A special exhibition at the Concord Museum
April 18 through September 21, 2014

The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775 will follow an hour-by-hour account of the actions of British Regulars and Patriots on April 19th, 1775, presenting a chronological and geographical timeline of the day and representing many of the communities surrounding Boston – Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Arlington (Menotomy), and Cambridge – whose militias played a prominent role in the day-long engagement.

Organized by Concord Museum curator David Wood and militaria expert Joel Bohy, the exhibition will draw from the Museum’s important collection, as well as a number of private and institutional collections. 

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • Paul Revere’s Lantern

  • A letter John Hancock wrote from Lexington at 9:00 p.m. on April 18 (private collection)

  • William Diamond’s drum that summoned the Lexington militia to the Common (Lexington Historical Society - pictured above)

  • James Hayward’s powder horn, pierced by the bullet that killed him (Acton Memorial Library) 

  • A powder horn with original woven strap that belonged to Abner Hosmer, who was killed at the North Bridge (Concord Museum)
  • The sword of Major John Buttrick who, at the North Bridge, gave the order to return fire (Massachusetts Archives)

  • The powder horn of Amos Barrett, whose first-person reminiscence of the North Bridge fight is among the most vivid and detailed accounts to survive (Concord Museum)

  • The sword of Captain Nathan Barrett, who was in command of one of Concord’s militia companies at the North Bridge (Concord Museum)

  • And, from the British Regulars, a sergeant’s musket and the sword of a private in the 10th Regiment (Concord Museum) and a Royal Artillery Pouch (Arlington Historical Society, First Parish Unitarian Universalist of  Arlington)       

These objects demonstrate a profound understanding of the dangerous situation and an absolute commitment to its resolution on the part of the participants, who, by the end of that long day, numbered some twenty thousand from all over eastern Massachusetts. David F. Wood, curator of the Concord Museum, notes that "though a great deal has been written about April 19th, it is still the case that some details of the action that day are found only in the surviving artifacts.  Through this exhibition," he says, "we hope not just to assemble these relics, but also to reexamine them for the evidence they may contain about the events of that day."

The Concord Museum is delighted to collaborate with so many of its neighboring communities and is especially pleased to have partnered with The Lexington Historical Society both on the exhibition and related programming.  The Lexington Historical Society will open an exhibition on May 3, 2014 that will take a lighthearted look at the longstanding rivalry between Lexington and Concord for historical preeminence in the events of April 19, 1775.  Titled The Battle after the Battle: The Tug of War Between Lexington and Concord for Revolutionary Fame, the exhibit draws on documents, photographs and artifacts from both institutions that illustrate this sometimes heated, sometimes humorous conflict.  Both institutions hope that visitors will attend both exhibitions as they present an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to explore both the objects and the accounts of that fateful day. 

Drum: Courtesy of The Lexington Historical Society/Photograph by David Bohl

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of:

Lead Sponsor

Additional Sponsors

Massachusetts Society
of the Cincinnati

Media Sponsor

Concord's April 19, 1775 Trail

Concord’s April 19, 1775 Trail, created by the Concord Museum, provides a gateway for exploring the many historic sites and resources related to the American Revolution.

On April 19th, Concord’s patriots were ready. Years of protest, months of stockpiling, weeks of false alarms—all were about to end dramatically. Visit the sites in Concord to learn more about the 18th-century town and its residents. Download a printable version ofConcord's April 19, 1775 Trail (PDF).

Associated Exhibition

The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation, brings together 30 photographic portraits of people who lived through the Revolution and survived into the age of photography. Gathered by one of the nation’s foremost historical photo detectives, Maureen Taylor, these rare nineteenth-century images assign faces to an un-illustrated war. Although the faces that gaze out are old and wizened, the stories they tell are of youthful bravery in the early days of the Republic. Presented in conjunction with The Shot Heard Round the World, the exhibit will be on view from April 18-September 21, 2014. (Photo courtesy Chester Urban).

Related Programs

Cokie Roberts
Tuesday, May 20

In conjunction with the special exhibition The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775, the Concord Museum is honored to welcome Cokie Roberts. Roberts, author of Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation andFounding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies, will speak at the Fenn School (516 Monument Street, Concord) on Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. This event is free, but pre-registration is required: online or by calling (978) 369-9763, ext. 216. 

Handel and Haydn Society Chorus
Sunday, June 1

Members of the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus will perform a program of early American a cappella songs in connection with The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775. A professional chorus and period instrument orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society is an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the time in which the music was composed. Founded in 1815, the Society is America's oldest continuously performing arts organization and will begin celebration of its Bicentennial this fall.  2:00 p.m.; by reservation only. $20 Concord Museum Members; $25 Non-members; tickets may be purchased online or by calling (978) 369-9763, ext. 216.

Past Programs

From Dawn to Dead of Night: Revolutionary War Encampment
Friday and Saturday, April 18 and 19

On April 18th to 19th, the Concord Museum will host an overnight encampment of Minute Men on the Museum’s lawn in conjunction with the Museum’s special exhibition The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775.  On Friday afternoon, watch as re-enactors assemble on the lawn, set up camp, and spend the night at the museum on the eve of the anniversary of April 19th, 1775.  The group will be recreating Captain David Brown’s company – a group of Concord Minute Men who fought at the North Bridge in 1775.   On the morning of April 19th, Brown’s Company will march to the North Bridge at Minute Man National Historical Park for a dawn salute and additional programs.  At noon on Saturday at the Museum, visitors of all ages can explore the encampment, talk with Brown’s Company, and watch musket demonstrations.  In the galleries, visitors can participate in colonial crafts and games, try on period costumes, or attend gallery talks in the special exhibition.  A patriotic treasure hunt and Family Guide will enable younger visitors and families to learn about revolutionary Massachusetts in a fun and engaging way together.[Please note:  The Concord Museum will be closed on Sunday, April 20, 2014 (Easter Sunday) but will be open on Monday, April 21, 2014 with related Patriots' Day programming].

Gallery Talk
Saturday, April 19 

Concord Museum Curator David Wood and militaria expert Joel Bohy from Skinner, Inc. will elaborate on the remarkable objects selected for The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775. 2:00 p.m.; included free with Museum admission.

Patriots’ Day
Monday, April 21

After the Patriots’ Day parade, stop by the Museum to enjoy music from the Middlesex County 4H Fife & Drum Corps, take part in patriotic crafts for families, visit with living history re-enactors, and hear a gallery talk with curator David Wood at 2:00. Explore the Museum’s outstanding collection of treasures from April, 1775, including the famous “one, if by land, two, if by sea” Revere lantern. All activities 11:00 - 3:00, included free with Museum admission.