I highlz recommend to visit, besides of course the Museum of Fine Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which holds a very interesting collection made mostly by Isabella Stewart Gardner. The Museum was established in 1903 by Isabella Stewart Gardner herself, who was an art collector and philantropist. The Museum is situated in front of the Museum of Fine Arts in the beautiful region of Fenway in Boston. The Renaissance Palaces of Venice served as a model for the house of the Museum. Absolutely worth a visit!
The beach is just below the memorial to President John F. Kennedy. There is a play area for children off to the side. From the memorial you are looking out at the waters Kennedy sailed .... and so dearly loved.
The Museum of Science is located in Science Park which straddles the Charles River atop an inactive flood-control barrier at the mouth of the river. It was arguably the first museum in the country dedicated solely to science.
What is now the Museum of Science was established in 1830 as the Boston Society of Natural History. In 1864, the museum purchased and moved into a building in the Back Bay district of Boston and was renamed the New England Museum of Natural History. The museum acquired its current name in 1939.
The building in which the Museum of Science is presently housed was built between 1948 and 1951. The Charles Hayden Planetarium was completed in 1958. The building also underwent major expansions in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Museum of Science is oriented toward families with children. More than 1,000 interactive exhibits and daily live shows covering life sciences and the natural world, technology and engineering, earth and space sciences, nanotechnology and nanomedicine, and current science and technology are designed to teach children and adults about scientific principles.
The museum also boasts the Magar Omni IMAX Theatre (the only domed IMAX screen in New England), the 3-D Digital Cinema, Boston's Computer Museum, and the Charles Hayden Planetarium.
The Make Way for Ducklings sculpture depicts a duck, Mrs. Mallard, and her trailing brood of eight ducklings. It is based on Robert McCloskey's classic children's story of the same name.
Published in 1941, Make Way for Ducklings tells the story of a family of mallards who made their home in the busy and crowded heart of Boston. Mrs. Mallard led her ducklings from their nest site on an island in the Charles River to meet Mr. Mallard in the Public Garden. Their route took them through downtown Boston across many busy streets where they were in danger of being run over by cars. Michael the policeman stepped in to help the ducks by stopping traffic so they could cross the street, and soon much of the Boston police force was involved in seeing the duck family safely to the park.
The bronze sculpture was sculpted by Nancy Schön. Set in cobblestone, the sculpture spans 35 feet (11 meters) from front to back. It was installed in 1987 in the Public Garden where the story happily ended. Since it was installed, the sculpture has not needed professional polishing because children sit on and touch each of the ducks so often that they remain in a polished state.
In 1991, a replica of the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture was installed in Novodevichy Park in Moscow as a gift from American First Lady Barbara Bush to the Soviet First Lady Raisa Gorbachev.
The 24-acre (ten-hectare) Public Garden is the largest and most popular park in downtown Boston. It was created on land that had been formed when the Charles River mudflats were filled in the 1830s.
In 1837, Boston philanthropist Horace Gray petitioned the city to offer the land for what would be the first botanical garden in the United States. There was much political opposition to the plan because several city councilmen wanted to sell the land. However, in 1856 after much political wrangling, Gray was finally able to convince the city to agree to offer the land for a public park.
Construction on the new park began in 1859 and was completed in 1862 when the wrought-iron fence surrounding the park's perimeter was finished. There was a succession of landscape plans submitted before the city finally chose the English-style garden theme designed by George Meacham. His plan included a pond, paths winding through the trees, and a number of fountains and statues. The paths and flower beds were laid out by city engineer James Slade and forester John Galvin.
Nowadays, the park offers green lawns, landscaped flower beds, native and exotic trees, walking trails, fountains, statues, sculptures, and a pond. Since 1877, the four-acre (two-hectare) pond has been the site of the famous Swan Boats. These boats can be hired by tourists and are ornamented with a huge swan in the rear in which a tour guide sits while pedaling the boat around the pond.
The Public Garden has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
Located in a brick-paved park leading from Hanover Street to the Old North Church, James Rego Square is more popularly called Paul Revere Mall for its equestrian statue of the American patriot. The square was laid out in 1933 in an alleyway between Hanover Street and Unity Street. The focal point of this pleasant tree-lined open area is Cyrus Dallin's equestrian statue of Paul Revere. The statue was originally modeled in 1885, but was not sculpted until 1940.
Bronze bas-relief plaques set in the bricks of the square's side walls commemorate North End residents who played important roles in the history of Boston.
The land on which James Rego Square is located was once a pasture owned by Christopher Stanley. Upon his death in 1641, he donated a parcel of land to the City of Boston for a free school, thus becoming the first private benefactor of public education in Boston.
What is now Saint Stephen's Church was originally called the New North Church. It was constructed between 1802 and 1804 for the New North Religious Society, a Congregationalist group.
The church was designed by Charles Bulfinch in the Early Republic style of architecture, and is the last remaining church in Boston designed by him. The first church bell ever cast by patriot and metalworker Paul Revere (who made 200 church bells during his career) was hung in the church's belfry.
The New North Church was initially a Congregationalist church and later became a Unitarian church. In 1862, it was taken over by Boston's expanding Roman Catholic community, and was renamed Saint Stephen's Church.
In 1890, Rose Fitzgerald, who was later to become Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the mother of the President of the United States, was baptized in the church. Her funeral was held there in 1995.
Saint Stephen's Church has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The North End is where the city of Boston was first settled in 1630, and is the city's oldest residential neighborhood. The neighborhood's architecture spans from the 1630s through the early 1900s, although late nineteenth-century tenement buildings (now restored and gentrified) predominate. Many of Boston's most important historical buildings and monuments are located among the colonial streets of the North End, including the Blackstone Block, the Paul Revere House, Saint Stephen's Church, James Rego Square, and the Old North Church.
The historic buildings and monuments can be seen by following the Freedom Trail, a set course through the streets of Boston that highlights the city's colonial and revolutionary past. The trail is marked by a line of bricks embedded in the sidewalk along the way. Maps of the Freedom Trail are available which explain the sights.
The Blackstone Block is the only remnant of what was once Boston's oldest neighborhood, dating back to the seventeenth century. It used to be close to the waterfront before landfill projects filled in much of Boston Harbor.
This is the only area in Boston that contains remnants of the city's original street plan, including a seventeenth-century lane that is no more than six feet (two meters) wide. The neighborhood's main streets, Union, Hanover, and North (originally called Ann) streets, are among the first laid out in Boston. Many of the streets have been restored to their original condition and are paved with cobblestones, granite slabs, or bricks. The old alleyways have been converted into pedestrian walkways.
The oldest building in the Blackstone Block dates from 1714, and has housed the famous Union Oyster House (seen on the left by enlarging the picture) since 1826. The Union Oyster House is renowned for its original mahogany raw oyster bar, and its political clientele, including then-Congressman John F. Kennedy.
The district's most famous resident was Benjamin Franklin, who grew up near Union and Hanover streets, where his father ran a candleworks.
The Quincy Market was constructed between 1824 and 1826 as an indoor pavilion to house vendor stalls that had formerly occupied space in the Faneuil Hall produce and meat markets. The market was organized by (and named after) then-mayor Josiah Quincy because demand for commercial space outgrew the capacity of Faneuil Hall.
The market building was designed by architect Alexander Parris in the Greek Revival style of architecture. Each end of the building features triangular pediments and Doric columns. The exterior is of granite, and the interior walls are of red brick. The building is supported by cast-iron columns and iron tension rods. The two-story market building is 535 feet (163 meters) long and has 27,000 square feet (2,508 square meters) of space.
The Quincy Market was initially used mainly by produce vendors, but there were also grocers specializing in such goods as eggs, cheese, and bread. There is evidence that butchers may have occupied parts of the building as well.
However, as modern supermarkets began to appear across Boston, the vendors in the Quincy Market lost a substantial amount of business, and they closed one by one. After the markets were closed, the building fell into disrepair. However, it underwent a major restoration and reopened in 1976 as part of the larger Faneuil Hall Marketplace, a shopping and dining complex that is one of the most popular attractions in downtown Boston. The area is characterized by many expensive boutiques, art galleries, specialty shops, pubs, and restaurants.
The Quincy Market has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Old State House seems out of place among the towering skyscrapers of Boston's Financial District. The oldest surviving public building in Boston, the Old State House was the seat of the British colonial government from 1713 to 1776, the seat of the Massachusetts state legislature between 1776 and 1798, and served as Boston's city hall from 1830 to 1841.
The Georgian-style Old State House was constructed between 1712 and 1713 to replace the former Town House which burned in a fire in 1711. Although the architect is unknown, there is some evidence that the building may have been designed by architect Robert Twelves.
In 1770, the Boston Massacre took place in front of the Old State House. A crowd had gathered to protest unpopular taxes imposed by the British Crown, and after a scuffle, British soldiers shot into the crowd, killing five civilians and injuring six others. This was one of the events that eventually led to the American Revolutionary War. But the most famous event ever to take place at the building occurred in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was read to cheering crowds by Colonel Thomas Crafts from the balcony on the east side of the building.
After independence, the Massachusetts legislature took possession of the building, which served as the state capitol until 1798 when the legislature moved to the present Massachusetts State House. Between 1830 and 1841, the Old State House served as Boston's city hall and also contained the city's post office and private businesses.
Between 1841 and 1881, the building was rented out for commercial use, and housed tailors' shops, clothing merchants, insurance agencies, railroad offices, a produce market, a merchants' exchange, and a Masonic hall.
After 1881, the Old State House was slated to be torn down. However, it was taken over by the Bostonian Society, a preservation group, and saved from demolition. It was completely renovated at that time by preservationist George Clough. Nowadays, the Old State House is run as a history museum by the Bostonian Society.
The Old State House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Massachusetts State House sits at the top of Beacon Hill and has served as the capitol of Massachusetts since 1798. It houses the Massachusetts General Court (the state legislature), the office of the governor, and the offices of various state employees and agencies.
Construction on the state house started in 1795 and was completed in 1798. The Federal-style building was designed by Charles Bulfinch, Boston's prominent architect at the time. His design was inspired by both the Somerset House and the Pantheon in London. And the design of this building later served as a model for the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., as well as for many other state capitol buildings across the nation.
The original wooden dome leaked, so in 1802 it was covered in copper. Then in 1874, the dome was painted gray and then light yellow before being covered in gold leaf. The dome serves as the zero-mile marker for distances measured in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts State House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
Officially called the Christ Episcopal Church, the Old North Church is the oldest surviving religious structure in Boston. It belongs to the parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
The church was designed by architect William Price, and was built in 1723 in the Georgian style of architecture. The design was inspired by many of the churches in London that were built by Sir Christopher Wren.
The church's steeple has been replaced twice. The original steeple was destroyed by a storm in 1804. Its 175-foot (53-meter) replacement was designed by architect Charles Bulfinch. That steeple toppled during a hurricane in 1954. The new steeple is an exact replica of Bulfinch's steeple, and it retains the original weathervane.
One of the most important events in American history took place at this church. On April 18, 1775, at the request of Paul Revere, the church's sexton, Robert Newman, and two other patriots hung two lanterns in the the church's belfry to warn patriots in Charlestown of the departure of British troops to Lexington and Concord. The lanterns were lit for less than one minute so as not to be noticed by the British. One lantern was to be lit if the British forces were to march on Charlestown by land, and two were to be lit if the British were to reach Charlestown by taking boats across the Charles River. The words that have become part of the American lexicon, "one if by land, and two if by sea" relate to this event and come from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride.
There is a plaque on the front of the Old North Church commemorating this event which reads: "The signal lanterns of Paul Revere displayed in the steeple of this church, April 18, 1775, warned the country of the march of the British troops to Lexington and Concord".
The Old North Church has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
The New England Aquarium opened in 1969 and is housed in a 75,000-square-foot (6,968-square-meter) building that was designed by architect Peter Chermayeff. Since it opened, there have been several major additions to the building to accommodate more exhibits. The aquarium features 20,000 animals of 600 different species, including fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, crustaceans, mollusks, and corals.
The main feature of the New England Aquarium is its 200,000-gallon (757,082-liter), four-story Giant Ocean Tank in the building's atrium. A curving walkway runs around the outside of the tank from top to bottom, allowing visitors to observe sea life at various levels. The tank contains a Caribbean coral reef and many species of ocean animals, the most visible of which are sharks, sea turtles, moray eels, and barracudas.
Surrounding the atrium are three levels of smaller exhibits which include freshwater fish from South America and New England, creatures of the northern waters including lobsters and octopus, tropical fish and coral reefs, jellyfish, sea birds, and a tidal pool where visitors can touch starfish, sea urchins, snails, hermit crabs, and horseshoe crabs.
The New England Aquarium also features a penguin colony and an outdoor tank with a group of harbor seals that can be seen for free without entering the aquarium.
Visitors to the aquarium can also see movies with ocean themes in the 428-seat IMAX Theatre and go on the New England Aquarium Whale Watch cruises that are operated from April through November.
Faneuil Hall was a gift to the City of Boston from the wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil as a public market and meeting hall.
The original two-story building was constructed between 1740 and 1742. It was designed by architect John Smibert in the style of an Engish country market, with an open ground floor containing arcades for shops, and an enclosed assembly room on the second floor. The building burned in 1761 and was rebuilt in 1762 is the same style.
In 1805, Faneuil Hall was greatly expanded by architect Charles Bulfinch. He rebuilt it in the Georgian style of architecture and doubled the building's height and width, added a third floor, and enclosed the open arcades.
As early as 1763, Faneuil Hall was the site of speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others to encourage the American colonies to declare their independence from the oppressive British colonial government. Because of these speeches, and especially those of Samuel Adams, the building has been nicknamed the "Cradle of Liberty."
Faneuil Hall has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.
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