Teacher Resources

The Bostonian Society offers a range of educational resources, including lesson plans, primary documents and school programs. To schedule a school program or a visit to the Old State House Museum, please check out Group Visits and Programs.

Essay Contest

Win a FREE Boston Duck Tour and a Visit to the Old State House for Your Class

To promote an appreciation for our state's history, The Bostonian Society and Boston Duck Tours sponsor a yearly essay contest for greater Boston area school children in grades 5-8. Students in grades 5-6 are asked to submit an essay of 300-500 words. Students in grades 7-8 are asked to submit an essay of 500-700 words. The First Place student in each grade group receives a Duck Tour and a visit to the Old State House for his/her class (up to 36 people including chaperones). Winning schools are responsible for providing transportation to Boston for the Duck Tour and visit to the Old State House. The tour must be booked for a date no later than May 31, 2016.

The topic for the 2015 essay contest is Boston's Maritime History

In 1716, the first lighthouse in the 13 colonies was built on Little Brewster Island. In 2016, the United States Coast Guard and the National Park Service will celebrate the 300th anniversary of Light Station Boston. During the colonial period, Boston was the busiest seaport in in North America. Students should write an essay on some aspect of our maritime history. For example, the essay could be about ship building, lighthouses, or trade with foreign countries.

Feel free to contact Jim Healy at Boston Duck Tours if you have any questions about the essay topic. Jim may be reached at 617-438-4915 or by email. Entries should be received no later than November 3, 2015. Please include the student's name, grade, teacher's name, school, and school address on the front page. The student's name should be on each subsequent page. Send entries to Jim Healy, Boston Duck Tours, 4 Copley Place #4155, Boston, MA 02116.

Judges for the 2015 Essay Contest will be Martin Blatt, PhD, History Department, Northeastern University; Professor Robert Allison, PhD, Chair, History Department, Suffolk University; and Nat Sheidley, PhD, Director of Public History, The Bostonian Society.

The Bostonian Society operates the Old State House as an historic site and museum. Built in 1713, the Old State House was the seat of colonial government, home to the Massachusetts Assembly, the Supreme Court of the Colony and the office of the Royal Governor. It was here that many of the basic principles of American democracy, later enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, were first expressed. John Adams described it as the site where "the child Independence was born." The Bostonian Society seeks to foster an understanding of the world-changing ideas and events associated with the Old State House, and the ways in which they influence our lives today. The Society was founded in 1881 to save the Old State House from demolition; since that time the Society has preserved the structure and kept it open to the public as a museum dedicated to Boston's Revolutionary history.



Boston Massacre Primary Documents

The following kits are designed to provide primary sources about the Boston Massacre that can be incorporated into the classroom. Each kit provides primary documents as well as suggested classroom activities that can be adapted for multiple grade levels.

Boston Massacre Game

An educational tool, this web site is designed as an investigative game for upper elementary and middle-school students. Using images of the event and testimony from the trials, students learn about this incident, its historical significance and how it was used to further the Patriot cause.

Click here to play the game