On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, transforming the city, its residents, and the runners and visitors participating in this world-famous event. Almost immediately, a makeshift memorial began to take shape, first at the police barricade at the intersection of Boylston and Berkeley Streets and later at Copley Square. People from across the globe left flowers, posters, notes, t-shirts, hats, tokens of all shapes and sizes, and—most significantly—running shoes.
Each of the objects left at the memorial, whether giant banner or tiny scrap of paper, store-bought or handmade, was a message of love and support for grieving families and a grieving city. They were hope in material form, symbolizing the human desire to help, comfort, connect, and sustain when confronted with great tragedy.
In June 2013, the memorial was dismantled and these thousands of objects were transferred to the Boston City Archives for safekeeping. To mark the one year anniversary, a selection of items from the memorial collection will be displayed—in one of Boston’s most important civic buildings—so visitors can once again experience the outpouring of human compassion they represent.
Dear Boston has been organized by a partnership that includes the Boston City Archives, Boston Art Commission, New England Museum Association, and Boston Public Library.
It has been made possible with the generous support of Iron Mountain.