An iconic Revolutionary War artifact is part of a new Concord Museum exhibit

"April 19, 1775" offers a comprehensive look at a pivotal day in American history.

U. S. Veterans Bill Rose, Navy (Bolton, MA.); Warren Griffin, Marine Corps League (Holliston, MA); Philip Peck, Army (Framingham, MA.) Dick Kreg, Veterans Services Officer, (Concord, MA); and Paula Pratt Renkas, State Regent Massachusetts, Daughters of the American Revolution, (Franklin, MA.) salute the flag as part of the official opening of the Concord Museum’s new April 19, 1775 exhibition.
U. S. Veterans Bill Rose, Navy (Bolton); Warren Griffin, Marine Corps League (Holliston); Philip Peck, Army (Framingham); Dick Kreg, Veterans Services Officer (Concord); and Paula Pratt Renkas, State Regent Massachusetts, Daughters of the American Revolution (Franklin) salute the flag as part of the official opening of the Concord Museum’s new "April 19, 1775" exhibition. –Concord Museum

A new exhibit at the Concord Museum puts one of the most iconic symbols of the Revolutionary War front and center.

At the center of the $1.2 million exhibit “April 19, 1775” are several artifacts that help tell different parts of the story of that pivotal day in American history when British troops and colonists exchanged fire in Lexington and Concord.

Chief among them is one of the two lamps used to signal the approach of the British army (“one if by land, two if by sea”) and spur Paul Revere to make his famous midnight ride.

A lantern used to signal the start of Paul Revere’s midnight ride at the Concord Museum. —Concord Museum

On Tuesday, a group of local U.S. veterans toured the new exhibit, “April 19, 1775,” before the museum offered free admission to active military, veterans, and their families on Veterans Day.

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“As our new exhibits herald the courage of those embattled farmers who stood their ground against what was then the greatest army in the world so, too, we honor all those who have defended our liberty and founding ideals throughout the past 245 years,” said Tom Putnam, the Museum’s Edward W. Kane Executive Director, in a press release following the veterans’ visit.

“April 19, 1775” offers a comprehensive look at the pivotal day and incorporates several perspectives involving women and people of color who were present — voices that have been underrepresented in past retellings of the Revolutionary War.

One artifact included in the exhibit is a looking glass that belonged to Case Whitney, one of approximately 24 people who were enslaved in Concord during the war. Whitney survived the battle at the North Bridge and later emancipated himself after serving in the continental army.

“We worked with historians who are experts on slavery in Concord and people of color who were involved in the Revolutionary War,” Putnam told Boston.com “It’s important that people know this part of the story.”

Following Wednesday’s Veterans Day special, the Concord Museum opens “April 19, 1775” to the public on Thursday, with social distancing and face masks required. The museum will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Nov. 24, at which point the museum will expand operations to seven days a week.

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