Boston has a very long and rich history, being one of the first places settled by the British, a major hub for the American Revolution, and now a bustling metropolitan area, it always has something new to discover. Luckily, within this beautiful city, some of that incredible history has been preserved and can still be experienced today.
When talking about places with rich history, the Back Bay neighborhood surely comes to mind; Here, many buildings are protected from major renovations that would change their victorian style, or from being torn down, making a walk through its streets a romantic visit to our past.
Over time, as Boston grows and expands, some of the buildings of this neighborhood have been under threat, however, many residents and various associations have been working to preserve its history. Interestingly, even before most people were conscious of the beauty here, Charles Hammond Gibson Jr. decided to turn his family home into a museum and hang onto this history, creating what is today one of the best-preserved houses of its kind.
A hidden gem, right in the center of Back Bay, The Gibson House offers a unique look into how this neighborhood came to be, and how history, diversity and inclusion make for a wonderful community that anyone would like to be a part of.
The Gibson House Museum is a pure snapshot in time from life in the 1860s to the 1930s, founded by Charles, the last inhabitant and grandson of the original builder, it now offers people a chance to really see what life was like in this time period. Everything from the old almost-untouched dining room, to the iconic leather wallpaper, and the study of Charles himself will transport you to another time.
The museum has also housed scenes from the movie Little Woman, and offers invaluable insight into the past through research done on its many antique documents and items that remain.
The mission of The Gibson House Museum is not only to preserve this history, but to dig deeper and learn more about our past, all while helping to promote inclusion and diversity by understanding Boston’s history through the eyes of not only the upper-middle class families that settled here, but of their servants, and of LGBQT+ groups of the past and present, especially as they continue to learn more about how important the gay community was in the early preservation of Boston.
Learn more in the interview with Susan Ashbrook, who is a former art history professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, a long-time Back Bay resident, and board member of The Gibson House.
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