SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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December 18, 2013

Where every day is a tea party

Swampscott's Ford is VP, executive director of museum recognizing historic event

SWAMPSCOTT — If the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party becomes a national holiday, or at least a day when Greater Boston hotels, convention centers and restaurants swell to mark the occasion, you will have Swampscott resident Shawn Ford to thank.

On Monday, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum and the Old South Meeting House were once again witness to the Boston Tea Party, only this time it was a re-enactment of the tea-dumping event that took place on Dec. 16, 1773, exactly 240 years ago.

The destruction of the East India Company’s tea supply by the Sons of Liberty — a protest of the Tea Act — was considered an act of treason, Ford said, an event credited with sparking the American Revolution.

On Monday, Ford was at the forefront of planning for the anniversary celebration.

At 50, he has risen from being a trolley conductor with Old Town Trolley Tours to vice president and executive director of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, a for-profit business owned and operated by Key West, Fla.-based Historic Tours of America Inc.

Historic Tours of America also runs tours and operates sites in Key West; Washington, D.C.; St. Augustine, Fla.; Savannah, Ga.; and San Diego, Calif.

Ford is a 26-year employee with the entertainment company, He created its international and domestic sales department, representing the company in the tour and travel industry. He’s also the past president of the Boston chapter of SKAL, the international association of travel and tourism professionals, and he has served on numerous tourist industry boards and commissions.

A native of Lexington with a love of history, Ford moved to Lynn in 1987, working for Old Town Trolley Tours, which is part of Historic Tours of America. He later moved to Swampscott.

The Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum opened in 1973 to kick off the start of the nation’s bicentennial celebration. Back then, the museum, run by Boston Tea Party Ships Inc., charged admission of $1 for adults and 50 cents for children, Ford said.

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