Boston Art Commission

Dear Boston: Messages from the Marathon Memorial



Location: Boston Public Library  


Boston Public Library
United States
42° 20' 58.7364" N, 71° 4' 37.5636" W


Time Frame: Monday, April 7, 2014 - Sunday, May 11, 2014


The tragic events of April 15th, 2013 resulted immediately in an outpouring of support by first responders, runners, the local community and well-wishers from around the world. 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, the Boston Art Commission, the New England Museum Association, and the 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.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will open its doors on Saturday, April 19, 2014 for a free To Boston With Love Community Day—an opportunity for families in Boston and beyond to enjoy a day of art and fellowship. The Institute of Contemporary Art will also host a free day on Tuesday, April 15th. 

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

« Back to Top