Banner for <i>Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the</i> Boston Massacre

Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre

To recognize the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, a significant event leading up to the American Revolution, the Massachusetts Historical Society organized an exhibition featuring handwritten and published sources with compelling accounts of the confrontation, the aftermath, and the trials.

On this website, explore...

... selected themes from our exhibition, preview some of the items on display, and link to dozens of online resources based on archival sources.

More about the exhibition

On the evening of 5 March 1770, soldiers occupying the town of Boston shot into a crowd, killing or fatally wounding five civilians. In the aftermath of what soon became known as the Boston Massacre, questions about the command to "Fire!" became crucial. Who yelled it? When and why? Because the answers would determine the guilt or innocence of the soldiers, defense counsel John Adams insisted that "Facts are stubborn things."

But what are the facts? The evidence, often contradictory, drew upon testimony from dozens of witnesses. Learn about the Boston Massacre and “hear” for yourself—through a selection of artifacts, eyewitness accounts, and trial testimony—the voices of ordinary men and women, and discover how this flashpoint changed American history.

Fire! Voices from the Boston Massacre

Open 31 October 2019 to 30 June 2020 | View reenactors presenting depositions:

Visit our event calendar for information on other upcoming events relating to the exhibition.