Category Archives: Museums

East India Marine Hall (1825)

East India Marine Hall

East India Marine Hall, on Essex Street in Salem, was constructed in 1824-1825 by the East India Marine Society. The Society had been founded in 1799 as a charitable and educational organization whose membership consisted of ship masters or supercargos who had sailed around either Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope. The Society also maintained a library and a museum, called a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities.” The Society rented rooms in the Stearns Block from 1799 to 1804 and, needing more space for its growing collections, in the Salem Bank Building from 1804 to 1825. Again needing more space, the Society moved into the new East India Marine Hall, which was dedicated on October 14, 1825. The building was designed by architect Thomas Waldron Summer. In 1867 the society deposited its collections with the newly established Peabody Academy of Science which also bought the East India Marine Hall. Additions were been made the the Hall over the years as the institution grew into today’s Peabody Essex Museum, but East India Marine Hall has maintained its original appearance. The building’s grand banquet hall is available to rent for events.

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Posted in Federal, Greek Revival, Museums, Organizations, Salem | Comments Off

Dennison Schoolhouse Replica (1946)

In 1946, Old Sturbridge Village built a replica of an 1849 schoolhouse. It stood on the Common, where the Thompson Bank is now located. In 1963, it was moved elsewhere in the Village, where it is now used for historical performances and special programs. The original Dennison Schoolhouse, on Dennison Lane in Southbridge, is now a private residence.

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Abbot Hall (1876)

Happy New Year from Historic Buildings of Massachusetts!!! Rising up over Marblehead is one of the town’s most notable landmarks, Abbot Hall, which serves as town hall and also as a museum. Abbot Hall was built through a bequest of Benjamin Abbot (1795-1872), who was born in Marblehead and became wealthy through his cooper business in Boston. In 1875, the town voted to accept his $100,000 bequest and to follow his wishes that part of the legacy be devoted to building Abbot Hall. As related in The History and Traditions of Marblehead (1881), by Samuel Roads, Jr.:

The selection of a site for the new building had for some time occupied the attention of the people, and various localities were strongly advocated through the columns of the local paper. On Saturday, May 22, a town meeting was held for the choice of a site, and a majority of the citizens voted in favor of the Common. Several meetings were held for the election of a building committee, and Messrs. James J. H. Gregory, Simeon Dodge, Moses Gilbert, Henry F. Pitman, and Thomas Appleton were chosen by a majority vote.

In December, the town voted to appropriate $75,000 of the Abbot fund for the erection of the building, and the, committee were instructed to proceed with the work. The opponents of the site chosen by the town, though in the minority, were active and determined in their antagonism; and when, in the spring of 1876, ground was broken on the Common for the erection of the building, a bill in equity was filed in the supreme judicial court to restrain the committee from further proceedings. The bill was based principally on the claim that the town had no legal right to erect the hall on the Common, as the land was the property of the commoners of Marblehead.

The case was tried on Monday, April 17, before Associate Justice Ames, of the supreme judicial court. Hon. Ebenezer R. Hoar appeared as counsel for the town, and Mr. S. B. Ives, Jr., for the petitioners. A decision was rendered in favor of the town, the petitioners being unable to prove an adverse title.

The cornerstone was laid July 25, 1876 and the building, designed by Lord & Fuller of Boston (who also designed the Saugus Town Hall), was dedicated December 12, 1877. Abbot Hall, located at 188 Washington Street, has a historical collection in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room which includes the original version of the painting “The Spirit of ’76” by Archibald M. Willard and the 1684 deed to Marblehead from the tribe of Nanepashemet. The building has a clock tower with a Bell, installed in 1876 and cast by Meneely & Kimberly in Troy, New York.

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Posted in Marblehead, Museums, Public Buildings, Romanesque Revival | Tagged | Comments Off

Bullard Tavern, Old Sturbridge Village (1946)

Although surrounded by eighteenth and nineteenth century period buildings, Bullard Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village was built in 1946-1947. Although resembling an early New England house or tavern, it was not designed as a strictly accurate historical reproduction. Bullard Tavern was built as a service building, originally intended to provide visitor amenities and exhibit space, but it soon became a restaurant. The woodwork in the Tavern’s Tap Room was salvaged from an eighteenth-century house in Brooklyn, Connecticut.

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Posted in Colonial Revival, Museums, Sturbridge | Tagged , | Comments Off

Memorial Hall Museum, Deerfield (1799)

Memorial Hall

Deerfield Academy was founded in 1797 and a brick building, designed by Asher Benjamin, was built to house the school in 1799. The Academy later expanded and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association purchased the old school building in 1877. The building was renovated and opened in 1880 as the Memorial Hall Museum, displaying a collection of objects gathered by antiquarian George Sheldon. Memorial Hall continues today as a museum of Deerfield history and an adjacent building houses the libraries of the PVMA and Historic Deerfield.

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Springfield Science Museum (1899)

The curiosities collection of the Springfield Museums, which goes back to 1859, was at first housed in City Hall and then in the City Library. It was later displayed in the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum‘s Hall of Ethnology. This collection soon grew so large that a seperate building was constructed in 1899. Originally established as the Springfield Ethnological and Natural History Museum, it is now the Springfield Science Museum.

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Posted in Museums, Neoclassical, Springfield | Tagged | 3 Comments

George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum (1895)

The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is one of the four (soon to be five) Springfield Museums. The Springfield Museums Association traces its origins to the varied collections of the Springfield City Library Association, gathered in the nineteenth century. Money was raised to construct a seperate art museum building after the association was promised, in 1886, the vast collection of George Walter Vincent Smith and his Springfield-born wife, Belle Townsley Smith. A wealthy carriage manufacturer, Smith had settled in Springfield in 1871 and focused on collecting Asian decorative arts, American and Italian paintings, rugs and textiles. The museum, completed in 1895, was designed to resemble an Italian villa. The ashes of the Smiths are interred inside a wall on the second floor of the museum.

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Posted in Museums, Renaissance Revival, Springfield | Tagged | Comments Off