My favorite museums. Had to narrow it down to ten, which is tough to do–as there are many more. What are yours?
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has a terrific new American wing–showcasing the work of Paul Revere, John Singleton Copley, John Singer Sargent, as well as works by Monet (one of the largest collections in the world), Rembrandt,and, of course, the mummies.
Commonwealth Museum at the State Archives Where else can you see the 1629 and 1691 charters, an original copy of the Bill of Rights, the Massachusetts Constitution, and the original copper plate Paul Revere used to print “The Boston Massacre?” This is a great place for field trips, too–the Secretary of the Commonwealth will provide one bus for every school in Massachusetts, every year-so bring your family and bring your students! And it’s Free!
Boston Public Library You may think it’s all about books, but this is one of Boston’s
greatest treasures! See murals by Chavannes and Edwin Austin Abbey and John Singer Sargent, the greatest map collection in the United States, collections of marionettes and printing presses, John Adams’s book collection–and if you think Gutzon Borglum only carved Mount Rushmore, come see his memorial to Sacco and Vanzetti.
Massachusetts Historical Society Yes, the oldest historical society in the United States (founded 1791) is where scholars do their work, with the papers of John and Abigail, John Quincy Adams, Cotton Mather, and the private papers of Thomas Jefferson, but it also has collections from the 19th (see its Civil War holdings!) and 20th centuries. And they periodically put on unique exhibits from these extraordinary collections.
Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists How about this great art museum in Roxbury, with treasures from around the world–and modern art by some of America’s leading artists?
The USS CONSTITUTION Museum tells the story of the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat. In the Museum you can fire a cannon, swing in a hammock, and learn about building sailing on this great warship. Free–with a donation!
MIT Museum is a quirky place–fun, accessible, and a great place to explore the wonders of the mind. How do they think of these things?
John Adams National Park A short ride by T in the neighboring city of Quincy, visit the birth
places of 2 Presidents (John and John Quincy Adams), the mansion house Abigail expanded, the summer home of America’s greatest historian, and the first Presidential Library in the country.
The Old State House in the center of Boston, is the oldest public building in Boston (built 1713), and was the political center of colonial and Revolutionary Boston. Sit in the Governor’s Chair in the newly-refurbished Council Chamber, and feel the pressure of public opposition.
Metropolitan Waterworks Museum tells the story of Boston’s water supply. See the machinery that made clean drinking water a reality for Bostonians.
Shirley-Eustis House The home of two governors–William Shirley and William Eustis, in case you thought Shirley Eustis was the resident here. This mansion inspired George Washington to redo Mount Vernon, Lafayette stayed here, now there is elegance and fun for kids–and every Fall there is a Harry Potter festival, with Quidditch on the lawn!
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum How about a Venetian palace plunked down on the Fenway by one of Boston’s most unique characters, with masterpieces of European art assembled by one of the leading art critics? Here it is–Mrs. Gardner’s masterpiece.
Boston Fire Museum is a great place for kids–down the street from the Children’s Museum, this Boston fire house is filled with equipment–fire engines, signalling equipment–and staffed by retired firefighters!