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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Boston Children’s Museum

July 19, 2013 6:00 AM

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Boston Children's Museum

Boston Children’s Museum

This year marks the 100-year anniversary for Boston Children’s Museum. The museum is a Boston landmark and has been hugely successful, but here are five things you don’t know about it.
(Photo Credit: Boston Children's Museum)

(Photo Credit: Boston Children’s Museum)

1. A Couple Of Display Cases

The museum originally opened on August 1, 1913, making it the second oldest children’s museum in the United States. But it hasn’t always been in Fort Point. It was first opened in Jamaica Plain by local teachers who made up the Science Teacher’s bureau. The original museum was made up of two display cases; one devoted to birds, and one devoted to minerals and shells. The museum stayed at its original location until 1935, when it moved to an even bigger mansion on Jamaica Pond. It didn’t land in its current home until 1979.

The Japanese House (Photo from Boston Children's Museum/Facebook)

The Japanese House (Photo from Boston Children’s Museum/Facebook)

2. The Museum’s Fabric

That current home was one of the first buildings constructed by the Boston Wharf Company. At one point, Fort Point was the epicenter of the entire wool trade in the U.S. The building was used as a wool warehouse. And speaking of fabric, less than a year after moving into the new building, the museum was gifted a Japanese silk merchant’s house as a gift from Boston’s Japanese sister city Kyoto. The two-story home remains as an exhibit in the museum and is completely functional.

3. Please Do Not Touch

In the 1960s, with attendance dwindling, the museum ditched its traditional glass case displays, removed the “Do Not Touch” signs of the old days and transformed into a pioneer of hands-on exhibits. A revolutionary model at the time, this approach is now used in museums across the globe.

Hood Milk Bottle delivered to Boston Harbor  1977. (Photo credit: Boston Children's Museum)

Hood Milk Bottle delivered to Boston Harbor 1977. (Photo credit: Boston Children’s Museum)

4. The Hood Milk Bottle Holds How Much?The Hood Milk Bottle that now stands in front of Boston Children’s Museum has had a storied journey. Originally born in 1933 as part of an ice cream stand on Route 44 in Taunton, it made its way to its current location in 1977. In 1977 it underwent repairs in Quincy before making its way through the Boston Harbor to be delivered to its current home. The bottle is about 40 feet tall and 18 feet in diameter and weighs 15,000 pounds. If it were an actual bottle is it estimated it would be able to hold 58,620 gallons of milk.

Childrens Museum

(credit: Boston Children’s Museum)

5. Going GreenBoston Children’s Museum has taken a lot of measures to become a more “green” building. The building possesses a green roof that collects storm water and uses it for building services such as irrigation. They also added full height windows that allow for more natural light, allowing them to save energy on lighting. They also were able to recycle around 75% of debris and other waste from construction.

Bobby Driscoll is a student at Franklin Pierce University. He is currently interning at CBS Boston for the Summer of 2013.

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