Check Out This Original Vial of Tea from the Boston Tea Party
It's on view at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
American history buffs, brace yourselves.
This month, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum has a new item on view: a vial of tea believed to be from the Boston Tea Party. (Yes, that one.) The vial is on a 10-year loan from Old North Foundation of Boston, the organization in charge of Boston’s oldest surviving church building, and is part of an exhibit that also displays the last known surviving tea chest from the historic night in 1773.
The tea—which, if it was drinkable, could be one of the tastiest historical artifacts in town—has two origin stories. The first is that it comes from the family of Thaddeus Mason Harris, a Unitarian clergyman who hailed from Dorchester. As the myth goes, Harris gathered the tea, which washed ashore from the Boston Tea Party, on the beaches of Dorchester Neck Flats. Then, the Harris family bottled the tea and passed it on through generations. The second provenance says the tea was shaken out of a Boston Tea Party participant’s boot when he returned home from the protest.
“Every day, the entire team at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is passionate about telling and teaching the story of the Boston Tea Party and celebrating and recognizing its significance in American history,” said Shawn P. Ford, executive director of the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, in a statement. “What better way to expand the experience than with a vial of actual tea believed to be from that historic and fateful night that changed and shaped the course of American history?”
From its revolutionary roots to being the first city to open a public beach, public subway, and public park, you could say Boston’s culture is steeped in history. But a 244-year-old vial of tea? That’s one for the books.