Before going on April vacation, St. John School’s middle school students spent an afternoon with Suffolk University History Professor, Bob Allison, learning about the American Revolution and the rich history of Boston’s famed Faneuil Hall.
Professor Allison explained what all of the components of the Massachusetts state flag meant and represented, as well as the history of the American flag. He talked about the history and traditions of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and about the museum dedicated to the Company.
Professor Allison discussed the construction of Faneuil Hall, and noted that Thomas Edison himself had installed the lights in the Hall. He let the children explore the museum, and he walked around with them answering a whole host of questions, including:
- Identifying a uniform in the museum as a Swiss Guard uniform and explaining what the Swiss Guard is and who it guards;
- Explaining why, for one of the early commanders of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, there was no photograph or picture – cameras had not yet been invented and painted portraits were very expensive – the only known representation of the commander was a silhouette, which was inexpensive to create but did not provide the same level of detail as a photo or portrait; and
- Explaining what the insignia on various military patches represented.
Finally, Professor Allison arranged a talk by the park ranger in the downstairs meeting hall. The focus of that talk was: (1) what freedom meant to each of the students; and (2) that Faneuil Hall was a public meeting place where, from the Revolution through the present day, people have gathered to advocate for what freedom means to them.
Professor Allison had the children on the edge of their seats with his firsthand knowledge of Boston’s significance as the “cradle of liberty”. We thank him for his time and for making history fun and interesting.
Professor Allison’s parting words of wisdom to our students was, “I encourage you to take advantage of all of the exciting opportunities Boston has to learn about history.”