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Tiny Hub museum big on history

Posted by Paul Kandarian  May 28, 2013 10:03 AM

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It’s always fun finding the unfamiliar in familiar places. Eating lunch with friends recently at the Fairmont Battery Wharf unveiled a beauty: The Maritime Museum at the waterfront hotel, featuring the U.S. Coast Guard and Battery Wharf from colonial times to present. I’d never seen nor heard of it until then.

It’s a tiny place, some 1,000-square-feet that’s rightfully dubbed a “pocket museum,” one that tells the wharf’s history with interpretive signs and video. The biggest feature of the place is a monstrous live oak timber that has to be 40-feet long and dominating the front of the narrow space. It was preserved for years at the Charlestown Navy Yard for use in repairing wooden-hulled warships: Think the USS Constitution, the nation’s oldest, which was built at a shipyard near Battery Wharf.DSCN0851.jpg

While you’re there, look down: The museum’s floor was created from Battery Wharf’s old live oak pilings, which were replaced with concrete during construction of the property. There is also oak seating throughout, provided by Longleaf Lumber of Cambridge, discovered in an excavation of Charlestown.

There is also a display honoring Paul Revere. He frequented the Salutation Tavern across the street from North Battery where he and other revolutionaries laid their plans. On April 18, 1775, he left in a rowboat from North Battery where he was taken to Charlestown, borrowed a horse and began the oft-told “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

DSCN0853.jpgOutside the museum, you can stroll the city’s Harbor Walk, which surrounds the Fairmont property, where every several feet you can take in views with telescopes and interpretive signage. For an elevated view, check out the 24-hour observation deck above the museum.

All that history in one tiny place, and it’s all free to boot. For info, visit www.fairmont.com/battery-wharf-boston/activities-services/maritime-museum

Photos by Paul E. Kandarian

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