It is nearly a year since the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon. With the anniversary and Patriots’ Day upon us, there is a new exhibit entitled “Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial,” on display at the Boston Public Library from April 7th through May 11th.
I will not be in Boston for the marathon, but I am sure that, if I were, I would want to see this exhibit. If you do go see it, please report back here in the comments. Last year, I posted this compilation of more than 50 photos of people wearing running shirts in the week after the bombing to show their support and solidarity. It was called “Support For Boston – We Wear Race Shirts.”
As reported by the Associated Press, Boston.Com and BostInno, the exhibit is based on items mourners left at makeshift memorials near the finish line to honor the victims and commemorate those killed in the attacks, including flowers, signs and notes and other items such as teddy bears, marathon bibs and running sneakers as well as a cross that was set up for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer fatally shot three days later amid a search for the bombing suspects.
According to the Boston.Com article:
Among the numerous heartfelt messages left at Copley Square was one from a Sandy Hook mother that reads, ‘‘We understand. Sending love and support.’’ Other notes urged resilience: ‘‘Don’t let this stop you. Stay Boston Strong’’ and ‘‘We will run again.’’
One colorful sign had more than 10 towns in Massachusetts forming the shape of a heart, saying ‘‘Stands with Boston!!!’’ underneath. And multiple messages of ‘‘I love my city’’ and ‘‘Boston Strong’’ memorabilia were scattered throughout the square.
Messages were sent from across the world, including Israel, South Korea, Turkey and Venezuela.
But the long-term home for these artifacts is still in flux. Until then, any paper tributes will be held in the Boston archives and the other artifacts will be kept in storage.
An online catalog called ‘‘Our Marathon’’ is hosted by Northeastern University and features 18,000 cards addressed to the mayor’s office. Photos of other objects that can’t be scanned will also be included. The city has also lent out a few of the items for exhibits at the Cambridge Public Library, Northeastern University and the mayor’s office.
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‘‘Boston needed a place to heal and someone had to do it,’’ said the 59-year-old Brown, who stayed at the memorial from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. ‘‘It just became a piece of me, and I loved to do it.’’
Brown, a self-employed carpenter, constructed the cross for the fallen MIT police officer.
‘‘I did all this for the people of Boston,’’ he said. ‘‘I just love this city.’’
Rainey Tisdale, an independent curator from Boston, has been in charge of assembling this year’s exhibit and selecting which items to choose. She said the experience has been emotional.
‘‘Seeing these objects is a pretty intense experience,’’ Tisdale said. ‘‘People poured their hearts out into them.’’
Her work isn’t done yet, but she expects the finished exhibit to feature hundreds of items, including 150 pairs of running shoes.
The centerpiece of the memorial will be four white crosses commemorating those killed: 8-year-old Martin Richard; 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student from China; 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, of Arlington; and 26-year-old MIT officer Sean Collier.