolution and the importance of our local cities and towns. It was pretty neat to have people from around the United States discussing towns that are a few mere miles from Medfield. We certainly are lucky to have so much history right in our backyards....

After a nice lunch, our group took a trip to the New York Historical Society. Here, we had a presentation by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, which is the group that is sponsoring our visit to New York City this week. One of the coolest things all week to happen so far happened at the NYHS (New York Historical Society) - the presenters took out several primary source documents out of a box. Primary source documents are anything that is an original source - a letter, a poem, a painting, an engraving, etc., that gives someone information first hand; this means that no one has interpreted it for you, but you are looking at the information and considering what it means all on your own. Everyone in the room was dumbfounded when boom! They took out one of the original engravings of Paul Revere's depiction of the Boston Massacre, which was created in the 1770s. The real one! Can you believe it? You can see an online scan of the engraving to the left, which you probably recognize. If you do not, you will next year!

After that, we saw a few other neat letters - including one by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert Kennedy. It was incredible. Finally, we had about 2 hours to browse around the New York Historical Society. It is an incredible museum with artifacts all about the culture of New York City throughout time. It had everything from colonial paintings to shackles from the 1600s to photographs from the early 1900s to pieces of debris from the plane that hit the World Trade Center in 2001. We got to walk around with these neat computerized tourguides; they looked like big cellphones, and we simply hit the number of the artifact we were looking at, and it gave us a bit of information on the piece. Needless to say, I learned a ton about the culture of New York City throughout time.

Upon leaving the Museum, we decided to walk through Central Park, which is across the street. We ended up walking the 2 1/2 miles back to Columbia University. It was a great walk until we were about 10 blocks away; it started to downpour, and we showed up sopping wet for dinner! Oh well, it was an adventure if nothing else.


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