Boston Public Library
Exhibitions

Dear Boston

Messages from the Marathon Memorial

Boston Public Library
Dear_Boston_Logo_RGBCentral Library in Copley Square
McKim Exhibition Hall
Monday, April 7—Sunday, May 11, 2014
Monday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.,
Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday: 1–5 p.m.

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.

Marathon MemorialIn 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.

Related Programs and Events

The BPL is hosting a series of programs and events in April to commemorate this important anniversary. Please visit the Boston Marathon Programs page to learn more.

Many organizations throughout the Greater Boston area are hosting commemorative events:  the BostonBetter blog includes listings and more information on programs, schedules, and participating institutions.