Beacon Hill and West End neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
The leaves have fallen from the trees on Boston Common and Jennifer is enjoying the beauty of this season.

The Secrets of the Great Synagogue of Vilna

Be among the first to see a sneak peek of "The Secrets of the Synagogue," a film that documents the uncovering of the grand religious institution in Vilnius at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1.

This glimpse into the uncovering of the Great Synaogogue of Vilna will be followed by a discussion with part of the team that made this amazing discovery possible: US archaeologist Dr. Richard Freund, Lithuanian Film Project Director Loic Salfati, geoscientist and GPR (ground penetrating radar) expert Dr. Harry Jol and lead cartographer, Dr. Phil Reeder.

The Great Synagogue of Vilna, the spiritual and physical home of the Lithuanian Jews, one of the oldest and most significant religious and cultural sites of Eastern European Jewry, was ransacked during WWII and destroyed by the Soviets in 1956. An elementary school was built on top of the remains.

The film chronicles the process to uncover, document and now preserve the remains of this synagogue.

This documentary tells their story and the story of the Great Synagogue, a symbol of lost civilization and thanks to the Good Will Foundation of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, this work has been on-going since 2015.

Go to for more information and registration. You will receive a link to watch an exclusive preview (full documentary to be completed September 2021) several days prior to the Nov. 1 panel discussion.

‘NC Wyeth’s Mr. Alcott in the Granary Burying Ground in Boston’

Join Boston Athenæum’s assistant curator Christina Michelon online from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2 in taking a closer look at N.C. Wyeth’s Mr. Alcott in the Granary Burying Ground in Boston (1936).

Serving as an illustration for Men of Concord and Some Others (1936, based on Henry David Thoreau’s journal), the painting pictures the historic burying ground just outside the Athenaeum’s walls.

Dr. Michelon will consider the painting, the publication and the burying ground as sites of memory and artistic legacy.

Visit for more information and required registration (Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5).

Seniors’ chair yoga

Join Boston Public Library and Yoga Hub for Seniors’ chair yoga from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3 via Zoom.

Seniors’ chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced while sitting on a chair or standing using a chair for support. People will learn calming postures and breathing techniques to open energy channels, release tension, and alleviate pain.

This type of yoga is great for people to improve physical comfort, cultivate balance and move easily through daily activities.

Visit for more information and (early) registration.

eGaming: Virtual Fortnite Tournament

The Museum of Science and One Up Games team up once again, this time for a virtual livestream Fortnite tournament from 7:30 to 9:30 on Thursday, Nov. 5. Play in this live tournament for a cash prize every round. Whether you’re an expert player, new to the esports arena or simply a fan of the phenomenon — this is your chance to explore the future of athleticism in exhilarating new ways.

This virtual offering will stream live from the One Up Games Twitch channel to enjoy at home. Go to for more information and registration.

Consider making a gift to support #MOSatHome and SubSpace virtual fall season at and become a vital partner in helping to provide access to free STEM experiences online.

Celebrity Series of Boston at Home

The Fall 2020 Edition of Celebrity Series at Home features a diverse lineup of classical music, modern and classical dance, jazz, folk, world music, family music and multi-media performances at 8 p.m. on Thursdays as follows:

Nov. 5: Cellist Aristides Rivas and Vocalist Meena Malik

Nov. 19: Soul Yatra Trio: Folk Tunes and New Works

Dec. 3: Neighborhood Arts Cello Quartet: "Global Inspirations"

Dec. 10: Devin Ferreira: “Seeds of Greatness”

Dec. 17: Verónica Robles: "A Mexican Christmas: Songs and Stories"

Visit for more information and registration, including Sunday Performances.

MOS: ‘The Pigeon Comes to Boston! A Mo Willems’ Exhibit

The newest traveling exhibit – The Pigeon Comes to Boston! A Mo Willems Exhibit, where you can visit the whimsical world of beloved children's book author Mo Willems and his cast of lovable characters – joins The Science Behind Pixar where you can explore the science and technology behind some of Pixar’s most beloved animated films.

The Charles Hayden Planetarium has five rotating shows throughout the day: Destination Mars: The New Frontier; The David Bowie Experience; Moons: Worlds of Mystery; The Beyoncé Experience and Big Bird’s Adventure: One World, One Sky.

The Museum of Science is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and remains open until 9 p.m. on Fridays. Advanced timed tickets are required for all guests.

The Museum continues to provide #MOSatHome engagements.

Visit for more information.

Visiting Artist Days with Wilhelm Neusser

Join Abigail Ogilvy Gallery and Wilhelm Neusser for Artist Days, where Neusser will be present to discuss his artwork with visitors from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 13.

Visitors will have the unique opportunity to explore the works on view in depth with the artist. In this newest body of work, a thicket of forsythia or a chain link fence create a space just out of reach, suggesting a longing for an indeterminate place or time. The Sixth Season contrasts our nature as social beings with the experience of a season lost, the pandemic spring of 2020.

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is located at 460 Harrison Ave, Building C, downstairs.

Visit for more information.

Online ESL conversation group

Practice speaking English with other adult learners in an informal and friendly group setting from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on Tuesdays through Aug. 31, 2021. The group is led by a native speaker and will take place online.

Visit for more information and registration.

Online ESL reading & discussion group

An online ESL reading and discussion group will be held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays through Dec. 17, hosted by the Boston Public Library.

Each week the group will read aloud a news article or short story, review new vocabulary from the reading and discuss the article/story content.

Visit for more information and registration.

Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga

Unwind with Gentle Yoga – sponsored by Hands to Heart Center and the Boston Public Library – will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays through Dec. 18.

The yoga classes are geared for beginners with plenty of options and modifications for all bodies and ability levels.

The class will be live-streamed on YouTube/Hand to Heart Center – Yoga for the People.

You can also get the link at events. The recorded sessions will remain online.

Hill House offers semi-private classes for family pods

Hill House, Inc., located at 127 Mount Vernon St., recognizes that many families have formed pods to keep groups smaller/reduce exposure.

To acknowledge that, Hill House is now offering semi-private classes and athletics for small cohorts of children. From art to science and Pre-K sports, there are open opportunities for people to come into the Firehouse at flexible times and enjoy the wide array of enrichment programs and athletics with the comfort of knowing who you’re in the class with in an individualized space.

These semi-private classes are open to all ages and led by their trained staff.

Visit for more information and sign ups.

Science Book Club for the Curious

The Science Book Club for the Curious, created by the Museum of Science, is a reading group designed especially for those who are interested in science and technology and how it impacts our society.

The group will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 to discuss the new book - Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything by Robert M Hazen. The room will open at 5:30 p.m. and discussion will start at 5:45 p.m.

Visit for more information and registration.

Science Fiction Book Club for the Curious

Join the Museum of Science for the Science Fiction Book Club for the Curious from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The group will virtually discuss Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey.

Visit for more information and registration.

Free ‘grab-and-go’ meals/food resource information

Boston Eats will continue to provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth - 18 years of age and under - through Dec. 31. No ID or registration required.

Visit or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations and other information.

Visit for a list of current food pantries, food closets, food banks, soup kitchens, congregate meal locations, food boxes, vouchers, etc.

If you need additional food resources, contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.

The Blessing Barn

The Blessing Barn at 122 Charles St. is a thrift and antique shop, as well as a self-described “sharing center,” that accepts donations of and sells new and gently used clothing, linens, home decor, furniture, kitchen items, toys, records, books and wall art, among myriad other items. All proceeds going to support the Mendon-based nonprofit, Compassion New England, that develops programs and provides services such as vouchers for physical items that are redeemable in their thrift stores, a fuel assistance program and a food pantry for families in the community.

Visit for more information.

Big Sister mentoring

Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.

The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide award-winning (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister, and Little sister’s family.

To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit

Visit Boston National Historical Park sites

Boston National Historical Park tells the story of the events that led to the American Revolution and the Navy that kept the nation strong. Many of the historic sites that make up Boston National Historical Park can be found along the Freedom Trail.

In downtown Boston, the Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House and Old North Church bring to life the American ideals of freedom of speech, religion, government, and self-determination.

In Charlestown, visit the Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. Nearby is the Charlestown Navy Yard, one of the nation's first naval shipyards and home to USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.

Located in South Boston and separate from the Freedom Trail, Dorchester Heights is significant for its role in the evacuation of the British from Boston during the Revolutionary War.

Visit for more information.

‘Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill’ books for sale

Beacon Hill Garden Club’s Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places is available for sale.

Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places is a combination wish book and reference book all in one. Throughout the book, people will discover the many solutions Beacon Hill’s gardeners have used to make their gardens appealing.

The 85th anniversary edition is a full-color, hard-bound book with more than 110 professional photographs by Peter Vanderwarker and Thomas Lingner. It is filled with pages offering practical solutions to a variety of garden conundrums: walls, paving, levels, gates and doors, ornaments, furniture, light and color.

In addition, there is an addendum listing common and Latin names of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs and rhizomes, wild plants and annuals that succeed in our gardens.

People can purchase the book at Blackstone’s at 46 Charles St. and Gary Drug at 59 Charles St.

Visit for more information.

Black Seed Writers Group

The Black Seed Writers Group usually meets from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on most Tuesdays in Upper Sproat Hall at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul at 138 Tremont St. to produce a steady stream of poetry, protest, memoire, prayer and reportage which will be featured in The Pilgrim literary magazine showcasing the work of hundreds of homeless, transitional and recently-housed writers.

Visit for more information, including the status of the meetings.

Young Adults Cafes Zoom gatherings

The Park Street Church, One Park St., offers Young Adult Cafes from 7 to 9:15 p.m. on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays, open to all young adults in the Greater Boston area.

The Tuesday café is comprised of young adults in their late 20s and 30s while the Wednesday café is designed for youth in their early 20s.

The Cafes meet virtually to help people stay connected in a healthy and safe way during these challenging times. The participants meet in a large group for worship, bible study and/or and fellowship and then break up into a variety of small groups, including ones for newcomers.

For more information, visit or email

Boston Athenæum

Boston Athenæum, 10½ Beacon St. offers many activities online free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community and beyond.

The Athenæum is open to members for book pick-up and drop-off in the lobby, and by appointment to use the reading rooms. Up to five Day Passes are now available for non-members each day.

Phone 617-720-7604 with questions and to reserve time in the building.

Visit for more information.

Museum of African American History update

The Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St. has re-opened following health and safety guidelines and timed ticket entries. Visitors to the Boston campus will only be allowed inside the African Meeting House and Abiel Smith School during their scheduled visitation session. The water closet is closed to the public for the remainder of 2020.

The exhibit on view is open for self-guided visits. Guided exhibit tours are available upon request. *Special tours are offered on Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

"The Museum of African American History is New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving, conserving and interpreting the contributions of African Americans. In Boston and Nantucket, the Museum has preserved two historic sites and two Black Heritage Trails® that tell the story of organized black communities from the Colonial Period through the 19th century." –

Museum of African American History

Visit for more information, including upcoming events and current exhibitions.

MOS at Home

Engage with Museum Educators Live at MOS at Home. Here is their weekly schedule:

Coolest Science Stories: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon

Explore the biggest science headlines with museum educators and get a better understanding of what's happening in the world of science.

Weekly STEM Challenge: Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

Join the Weekly STEM Challenge. Follow the engineering design process and create a design that solves the challenge. Join them the following week for a live webinar to discuss the challenge and celebrate the most impressive submissions. The new challenge is posted weekly.

Virtual Planetarium: Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and Fridays at 2 p.m.

Join the Museum’s Planetarium educators as they fly through space and explore some of the wonders of the cosmos! Programs for the upcoming week include Exploring Space and The Sky Tonight.

Ask a Scientist: Mondays through Thursdays at 3 p.m.

Question-and-answer-style panels on everything you've ever wanted to know about a variety of different science topics including sound, the solar system, weather, and amphibians.

Science in Action: Wednesdays at 1 p.m.

Join Museum of Science educators as they demonstrate awesome science activities that people try from their own home. Weekly activity is posted online.

Live Animals: Thursdays at 1 p.m.

Join the Museum's Live Animal Care Center staff as they introduce some of the wondrous animals that call MOS their home.

SubSpace includes free live events, music performances, conversations, art experiences, book clubs and gaming, among others for adults after dark.

Visit and/or for more information and reservations.

West End Museum is open

The West End Museum, 150 Lomasney Way is open following health and safety guidelines.

Museum hours: noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is free; donations are encouraged.

"The West End Museum is a neighborhood museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of the history and culture of the West End of Boston." – The West End Museum

The Museum has temporarily extended its “Cycling Legends of the West End” exhibit which spotlights three key characters in bicycling history: two West End residents and one longtime physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. The cycling exhibit will transition briefly to a revamped show exploring the roots and legacy of urban renewal in the US and in Boston.

The permanent exhibit, “The Last Tenement,” remains on display.

The digital exhibit, “Learned from Our Neighbors: Stories from The Elizabeth Peabody House,” celebrates the Elizabeth Peabody House (EPH), social worker and EPH Director Eva Whiting White, and life in Boston’s West End.

Visit for more information.

MANNA Community Program at Cathedral Church of St. Paul

Although many other programs have closed during this pandemic, the feeding ministry of the MANNA Community at Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 138 Tremont St. has expanded its ministry, for the time being, to accommodate the growing number of people in need.

In addition to the Monday Lunch Program, they are now serving breakfast and giving out water on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.

Serving these individually-packaged meals to a larger of people in need comes at a greater expense to the church. Help keep this program alive by donating money to help purchase food and supplies.

Visit for more information.

Wednesday Night Supper Club – ‘Take Out Meal in a Sack’

The Wednesday Night Supper Club is held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Paulist Center Auditorium, 5 Park St. Place. At this time, they have shifted to a “takeout meal in a sack.”

The Paulist Center volunteers have been serving more than 200 people a week who don’t have access to a good hot meal. The program has been running for 50 years.

Visit to volunteer to help out in any way (cook, serve, clean up; donate supplies, food or money; etc.) or for more information.

Thursday Night Outreach (TNO)

Park Street Church’s Thursday Night response to the needs that face our vulnerable neighbors on the streets of Boston is TNO. They are continuing their work throughout the COVID-19 crisis. In response to increased needs they are now serving on Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m. in addition to serving on Thursday nights from 5 to 7 p.m.

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation of money, food, hygiene products or gift cards, etc. or would like additional information on ways you can make a difference, email

Visit for more information.

MOS Fund

The Museum of Science needs your help now, more than ever, to continue their mission. Please consider making a gift to The MOS Fund to help them continue working toward their commitment to the community. Your gift will make a tremendous impact and allow them to keep their staff employed and working to make even more virtual science and technology resources available.

Visit and/or #MOSatHome for more information and a link to make a gift.

Beacon Hill Garden Club – Donations welcome

Since its founding in 1928, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has encouraged the love of horticulture and urban gardening.

Even though the Beacon Hill Garden Club has canceled two of its most prestigious events of the year – the Beacon Hill Garden Soiree and the BH Hidden Gardens Tour – they are still making donations to various organizations in Boston and Massachusetts, and they encourage you to do so in your local community to help organizations dedicated to horticulture, conservation and civic improvement.

They look forward to other events this year and look forward to seeing you at the annual Beacon Hill Garden Soiree and Gardens Tours next year.

Visit for more information.