Boston Marathon exhibit at Faneuil Hall examines the renowned race’s roots

Best of Boston employee Sara Arboleda looks at a copy of "Young at Heart" at a new Boston Marathon exhibit at Faneuil Hall. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Best of Boston employee Sara Arboleda looks at a copy of “Young at Heart” at a new Boston Marathon exhibit at Faneuil Hall.

A partnership between Faneuil Hall Marketplace and The Sports Museum will offer tourists and locals alike the opportunity to learn more about the Boston Marathon’s place in history. 

“Boston: America’s Greatest Marathon,” a free exhibit chronicling the history of the famous race, is now open to the public at Best of Boston in the North Market Building.

“We’re always looking for ways to entertain, enhance, romance and give back, and thus birthed the idea for this special exhibit,” said Al Shameklis, President and COO of Color Inc., which owns Best of Boston.

“We knew The Sports Museum had the content and we had the space.”

Trophies, medals, marathon bibs, posters, Wheaties boxes photographs, yellow tulips and scrapbooks are just some of the artifacts representing notable moments from the early days of the Boston Marathon, which began in 1897, to the present day. It includes memories of the World War years, Johnny Kelley’s first run in 1928 – as well as his 60 additional races – the inclusion of female runners in the 1960s, and runners with disabilities in the 1970s.

The exhibit culminates with tributes to last year’s fatal bombings, and also offers a backdrop of the Boylston Street finish line so visitors can pose for photographs.

The artifacts are on display at The Sports Museum’s TD Garden location year-round, according to museum curator Richard Johnson, who considers the city’s marathon one of the greatest sporting events in the world.

Johnson, who co-wrote “Young at Heart: The Story of Johnny Kelley,” a biography of the beloved marathon champion. He lovingly, refers to the marathon as “the people’s race,” and said he expects this year’s marathon to be one of the great days of Boston history.

“The 2013 race was the scene of unspeakable loss as well as the remarkable performance of first responders to the site of the Boylston Street bombings,” said Johnson.

“In the wake of this tragedy both Boston and the running community galvanized more than ever before as millions were raised to aid the victims and plans were made to ensure Boston would remain the greatest road race on the planet. It is our hope this exhibit from The Sports Museum at TD Garden captures a measure of the history and triumphant spirit attendant to this great race.”

The free exhibit will continue throughout the summer.

Some events happening at Faneuil Hall Marketplace during Marathon Weekend:

Saturday, April 19
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Easter egg hunt
12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Band Concerts starting at 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. featuring Reverse Order and The Sugarbabies Band. Both bands have written songs to commemorate the tragic bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon.
11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Faneuil Hall Merchants will host a Sidewalk Sale

Sunday, April 20
11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Faneuil Hall Merchants will host a Sidewalk Sale

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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