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Rediscovering History through Objects

Joel Bohy to present at Colonial Williamsburg Conference

August 22, 2019 BY STAFF

You might have seen this director of Historic Arms & Militaria at Skinner, Inc. appraising guests’ treasures on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow. And now, you can pick his brain at Colonial Williamsburg when you register for our October 11-13 conference, The Weapons of War: Military Arms in Revolutionary America.

Joel Bohy’s passion for the material culture related to military history began at a young age. He began collecting in-and-around Concord, Massachusetts and developed an eagerness to study the arms, equipage, and uniforms of the common soldier from the American Revolutionary War through World War II.

Joel Bohy holds a fired Provincial fowler ball that he found and excavated during a 2016 Archaeology project called “Parker’s Revenge” at the Lexington and Concord Battlefields.

Now the director of Historic Arms & Militaria at Skinner, Inc., Bohy has published articles on the American Revolutionary War, including “The Arms of Lexington and Concord” in The American Rifleman, with co-author and longtime collaborator Don Troiani. He is currently writing a book documenting extant objects related to the events of April 19, 1775, and the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Conference attendees will get some insight into that forthcoming book with his 10:45 a.m. presentation on Saturday October 12, titled “April 19, 1775...then the battel be gune”: Rediscovering History Through Objects.

We caught up with Bohy and asked him what about the objects that have drawn him to the particular stories surrounding the Battle.

“My interest in the battle was first sparked by the physical place,” says Bohy. “Soon after, I became fascinated with the material culture related to the event, the first being the ‘Paul Revere’ lantern in the collection of the Concord Museum. While not used in battle, the lantern is an important object; helping to bring to life the story of that day.”

In fact, Bohy says, arms and militaria are not the only significant battlefield finds. You can expect to learn about some unexpected historical objects in his talk, including some never publicly displayed and discussed.

Learn more about James Hayward’s Powder Horn in Bohy’s talk at The Weapons of War Conference. Artifact acccess courtesy Acton Memorial Library

“Every object — no matter how small — plays a part in framing the story of the Revolutionary War,” says Bohy. “Be it a newly found historical document, archaeology, a powder horn, or a musket, each piece helps us to understand the events of that day, and the period in history.”

Bohy’s presentation joins a distinguished lineup of speakers throughout the weekend symposium, made possible by our generous sponsor PRITZKER MILITARY MUSEUM & LIBRARY. register now to attend.