History on Location Day Five: Bunker Hill

Links to Days One, Two, Three, and Four.

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Our trip to Massachusetts wrapped up Friday, April 8, with a culminating talk with Frank Cogliano on Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty, a visit to Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and the Paul Revere House, and a walking tour of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

A big thank you to everyone whose efforts made it a wonderful trip:

  • Lead scholars John Demos, Frank Cogliano, and Gloria Sesso;
  • Victoria Lain and Lance Warren from Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History;
  • Kim VanWormer, Summer Confuorto, and the interpreters at Plimoth Plantation;
  • The staff at Rebecca Nurse Homestead;
  • The docents at Peabody Essex Museum;
  • National Park Service Rangers along the Freedom Trail, at Minute Man National Park, and Bunker Hill;
  • Zerah Jakub of the Old South Meeting House;
  • Alison Falotico, Paul O’Shaughnessy, and the rest of the staff at the Lexington Historical Society;
  • ESD 112 Program Assistant Patricia Cole;
  • The US Department of Education’s Teaching American History Program; and
  • All the others I failed to mention!


  • What do you think were the important historical ideas discussed?  What makes them important to study?
  • What historical questions were answered and what new ones emerged?
  • What new ideas about teaching and learning does this leave you with?

2 responses to “History on Location Day Five: Bunker Hill

  1. As with our Day at Lexington and Concord, I really appreciated “walking in the footsteps” of the British Regulars, a path I hadn’t trod. Our walk from the water’s edge up the hill was very dramatic and then getting to the top and imagining what was happening in the redoubt – the Colonists knowing they were out of ammunition and facing almost certain death….the British needing to prove their valor and superiority – such determination, courage, and bravery takes my breath away!
    I was overwhelmed with feelings of respect, pride, and appreciation.

  2. Every day of our journey this week far exceeded my expectations. The biggest “aha” for me however, had to be the unexpected exposure to the British perspective. I was totally surprised when our lunch speaker on day four was a British regular re-enactor! Listening to him really brought home to me once more the notion that there are always at least two “sides” to every story.
    This experience was a perfect lead up to our final day, visiting Copp’s Hill and following in the British footsteps to Bunker Hill. I loved being able to actually see the vantage point from Copp’s Hill, and to think about how invasive the British trampling of the early burial ground there must have felt to Bostons inhabitants at the time.
    Later, meeting our enthusiastic guide near Old Ironsides, and learning he would be guiding us from the British approach, was truly a highlight for me.
    In talking with my students this past week, I wasn’t sure if they would get even a glimmer of British perspective. It was a bit reassuring when they held their “town meeting” on Thursday. As most bitterly complained about the continued imposition of British taxes on sugar, molasses and papers, (and even playing cards!) there were two who spoke up to say, “Wait. England spent a lot of money protecting us during the recent war with the French. It’s only fair that we help pay back some of the costs!” My two got soundly voted down, and the rest were roused to write a letter to the King, demanding they not be taxed without representation. But I was smiling to myself, and grateful beyond words for the opportunity this trip provided me to view America’s history in such a concrete, engaging way. It will make a valuable difference in my teaching, and student learning, for the remainder of my teaching career.

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