Painting the Cannon

Located adjacent to Ballou Hall, Tufts has a replica of “Old Ironsides,” an original cannon from the USS Constitution. The cannon was gifted to the university in 1956 by the city of Medford and the Medford Historical Society. 

There has been a long tradition of students painting the cannon to commemorate a moment (such as graduation), promote a student group or team, or just for fun. In the past, the cannon has also been painted by members of the Medford community.

While there are few specific rules about painting the cannon, the tradition has evolved organically over the decades. The cannon is painted after dark.

The university does not allow students to paint anything other than the cannon itself. For example, you cannot paint the adjacent trees or walkways. In addition, hate speech or offensive language are not allowed.

While painting the cannon is a valued tradition, we ask you to carefully consider your choice of messages and their timing in the context of what may be happening on campus, religious holidays, or world events. Please be mindful of the impact your message will have on others.