Past Time

Epic historical relics that you never knew were here

pasttimePhoto: Peter Vanderwarker

T

he pen Abraham Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. A copy by Thomas Jefferson of his original draft of the Declaration of Independence. George Washington’s epaulets. This stuff’s gotta be in the Smithsonian in Washington, right? Nope. It’s a couple blocks from Fenway Park at the Massachusetts Historical Society. The oldest historical society in America, founded in 1791, the society also has works of art by John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart and a portrait by John Trumbull of George Washington commissioned by Jefferson for Monticello. Rotating exhibitions are open to the public, there’s a free public art and building tour on Saturdays at 10 a.m, and other historic items can be viewed by appointment.

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The Massachusetts Historical Society also has a table (on temporary loan now to the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center) made from three pieces of the dome of the U.S. Capitol, used at the inaugurations of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama.

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