Concord Museum


Lantern hung from the Old North Church
on the night of Paul Revere’s ride.

  • Founded in 1886.
  • The Old North Church lantern reputed to have been used by sexton Robert Newman has a provenance that cannot be certified. But it has a tradition, going back to 1853, of being one of the lanterns he used.
  • While there is a unique display of Revolutionary Americana, the Museum is especially rich in 19th-century artifacts.
  • One of the period rooms is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s actual study; the one in the Emerson Memorial House, where Emerson lived, is a recreation.
  • The Museum has the world’s largest collection of possessions by Henry David Thoreau, including furnishings from his cabin at nearby Walden Pond.

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Recognized by curators, historians, and educators for more than a century, the Concord Museum displays Americana from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

The collection began around 1850 and was exhibited before the Civil War; only a handful of Americana collections can claim to be as old or as remarkably well-documented. It is especially strong in artifacts from Concord, with furnishings from Concord homes, including five period rooms and decorative arts. Its history galleries include Revolutionary War powder horns, muskets, cannonballs, and fifes.

There are also continually changing special exhibitions.

[Major General Henry] Knox proudly stepped aside on Tuesday, October 9 [1781] to allow Washington the honor of igniting the bore hole of a heavy siege gun and ceremoniously discharging the first shot from the American battery at Yorktown. The shell was clearly visible as it streaked across the sky and land with precision within the British compound, setting off cheers throughout the American ranks. The Continental artillery corps then continued an uninterrupted stream of fire that produced a relentless, unnerving, and deafening roar. Cornwallis would later recall: The fire continued incessant from heavy cannon, and from mortars and howitzers throwing shells from 8 to 16 inches, until all our guns on the left were silenced, our work much damaged, and our loss of men considerable

Mark Puls
Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution (2008)