The West End Museum

The West End Museum We preserve and celebrate the history of Boston's West End, through exhibits, events, and more.
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The West End Museum is a neighborhood museum located at 150 Staniford Street, in Boston, Massachusetts in a 4000 square foot space on the ground floor of West End Place (and Lomasney Way). The primary purpose of the West End Museum is to operate and maintain a neighborhood museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of the history and culture of the West End of Boston. The

Museum acknowledges its role as an educational institution and a trustee of significant material culture. Exhibitions:

"The Last Tenement" (permanent exhibit)

http://thewestendmuseum.org/exhibitions/the-last-tenement/

Fall 2015 Exhibitions:

Dewey Defeats Truman/The Housing Act of 1949

http://thewestendmuseum.org/mc-events/exhibition-dewey-defeats-trumanthe-housing-act-of-1949/


Indelebile Italia by Giselle Valdes

http://thewestendmuseum.org/exhibitions/exhibition-indelebile-italia-by-giselle-valdes/

Urban renewal projects, like that in the the West End, have long promised to revitalize aging urban areas, create econom...
12/02/2023

Urban renewal projects, like that in the the West End, have long promised to revitalize aging urban areas, create economic opportunities, and improve living conditions for residents. Despite these intentions, urban renewal has also resulted in false promises, the physical destruction of neighborhoods, and forced removal of residents. Such negative impacts have resulted in social isolation, lost social connections, and loneliness.

To read this week's WEM article, "Urban Renewal and Social Isolation," please use this link: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/modern/urban-renewal-and-social-isolation/https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/modern/urban-renewal-and-social-isolation/

From the Archives: Lowell Square Protest, 1992.From the Jim Campano Collection at The West End Museum.
11/30/2023

From the Archives: Lowell Square Protest, 1992.

From the Jim Campano Collection at The West End Museum.

11/28/2023

This Giving Tuesday, please consider helping WEM meet our goal to welcome back visitors in March 2024.

Help us start this next chapter for the West End and build a story of actual renewal, bringing new learning, new connections and community, and a new home for the West End’s legacy.

So far, over $1,000,000 have been contributed to help the Museum rebuild, as represented by the filled in portions of the Union Station blueprint. We’ve already come a long way, but completing the grand archway is up to you.

Let’s make this ReUnion together – story by story, brick by brick.

To give, please use this link: https://westendmuseum-bloom.kindful.com/?campaign=1270094&blm_aid=0

We preserve and celebrate the history of Boston's West End, through exhibits, events, and more.

As emancipated men, women, and children migrated north after the Civil War, the need for Black boarding houses increased...
11/25/2023

As emancipated men, women, and children migrated north after the Civil War, the need for Black boarding houses increased greatly. In the West End, on the north slope of Beacon Hill, a large concentration of Black, women-operated boarding houses became home for many of these newly-freed people.

To read the rest of this week's WEM article, "The Freedmen's Bureau," please use this link: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/west-boston/the-freedmens-bureau/

From the Archives: Postcard of the new North Station waiting room, c. 1930.
11/22/2023

From the Archives: Postcard of the new North Station waiting room, c. 1930.

From the Archives: Burroughs Newsboys Foundation Credit Union, 1944.The Burroughs Newsboys Foundation was the brainchild...
11/16/2023

From the Archives: Burroughs Newsboys Foundation Credit Union, 1944.

The Burroughs Newsboys Foundation was the brainchild of Boston lawyer and philanthropist, Harry E. Burroughs. Burroughs designed the Foundation along the lines of a settlement house, focused on providing the city’s 4,000 young newsboys and other street vendors with the opportunity to develop basic practical skills (e.g. trade skills, financial management, civic studies). They also provided health, education, and recreation support. The organization’s motto was: “To strive, study, and save.”

This month's West End Walking Tour will be on Saturday, November 25th. The tour traces a circle around the neighborhood ...
11/14/2023

This month's West End Walking Tour will be on Saturday, November 25th. The tour traces a circle around the neighborhood while discussing the people and places that have impacted it over the past four centuries, from settlement through to modern times.

For tickets, please use this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/west-end-walking-tours-tickets-480167593197

Boarding Houses played an important role in the housing system during the age of industrialization and immigration in Bo...
11/11/2023

Boarding Houses played an important role in the housing system during the age of industrialization and immigration in Boston and the West End. Along with lodging and rooming houses, they were the only alternative for those in need of affordable and transitional living space in the neighborhood until the arrival of tenements and apartment buildings. Boarding houses also offered women of the period one of the few ways to earn a decent income.

To read the rest of this week's WEM article, "Boarding Houses in the West End," use this link: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/immigrant-neighborhood/boarding-houses-in-the-west-end/

Image: Otis House during its lodging house years (Historic New England).

From the Archives: The Old Howard as it burned on June 20, 1961.
11/09/2023

From the Archives: The Old Howard as it burned on June 20, 1961.

In 1985, The West Ender was founded by displaced residents of the West End. Each issue was filled with their memories an...
11/06/2023

In 1985, The West Ender was founded by displaced residents of the West End. Each issue was filled with their memories and reflections. Here they were able to maintain, what Jim Campano described as, the “neighborhood of the mind,” in the absence of the physical West End.

The Museum has digitized our collection of The West Ender newsletter. It can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1MfVN5mUWENZ1ZyK6e5hmdukAry8Jvzho?usp=share_link

Other digitized photographic collections can be found here: https://thewestendmuseum.org/archives/

Every year, The West End Museum honors a few people who have made meaningful and lasting contributions to the neighborho...
11/04/2023

Every year, The West End Museum honors a few people who have made meaningful and lasting contributions to the neighborhood and the city of Boston. At this year’s West End Heritage Honoree Night, to be held on December 8th, we celebrate four individuals who have had a significant impact on the West End community: Richie Hartnett, Claudia and Stephen Edgell, and Cathleen Griffin.

Join us in celebrating our Honorees. Light refreshments will be served.

To read our Honorees' bios and reserve tickets, please use this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/west-end-heritage-honoree-night-tickets-749913851517

From the Archives: West End House Debating Team, 1930-31.
11/02/2023

From the Archives: West End House Debating Team, 1930-31.

On November 29th, join the Jewish Book Council, the West End Museum, and the Boston Public Library for a children's book...
10/30/2023

On November 29th, join the Jewish Book Council, the West End Museum, and the Boston Public Library for a children's book reading of The Boston Chocolate Party. Written by Tami Lehman-Wilzig and Rabbi Deborah Prinz and illustrated by Fede Combi, The Boston Chocolate Party follows a Sephardic Jewish family. Set against the backdrop of Hanukkah and the American fight for independence, it is a story of friendship, freedom, and a love of chocolate.

The event, which will take place during the 98th Annual Jewish Book Month, pays homage to F***y Goldstein (1895-1961), the first woman to direct a branch library in Massachusetts, the West End Branch Library. She was also the founder of Jewish Book Week, which later evolved into Jewish Book Month.

Held at the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, the children's book reading will be followed by time for discussion and hands-on craft activities. Don't miss this chance to be a part of a special occasion that celebrates Jewish literature, the West End's history, and the timeless magic of chocolate.

For more information and to sign up, please use this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jewish-book-month-story-time-the-boston-chocolate-party-tickets-741708489057

In September 1886, an unofficial boxing match took place on Staniford Street between two young girls, Lizzie and Mollie....
10/28/2023

In September 1886, an unofficial boxing match took place on Staniford Street between two young girls, Lizzie and Mollie. The bout involved a makeshift ring, drawn-up terms, a referee, and two-hundred young people in a crowd. When a police officer arrived, the fight quickly ended, but the event made front-page news, and linked the West End to a century-old tradition of women and girls’ boxing in 1700s Britain.

To read the rest of this week's WEM article, "Two Girls in the Ring: An Unsanctioned West End Boxing Match," please use this link: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/immigrant-neighborhood/two-girls-in-the-ring-an-unsanctioned-west-end-boxing-match

Photo: Boston Globe headline of the Staniford St. bout.

From the Archives: A police box stands surrounded by rubble during the demolition of the West End, 1958.From the Edgell ...
10/26/2023

From the Archives: A police box stands surrounded by rubble during the demolition of the West End, 1958.

From the Edgell Collection of the West End Museum.

Remember to join us on November 6th for a night of brain-teasing questions and friendly competition! Put your Boston his...
10/23/2023

Remember to join us on November 6th for a night of brain-teasing questions and friendly competition! Put your Boston history knowledge to the test at our first trivia night, held at Causeway Restaurant and Bar.

Sign up with your friends and form a team or join one on the spot. Whether you're a history enthusiast or just looking for a fun night with friends, this event is for everyone. And, the winning team will win a prize from the West End Museum!

To get tickets, please use this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boston-trivia-night-tickets-734816484887

For months, in 1885 and 1886, newspapers reported on a murder conspiracy which rocked the cities of Boston and Baltimore...
10/21/2023

For months, in 1885 and 1886, newspapers reported on a murder conspiracy which rocked the cities of Boston and Baltimore. West End locations played host to both the hatching of the plan to murder Mary (Somerset) Mellen in Baltimore, and the subsequent acts of justice in Boston.

Read this week's WEM article, "The Mellen Murder Conspiracy: A Tale of Two Cities," here: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/immigrant-neighborhood/the-mellen-murder-conspiracy-a-tale-of-two-cities

Image: The Revere House Hotel, Bowdoin Square, c. 1885 (Boston Public Library)

From the Archives: Postcard of Charles Street Jail, 1915.Built in 1851, the Charles Street Jail remained in operation un...
10/19/2023

From the Archives: Postcard of Charles Street Jail, 1915.

Built in 1851, the Charles Street Jail remained in operation until 1990. Throughout this period, the jail housed many infamous inmates, including Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, organized crime boss Wh**ey Bulger, birth control activist William R. Baird Jr., and suffragist Josephine Collins. The building was reopened in 2007 as the Liberty Hotel, which has kept much of the historic structure intact, including the rotunda.

Prominent Boston physician, West End real estate mogul, and socialite George Parkman was seen leaving the grocery store ...
10/16/2023

Prominent Boston physician, West End real estate mogul, and socialite George Parkman was seen leaving the grocery store on a brisk Thursday afternoon in November of 1849. It would be the last time he was seen alive.

There is still space on our October 25th tour for Murders & Mysteries: The West End’s Haunted History! Join us on a Halloween-themed walking tour of the neighborhood.

Tickets can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/murders-mysteries-the-west-ends-haunted-history-tickets-733825932117

Charles River Park is an apartment complex that was built on 45 acres of the historic West End, soon after its demolitio...
10/14/2023

Charles River Park is an apartment complex that was built on 45 acres of the historic West End, soon after its demolition. Jerome Rappaport, Sr., attorney for Charles River Park, Inc. and one of the corporation’s early investors, was politically connected to Mayor John Hynes, whose platform for a “New Boston” was the pretext for urban renewal. The vast majority of West Enders could not afford the luxury apartments that replaced their homes. The first tenants of Charles River Park were offered many modern, communal amenities, intended to attract young professionals and suburban families alike.

The rest of this week's WEM article can be read here: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/new-boston/charles-river-park/

Image: Charles River Park plan (1962)(BRA)

From the Archives: St. Joseph Catholic Church, May 1958.
10/12/2023

From the Archives: St. Joseph Catholic Church, May 1958.

Join us on November 6th for a night of brain-teasing questions and friendly competition! Put your Boston history knowled...
10/09/2023

Join us on November 6th for a night of brain-teasing questions and friendly competition! Put your Boston history knowledge to the test at our first trivia night, held at Causeway Restaurant and Bar.

Sign up with your friends and form a team or join one on the spot. Whether you're a history enthusiast or just looking for a fun night with friends, this event is for everyone. And, the winning team will win a prize from the West End Museum!

To get tickets, please use this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boston-trivia-night-tickets-734816484887

The Temporary Home for Women and Children located on New Chardon Street in Boston’s West End was one of the first family...
10/08/2023

The Temporary Home for Women and Children located on New Chardon Street in Boston’s West End was one of the first family shelters in the country. From its start as a small home on Charles Street, it has cared for women and children in need for over 150 years.

Here, workers could provide food, shelter, and healthcare. The Home also took in abandoned children, many of them newborns found on doorsteps and brought in by a police officer or one of the Overseers. These unknown babies were usually given a last name of the street where they were found. Their approximate age and health status were recorded and attempts were made to locate their parents or family members. For those unclaimed, the Home would attempt to arrange adoptions, using its matrons to verify the qualifications of potential adopting families.

The link to this week's WEM article, "The Temporary Home for Women and Children," can be found here: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/west-boston/the-temporary-home-for-women-and-children

Photo: Report of a recovered abandoned baby in 1927, Boston Globe.

We have added a second date for our Murders & Mysteries tour! If you weren't able to secure tickets in time for our tour...
10/07/2023

We have added a second date for our Murders & Mysteries tour! If you weren't able to secure tickets in time for our tour on October 26th, please join us on the 25th. The link can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/murders-mysteries-the-west-ends-haunted-history-tickets-733825932117?aff=oddtdtcreator

Get ready to embark on a spine-tingling adventure through the spooky past of Boston's West End. Join us on October 25th for a chilling tour, led by museum staff, as we unveil the hidden mysteries and haunted tales of this historic neighborhood.

The tour begins at the West End Museum, located approximately where the infamous Leverett Street Jail once stood. The jail held public hangings, visible from the street and surrounding apartments, and housed many notorious inmates, including John Webster (convicted and hanged for the 1849 murder of George Parkman) and Don Pedro Gilbert (the last pirate executed in Boston). From here, we will wind through the neighborhood and its many eerie tales, from morgues and murders, to grave-diggers and ghosts.

Thank you to everyone who's already donated to support WEM's reconstruction! If you haven't donated yet, please consider...
10/06/2023

Thank you to everyone who's already donated to support WEM's reconstruction! If you haven't donated yet, please consider making a contribution today. Let’s make this ReUnion together – story by story, brick by brick.

https://westendmuseum-bloom.kindful.com/?campaign=1270094

From the Archives: Family picking their way through rubble, probably on the way to church, 1962.From the Charles Frani C...
10/05/2023

From the Archives: Family picking their way through rubble, probably on the way to church, 1962.

From the Charles Frani Collection at the West End Museum.

Get ready to embark on a spine-tingling adventure through the spooky past of Boston's West End. Join us on October 26th ...
10/02/2023

Get ready to embark on a spine-tingling adventure through the spooky past of Boston's West End. Join us on October 26th for a chilling tour, led by museum staff, as we unveil the hidden mysteries and haunted tales of this historic neighborhood.

The tour begins at the West End Museum, located approximately where the infamous Leverett Street Jail once stood. The jail held public hangings, visible from the street and surrounding apartments, and housed many notorious inmates, including John Webster (convicted and hanged for the 1849 murder of George Parkman) and Don Pedro Gilbert (the last pirate executed in Boston). From here, we will wind through the neighborhood and its many eerie tales, from morgues and murders, to grave-diggers and ghosts.

Don't miss this opportunity to delve into the sinister side of the neighborhood's history. To secure tickets and find further information, please use this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/murders-mysteries-the-west-ends-haunted-history-tickets-715453660157?aff=oddtdtcreator

Prominent Boston physician, West End real estate mogul, and socialite George Parkman was seen leaving the grocery store ...
09/30/2023

Prominent Boston physician, West End real estate mogul, and socialite George Parkman was seen leaving the grocery store on a brisk Thursday afternoon in November of 1849. It would be the last time he was seen alive. The search for the missing Parkman and discovery of his dismembered body in a Harvard Medical college basement laboratory shocked Boston. The later arrest and trial of his Harvard colleague, John Webster, garnered feverish attention, both at home and abroad. This week's WEM article, "The Parkman-Webster Murder: A Uniquely Boston Case," explores this event and its connections to class and ethnic conflict. The link to the article can be found here: https://thewestendmuseum.org/history/era/immigrant-neighborhood/the-parkman-webster-murder-a-uniquely-boston-case

Make your contribution to help the Museum start a new chapter, build a story of actual renewal, bring new learning, form...
09/29/2023

Make your contribution to help the Museum start a new chapter, build a story of actual renewal, bring new learning, form new connections, and a create new home for the West End’s legacy. Let’s make this ReUnion together – story by story, brick by brick.

Your financial contribution – of any size – will help us meet our goal to welcome back visitors to the Museum early next year and build up our educational programming.

From the Archives: Leverett Street, May 1958.
09/28/2023

From the Archives: Leverett Street, May 1958.

From the Archives: Postcard of North Union Station on Causeway Street, c. 1900.In 1893, the Boston & Maine Railroad star...
09/21/2023

From the Archives: Postcard of North Union Station on Causeway Street, c. 1900.

In 1893, the Boston & Maine Railroad started the construction of the North Union Station along Causeway Street. Completed in 1894, the station had a monumental neoclassical facade with an 80-foot-high granite triumphal arch. By the 1910s, however, the Boston & Maine had already outgrown the station. North Union Station was demolished in 1927 in favor of the new North Station, which was larger and included the Boston Garden arena.

From the Archives: West End resident and his dog, 1965.After the destruction of the neighborhood's Upper End in 1958 and...
09/18/2023

From the Archives: West End resident and his dog, 1965.

After the destruction of the neighborhood's Upper End in 1958 and 1959, the eastern Lower End, pictured here, was seized and demolished in the 1960s. In the background, the West End Church stands on the right and the State House on the left.

From the Charles Frani Collection at the West End Museum.

Join us on Thursday, September 28th at 6 PM at the West End Museum's exclusive event: Treasures from the West End Museum...
09/14/2023

Join us on Thursday, September 28th at 6 PM at the West End Museum's exclusive event: Treasures from the West End Museum Archives. Experience history interactively as we delve into the captivating stories and artifacts that offer a window into the West End's rich history. Bob Potenza, our Archivist & Curator, will be leading a captivating hands-on discussion on hidden gems from our archives. Through exploration of the illuminatingly detailed 1766 Osgood Carleton map, the beautifully illustrated 1922 Bromley Atlas, the unflinching photographs of the Edgell Collection, and more, you'll have the unique opportunity to connect with history in its raw form. For more information and to get tickets, please use this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/treasures-from-the-west-end-museum-archives-tickets-707041449007?aff=oddtdtcreator

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150 Staniford St
Boston, MA
02114

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