Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum


The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773.   116 New Englanders, some dressed as Mohawk Indians, threw 342 containers of tea into Boston Harbor.  The total weight of the tea was 90,000 pounds and the value in 1773 was 10,000 British pounds.  The events of December 16, 1773 were immediately preceded by a series of town meetings in Boston that started on November 29, 1773.  The town meetings began as a result of the ship Dartmouth entering Boston Harbor with East India Tea.  During the meetings the citizens protested the presence of the tea, when their request to have the tea sent back to England was denied by the governor, they decided that the best action was to dump the tea into the harbor.  

The event was a culmination of disagreements between the American Colonies and British Parliament over taxes.  The specific complaint was that British Parliament was passing laws that impacted the Colonists even though the colonists were not represented in Parliament, Taxation without Representation.  The table below shows the British action and Colonial reaction from 1764 through 1773.








British Action

Sugar Act

Currency Act

Quartering Act

Stamp Act

Repeal of Stamp Act

Declaratory Act

Townshend Act

Townshend Acts Relaxed

Boston Massacre

Tea Act

Colonial Reaction


Start Nonimportation

Sons of Liberty Formeed

Stamp Act Congress held

Nonimportation Relaxed

Nonimportation Renewed

Nonimportation Relaxed

Boston Tea Party

History of the Museum

The original museum was built for the United States Bicentennial celebration.  It opened to visitors in 1973.  The museum was located a couple of hundred yards away from where the event actually occurred. 

In August 2001, lightning struck the museum gift shop and started a fire that destroyed the gift shop.  The museum closed to the public after the fire, but the museum building and replica ship were not impacted.  A second fire in August 2007 destroyed the museum building.  

The owner of the museum, Historic Tours of America, secured funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston to renovate and improve on the old museum.  The new museum opened on July 3, 2012.  The new museum differs from the original museum in that it includes a reenactment  and an interactive museum.   When fully complete it will include three replica ships.  The actual event occurred on three ships the Beaver, the Eleanor, and the Dartmouth.  The original museum had only one replica ship, the Beaver.    

The museum is located at 306 Congress Street Bridge in Boston, MA.  See map below.  

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My Family's Museum Experience

My mother treated my wife and children to an afternoon at the museum  It provides a different experience than the original museum that I visited when I was in Elementary School   The new museum includes an interactive reenactment of the Boston Tea party.  Each member of the audience is given a role and asked to act it out during the production.  At the end of the reenactment they board the ship and throw the tea into the water.  After leaving the ship they proceed through the museum and gift shop.  The only thing my children like better than the Jr. Ranger program is the gift shop.  My wife and mother were able to make it out of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum gift shop with only a small purchase, a tin fife for my youngest son.  He started to practice the fife when he got home. 

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