Tuesday, 17 April 2012 3:51 PM
Not only is Boston one of the largest cities in the United States, but it is almost among the most historic. First established in 1630 by Puritan immigrants, it has a rich past that makes it the perfect place for history students to build upon the subjects they have learnt about in the classroom.
The easiest way to gain an understanding of the pivotal role the city has played in American history is by following the Freedom Trail. This route stretches for 2.5 miles through the heart of the city and, thanks to its distinctive red bricks, can be easily followed on a school tour. Starting from Boston Common – which is the oldest public park in the US – the route takes you to 16 sites of historical significance, including the 18th-century King's Chapel church.
Other landmarks on the trail include the Old State House – which the British government used as a base to rule the city – and a site commemorating the Boston Massacre. The latter, which is situated on State Street, consists of a ring of cobblestones and marks where five civilians were killed by UK soldiers in March 1770. Each year a re-enactment of the massacre is held here, so timing your battlefields tour for schools to coincide with the anniversary offers the chance to learn more about the deteriorating relationship between America and Britain during this time.
Another local event symbolic of the tensions between the countries is the Boston Tea Party – where hundreds of chests of tea were dumped into the sea in 1773 in protest against British taxation. Visit the Boston Tea Party Museum at the city's harbour to gain a greater insight into the rebellion and how it contributed to the start of the Revolutionary War. You can even step onboard life-size replicas of the ships involved in the mutiny.
If your students are learning about 20th century American history, it's worth heading to the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Situated on Columbia Point, this cultural institution is dedicated to the life of the former president, who was famously assassinated in 1963, with many of his personal possessions on display.
Visit the Oval Office exhibition to see a replica of Kennedy's desk and watch video footage of civil rights demonstrations, while the Briefing Room looks at how the president used the power of television to address Americans. You can also see gifts given to the president by various heads of state and exhibits dedicated to his wife Jacqueline Kennedy.