Honesty first, I was skeptical taking a field trip to the Boston Tea Party Museum. I didn’t know that it would add much value to the kids’ education and I had my doubts that it would be worth our time or money. But in the end, it was fantastic and I plan on going back in the future, especially with the upcoming 250th Anniversary.
- This is a part of our Reading Comes Alive hands-on learning series.
- It is also a part of our American Revolutionary War Unit
- Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum Field Trip Guide and Review
- Teaching and Learning objectives for the Boston Tea Party
- Great books for kids to learn about the Boston Tea Party
- Virtual Learning Opportunities
- Other Boston Tea Party Learning Resources
This museum is appropriate and helpful for all ages and is great in all weather. We actually attended on a very dreary, rainy, and cold day. There were 15 or so minutes out doors, but with the right attire, it’s easily do-able.
This is also great for homeschoolers, school field trips, and families.
This was the very first stop on our “roadschool” adventure. And it really did not disappoint. It’s a very well-done museum, the staff is helpful and friendly, and our kids learned a lot even at a young age.
Time: ⏳⏳⏳Around 2 hours
Price: 💰💰💰Average of $25/person
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Exceeds expectation, will visit again
Connection to Learning: 📚📚📚📚📚 Significant connection to learning objectives
You will start your tour by going into a meeting room where you’ll not only meet a few key figures from history, but you’ll also be handed a single feather and a card with a name of one of the Sons of Liberty on it a bit of historical information about that person.
In this session, you will get background information and history leading up to the main event and they will also help you learn how to be an active participant in this hands-on museum experience.
This is where they will teach you things like saying “Huzzah!” if it’s something you agree with or “Boo! Hisss!” or “Fie!” with a wiggle of your figures by your nose, as pictured below, if it’s something you disagree with!
After setting the stage for things to come, you’re invited outside on deck to take an oath of secrecy to not speak of the event or against any of your Sons of Liberty brothers before pretending to be a Mohawk Indian and dump hundreds of barrels of tea overboard [in reality there are a few tethered, lightweight replica boxes].
You will also be reminded that once your feet hit deck, you will have committed treason.
The tour guides, while in character will also offer plenty of humor like “safety first, treason second.”
Then down below deck you’ll go. There, you’ll learn all about the ships Eleanor, Beaver, and Dartmouth as well as the captain and crew such as why they didn’t fight back. Even as a former history teacher, I was surprised to learn one of the reasons is that sailors couldn’t afford their own weapons!
Guides use correct ship terminology like port and star bird. Inside the ship, you’ll see living conditions of the crew and big boxes of tea.
Inside of the museum, which could not be pictured, you’ll see:
- The only surviving crate from the Boston Tea Party, called the Robinson Crate
- A vial of tea from this historic event on December 16, 1773
- 4 videos including one with two wives of participants talking, one about the surviving crate, one where Sam Adams and King George III are in an argument, and one video showing the impact of the Tea Party on the American revolution
- Be sure to pay attention to the artwork in the second museum room!
- There’s a bathroom available about 45 minutes into the tour, during the third museum room.
Instead of 3.5 hours like the real event, it will take just about an hour, with 15 minutes or so outside. At the end, you’ll be in Abagail’s Tea Room which is open to the public even if you don’t do the tour.
We actually got a lot of food for the price and an endless cup of tea so that we could try 5 of the flavors that would have been thrown overboard during the main event.
Within the Tea Room, you’ll have the opportunity to play several different old games like Shut the Box, Tic Tac Toe, and more!
Check their website for more information.
Learning objectives from studying the Boston Tea Party & Visiting the museum
Students will be able to identify factors leading to the Boston Tea Party
Before visiting the museum, we reading a few books to set the stage and help our children know more about colonials and events like the Stamp Act that had patriots upset.
Topics to discuss:
- Taxation without Representation
- The Tea Act
- The Stamp Act
- Boston Massacre
Students will be able to apply their understanding of Colonial America to pretend to be a key figure at the Boston Tea Party
Have students also look at the way colonials dressed and even differences between the way they dressed. This can be seen in one of the videos in the first museum room between two women.
Students will be able to analyze the impact of the Boston Tea Party in relation to the American Revolution
Key topics to be sure to cover:
- Intolerable Acts
- Lexington & Concord
Books related to learning about the Boston Tea Party
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- You wouldn’t want to be at the Boston Tea Party
- If you lived at the time of the American Revolution by Kay Moore
- Paul Revere’s Ride by Longfellow
- The Colonial Minuteman by Laura Sullivan
Virtual Tools, Videos, and Tours
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum does offer Skype Virtual Tours which are perfect for classrooms, co-ops, or another a group of homeschool students. They also have a wonderful free Research Section on their website!
Other Boston Tea Party Learning Activities
- Brew tea in ice cold water to see how long it takes [It was a frigid day in December 1773]
- Create a Mohawk Indian Costume
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!