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

Duckling Day

The Friends of the Public Garden will host the annual Duckling Day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 12. 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, circus games with Esh Circus Acts and Jenny the Juggler 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

Lunchtime concert

King’s Chapel, corner of School and Tremont streets, will present the Karl Henning Ensemble in concert at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14.

The ensemble will play music for flutes, horn and percussion by Marshall and Henning.

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

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

Gallery talk and tour

The Boston Athenaeum, 10½ Beacon St., will host an up close tour at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15.

Docent Clive Martin will lead a gallery talk in “Athena at the Athenaeum,” a look at the Goddess of Wisdom’s presence in the library and her place in the ancient world, focusing on the towering sculptures of Athena and Sophocles and the monumental head of Zeus that grace the Athenaeum’s first floor.

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

Hidden Gardens tour

The annual Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill tour takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.

This annual tour, hosted by the Beacon Hill Garden Club, honors a long tradition of urban gardening in Boston. It attracts more than 2,000 visitors to the Beacon Hill neighborhood. It’s a way to not only enjoy these wonderful hidden gardens, but also the neighborhood shops, restaurants and museums.

From its first garden tour since the club was founded in 1928, club members have opened their gardens every year on the third Thursday in May, even during the Great Depression and World War II.

Admission is $60.

In addition, the fourth annual Soiree takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15. This event is held to benefit the club’s civic projects. This is a rain or shine event. The event takes place at the King’s Chapel Parish House, 55 Branch St. Enjoy cocktails, hors-d’oeuvre and a jazz combo.

The cost is $175.

For more information, visit

Asian American films

In honor of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St., will screen a series of films at 3 p.m. on Wednesdays during May.

Featured will be Ang Lee’s “The Wedding Banquet” on May 15; “Picture Bride” on May 22; and “To Be Takei,” the story of actor and activist George Takei, on May 29.

Call 617-523-3957 for further details.

Constructing King’s Chapel

A special tour to highlight Boston Preservation Month, “Constructing King’s Chapel: An Architecture and Material Culture Tour” will be held at 6 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 at King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont St.

Visitors will explore the church’s 333-year history and uncover the many layers of King’s Chapel’s past, literally and figuratively, as they explore the church as both a historic and living place. This tour focuses not only on the literal construction and adornment of the church, but also how its congregation over time has continually added meaning to the space. They learn about how changes over time — to the building, congregation, and landscape of Boston — have constructed how King’s Chapel is seen and understood as a historic place today.

Tickets are $10 with military and student discounts.

Visit or send an email to to register and for more information.

Esplanade 5K

The Esplanade Association will host the annual Esplanade 5K race along the pathways of the Charles River Esplanade from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18.

The race will be open to runners of all abilities and will include prizes, giveaways, refreshments and more. It will start and end at Fiedler Field and loop along the Boston side of the Charles River Esplanade, allowing runners to enjoy water and garden views set against the iconic backdrop of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.

Proceeds from this race will benefit the association’s work to care for and improve the park and restore the historic Lotta Fountain.

Registration is $50 or $60 on the day. For further information and to register, call 617-227-0365 or visit

Artful adventures

Staff from the Museum of Fine Arts will lead a free program “Artful Adventures” from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 20 at the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St.

Children will be able to take a closer look at some of the museum’s art, hear stories behind each work of art and tell their own stories as they make sculpted clay creations to take home.

Materials will be provided. Admission is free.

Call 617-523-3957 for further information.

Tours of Beacon Hill

Boston By Foot is offering tours of Beacon Hill from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, now to Oct. 30, meeting at the Massachusetts State House steps on Beacon Street.

The tour travels picturesque streets from the golden dome of the State House to the elegant homes of Louisburg Square, highlighting examples of early American architecture with particular emphasis on the work of Charles Bulfinch. Participants will experience Beacon Hill’s ornate past, from its rural beginnings to the vision of the Mount Vernon proprietors, and hear about the lives of its prominent citizens while walking among this historic collection of Federal and Greek Revival row houses.

Tickets are free for members, $13 for adults and $8 for children if purchased online in advance, or an additional $2 if purchased from the guide.

Further information can be found at or by calling 617-367-2345.

Swan boats return

The famous swan boats have returned to the Public Gardens. 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.

Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through June 19 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 20 through Labor Day.

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

West End photographs

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. For more details, 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 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 further 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., through May.

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