Two hundred years ago today, President James Madison declared war on England, beginning the War of 1812. Over the weekend, two exhibits boasting several artifacts of Massachusetts’s role in the war opened to celebrate the bicentennial of the war.
At the State House on Friday, Secretary of State William Galvin opened an exhibit in Doric Hall featuring documents and artifacts specifically related to the state legislature’s role in the war.
“They are mostly legislative documents,” said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Galvin’s office. “One is the congratulatory resolution praising the naval commanders for their victories and there are three schedules listing what was required for the defense of Boston and other seaport towns.”
McNiff said Galvin’s office has not set an end date for the exhibit. The documents are normally stored in the Massachusetts Archives.
Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart was on hand Saturday as master of ceremonies for the grand opening of the Old Ironsides 1812 Discovery Center in the USS Constitution Museum in the Charlestown Navy Yard.
“The discovery center features the causes and consequences of the War of 1812 through interactive exhibits,” museum development officer Jodie McMenamin said. “We have a model of the Constitution split into sections so you can see the different sections of the ship and learn how the crew during 1812 came together as a unified force to help defeat the British forces and ultimately regain our independence.”
The exhibition is the result of at least ten years of research, McMenamin said. It was created around the theme of “one ship, one crew, one nation,” she said.
“The War of 1812 was an exciting time in American history that forged our nation’s identity,” Anne Grimes Rand, the museum’s president, said in a statement. “It left us with icons that we still treasure today, like the nation’s beloved USS Constitution. I’m pleased that we will be able to commemorate the bicentennial of this historic time with the opening of this exhibit along with a series of other events throughout the summer and fall.”