Here are the latest Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes::

Walking tour

Historic New England will present a tour of Beacon Hill from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 5. Participants will meet at the Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge St.

The tour will focus on the development of Beacon Hill in the Federal era, and how the ambitions and struggles of the early residents, both wealthy and working class, shaped the architecture and character of the neighborhood.

The program begins with a tour of the Otis House, the earliest intact Beacon Hill mansion, and continues through the historic streets.

Registration is recommended, by calling 617-994-5920. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

Visit for more details.

Local government study

A local government study session will be held from noon to 1:40 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 at the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St.

The Bummer City Civic Engagement Coalition is a small community organization dedicated to helping people learn about and engage with municipal government. At the sessions, they discuss and study issues relevant to communities such as affordable housing, then craft and execute plans to address those issues. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary. Admission is free.

For more information, visit or call 617-523-3957.

Artful adventures

“Artful Adventures with the Museum of Fine Arts” will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 7 at the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St.

Children can join educators from the MFA to take a closer look at some of the museum’s art, hear some of the stories behind the artwork and tell their own stories as they make sculpted clay creations.

Registration is required for this free program, by email to

Poet behind the mask

The Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., will welcome the Poets’ Theatre in “The Poet Behind the Mask (Or Dramatis Personae” from 6 to7 p.m. on Monday, May 7.

This set of readings by actors from the Poets’ Theatre, which ranges from Erica Funkhouser to Alfred Lord Tennyson to Richard Howard, from the Earl of Rochester to Elizabeth Bishop to Lloyd Schwartz, reveals poets in masquerade, speaking about themselves through others.

Admission is $20 for members and $30 for non-members.

Reservations are recommended, as space is limited, at or by calling 617-227-0270.

Cello concert

King’s Chapel, located at the corner of School and Tremont streets, will welcome cellist Kate Kavaian in concert at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8.

The recital will feature works by Bach, Harbison and Hovhaness.

A donation of $3 is requested; all contributions are given directly to the musicians.

Visit or call 617-227-2155 for more information.

Hidden life of George Nixon Black

The Otis House Museum, 141 Cambridge St., will welcome author Jane Goodrich talking about the hidden life of George Nixon Black from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9. A reception will be held at 6 p.m. with the lecture at 6:30 p.m.

George Nixon Black, one of the wealthiest men of 19th century Boston, was the owner of Kragsyde, his house at Lobster Cove in Manchester By the Sea, beloved by architects and scholars of the time and appearing in many publications from the time it was built in 1883.

In her book “The House at Lobster Cove: The Hidden Life of George Nixon Black,” Goodrich will talk about the elusive Boston bachelor and the two loves of his life: Boston blueblood Frank Crowninshield and Charles Brooks Pitman. She will also talk about Kragsyde, the house that sheltered and shaped him.

Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members and can be purchased by calling 617-994-6678 or online at

Founding Fathers

The Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., will host an up close tour “The Founders” at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9.

Docent Dale Linder will investigate objects in the athenaeum’s special collections that shed light on the nation’s early history. Attendees can join the discussion and get up close to busts of founding fathers that once graced the halls of Monticello and portraits by some of the United States’ most renowned painters.

Reservations are recommended, as space is limited, at or by calling 617-227-0270.

Inspired by Jane Austen

The West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St., will host “Jane Austen: From Book to Film” from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays during May.

The library will screen the 2005 film “Bride and Prejudice” with Martin Henderson on May 9; “Emma” starring Gwyneth Paltrow on May 16; “Clueless” with Alicia Silverstone on May 23; and “Love and Friendship” starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny on May 30.

Admission is free. Call 617-523-3957 for further details.

Historic window restoration

As part of Boston Preservation Month programming, Alison Hardy of Window Women of New England will be the guest speaker from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 at the Old West Church, 131 Cambridge St.

Hardy will talk about the how and why of historic window restoration. The Boston Landmarks Commission is sponsoring this free talk.

For more information, call 617-635-3850 or visit

Rare and old books

The West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St., will welcome Kenneth Gloss, proprietor of the Brattle Book Shop near Downtown Crossing, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 10.

Gloss will give a free and open talk on the value of old and rare books as well as the history of his historic bookshop, which goes back to circa 1825. Gloss is also a frequent guest appraiser on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow.”

For more details, call 617-523-3957.

Focus on the West End

The West End Civic Association (WECA) will welcome representatives from the Delaware North and Boston Properties to speak at the spring meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 at the Hawthorne Place Condominium Community Room, 2 Hawthorne Place.

The guest speakers will update the community on the Hub on Causeway Project.

All West Enders are welcome and refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; doors will open at 6:45 p.m.

Call 617-723-5642 or visit for further details.

Wildlife walk

The Esplanade Association will host two Mother’s Day wildlife walks at 10 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 12 meeting at Fiedler Field

Walkers will join Esplanade Association staff as they walk along the Esplanade identifying different species of birds and animals and hearing about wildlife habitats and how to restore and preserve those habitats. Participating families will receive a free pair of binoculars as they play our Wildlife Bingo.

Participants should arrive at Fiedler Field 15 minutes before their walk is scheduled to leave. The walk is roughly one-mile long and will last about an hour.

Registration is required for this free walk as space is limited, by calling 617-227-0365 or online at

Duckling Day

The Friends of the Public Garden will host the annual Duckling Day at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 13. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Boston Common at the corner of Beacon and Park streets across from the State House. The parade starts at noon.

Children and their families will retrace the steps of the beloved characters, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their family of eight ducklings, based on the children’s classic “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey.

Led by the Harvard University Band, children will parade from the Parkman Bandstand and into the Public Garden to the famous sculptures, dressed like characters from this story.

A face painter, magician, storytellers, the Knucklebones Crew and a puppet show will entertain the children from 10:30 a.m. to noon before the parade begins. Families can bring a picnic to enjoy in the park.

Tickets are $35 per family in advance, and $40 on the day and will include a special goody bag with toys and treats, snacks and entertainment. The event will take place rain or shine.

For more information, call 617-266-5669 or visit

Photography exhibition

The Vilna Shul, 18 Phillips St., is displaying “Holding Differences Tenderly,” photographs by Brenda Bancel, Toni Marie Gomes and Roody Jean Louis, now to Friday, May 25.

This photography exhibition showcases the work of professional Beacon Hill photographer Bancel and students Gomes and Louis from the Take 5 program at the Epiphany School in Dorchester. The photographers explore ways to raise consciousness of deeply rooted stereotypes. The exhibit aims to disrupt assumptions, shaking the viewer out of typical thinking in order to stop perpetuating ideas from the past.

Visit or call 617-523-2324 to register and for more details.

Swan boats

The famous swan boats have returned to the Public Gardens. Spring hours of operation (now to June 20) are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, weather permitting.

Established in 1877, the swan boats are a family-owned and -operated business with a unique tradition and place in the history and beauty of the city. A ride on a swan boat lasts about 15 minutes and provides a picturesque voyage on the waters of the lagoon.

Tickets are $3 or $2 for seniors and $1.50 for children.

For more information, call 617-522-1966 or visit

Photographs of the West End

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St., is displaying a new exhibition “Under the Wrecking Ball: A West End Landlord.”

The exhibit features photographs from a collection donated by Ira Tarlin that depicts the West End at the time of demolition. Eli Tarlin, Ira’s father, was an original resident who came to own numerous properties in the neighborhood. The demise of the community, says the family, was also Eli’s demise.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Call 617-416-0781 or go online to

Coloring for adults

“Color Your World,” coloring for adults, will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. on Fridays during May at the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St.

Studies have shown the relaxing benefits of coloring for adults as well as children. Patrons are invited to drop in and enjoy a relaxing afternoon coloring. Coloring pages, pencils, crayons and markers will be provided.

For more details, call 617-523-3957.

Picturing Douglass

The Museum of African American History is presenting a new public exhibition “Picturing Frederick Douglass” at the African Meeting House, 46 Joy St., now through May 31.

Douglass was the most photographed American of the 19th century, more frequently photographed than Abraham Lincoln, and was immediately recognizable to millions in his own lifetime. Douglass used photography as a tool of reform and to elevate the image of the African-American in contradiction to the demeaning depictions of black life often seen in the 19th century.

Based on the book of the same name by Drs. John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd, co-curators of the exhibit, it features more than 90 objects, including historic photos, books, newspapers articles and original letters by Douglass.

Further information can be found by calling 617-725-0022, ext. 222 or online at