Colonial Massachusetts is distinguished by the unification of the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony that was comprised of areas north of Boston. Both groups left Europe in search of freedom from religious persecutions of the Church of England. Every Colonial attraction offers a historical account of the daily happenings of Pilgrims and Puritans from the 1600s to the 1800s.
Colonial Lantern Tours
Explore Colonial Massachusetts with Colonial Lantern Tours of Plymouth (lanterntours.com). Guests are provided punched tin lanterns and join guided tours at Plymouth Rock for 90-minute walking educational sessions. Tourists learn about the historic Pilgrim settlers and their interactions with area Native Americans. In addition, guides explain the origins and meanings of monuments many people only heard of in American history class. These monuments include Plymouth Rock, the Massasoit Statue, Cole's Hill, the Sarcophagus, the Mayflower II, Town Square and the Brook of Brewster Gardens.
Provincetown's Pilgrim Monument (pilgrim-monument.org) is dedicated to sharing the history of Cape Cod. Cape Cod is the first place the Pilgrims landed before departing for Plymouth. The monument is the United States' tallest all-granite building. It was first erected between 1907 and 1910 and its cornerstone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt. The monument's initial purpose of memorializing the Pilgrims' first landing is still being met in the 21st century. The monument site is also significant as the site of the Mayflower Compact signing.
Witch Dungeon Museum
Travel back to 1692 Salem by visiting the Witch Dungeon Museum's (witchdungeon.com) historic reenactment. The museum is visited by area schools' classrooms because it offers an educational lesson about the Puritan culture of the Colonial era. The re-enactment is based on historical texts of the Salem witch trials that were prompted by the belief that children were being cursed by alleged witches. Watching the trial re-enactment reveals Colonial cultural beliefs in spiritual possession of the physical body, approved modes of punishment and troubles of the time, including a smallpox epidemic, threats of attack from Native Americans and the French, and poor agricultural harvest.
Sargent House Museum
Gloucester's Judith Sargent Murray was one of Colonial America's first active feminists. She wrote a literary column and produced a play in Boston. The Sargent House Museum (sargenthouse.org) was once her home and provides a place for women's rights historians to read her writings that date back to the 1770s. Her literature advocated equal educational and employment opportunities for women and female marital rights. In addition, the house features Colonial era architecture, furniture, portraiture and shoes.
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