Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes
This beautiful bronze statue of George Washington stands at the Public Garden at the Arlington Street entrance opposite Commonwealth Avenue.

Book Talk: ‘The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World’

Boston Athenæum will present Virginia Postrel in conversation with L'Merchie Frazier from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16.

The story of humanity is the story of textiles—as old as civilization itself. In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics and science to reveal a surprising history.

From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world.

Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo's David and the Taj Mahal. Moreover, the cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code.

Assiduously researched and deftly narrated, The Fabric of Civilization tells the story of the world's most influential commodity.

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

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

Join Boston Athenæum’s assistant curator Christina Michelon in taking a closer look at N.C. Wyeth’s Mr. Alcott in the Granary Burying Ground in Boston (1936) from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

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.

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

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.

Laugh Lines: ‘My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier’

Saturday Night Live funnyman Alan Zweibel will talk about his career and weaves together his own stories and interviews with his friends and contemporaries, including Richard Lewis, Eric Idle, Bob Saget, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman, Judd Apatow, Dave Barry, Carl Reiner and more at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Visit for more information and registration ($9/person).

Health Equity Task Force hearing

The ninth meeting of the legislative task force established by Chapter 93 of the Acts of 2020 (referred to as the “Health Equity Task Force”) to study and make recommendations to the General Court that address health disparities for underserved or underrepresented populations based on culture, race, ethnicity, language, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, geographic location, including, but not limited to, gateway cities with hospitals dedicated to caring for patients who test positive for COVID-19, and age in the commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic will be held from at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

The video will start at 10 a.m. at

Eye of the Expert: Views of Boston

Miss traveling? Join “tour guides” Assistant Curator Christina Michelon, Rare Materials Catalog Librarian Graham Skinner and Director of Education Hannah Weisman for an evening of armchair travel through this extraordinary city, focused on the work of three 20th century artists from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Michelon will explore how historic architecture was perceived in the 1930s as well as today by examining Berenice Abbott’s sharply-focused and high-contrast views of Boston’s built environment.

Shifting from a documentarian to tourist perspective, Skinner will take us to some of Boston’s iconic destinations depicted in poet, travel writer and artist Chiang Yee’s original illustrations for his 1959 book, The Silent Traveller in Boston.

And Weisman will lead everyone into the South End to experience the neighborhood as painter and illustrator Allan Rohan Crite knew it in 1977 when he created An Artist’s Sketchbook of the South End during his residency at the Museum of African American History.

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

‘Thina’ - A world premiere from SYREN Modern Dance

SYREN Modern Dance will join the Museum of Science from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18 for a special evening of artistic conversation and the world premiere of a new dance piece, Thina, created in quarantine.

Thina, meaning us/we in Zulu, is a dance created by Kate St. Amand for the dancers of SYREN, inspired by the work of South African composer Philip Miller. The project uses Miller's re-creation of the beloved Reuben T. Caluza song "Influenza 1918" in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SYREN is currently rehearsing virtually, via Zoom, to create the dance in much the same way that Miller's musical collaborators worked to create the song.

This program is free thanks to the generosity of the Lowell Institute.

Please consider making a gift to support #MOSatHome and the SubSpace virtual fall season at

Go to for more information and tickets.

Gentle movement and meditation

Join the Hands to Heart Center and Jessi Rosinski for an online hour of gentle movement, soothing breathwork and awareness meditation from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Learn practices to ground and center yourself in daily life and cultivate an attitude of mindfulness. No prior experience with mindfulness required.

Visit for more information and registration.

Living Room Conversation: History & Society

While historical narratives are often embraced as representing the “true history,” there is growing awareness of the degree to which they are composed of specific interpretations of certain events (and not of others). As Winston Churchill stated, “History is written by the victors.”

More than representing a specific version of the past, historical narratives are also oriented to the future. They create deep beliefs about who we are, where we come from and what are the right prospects. They also construct images of the others and meanings of intergroup relations, describing others as enemies or allies, superiors or inferiors. Thus, historical narratives prescribe a specific course of actions and justify our attitudes and behaviors toward others.

So, let’s talk about it from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Kanopy Club: ‘The Return of Martin Guerre’

The Boston Public Library invites everyone to watch the film The Return of Martin Guerre on Kanopy and then join the discussion on Zoom from 8 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

About The Return of Martin Guerre: During the middle of the 16th century, Martin Guerre returns to his village in southwestern France, after being away in the war for almost a decade. The villagers who knew him as a young man suspect he is not Martin, but he seems to know all about his friends, his family and his wife, even the most unusual things. Is this man really Martin Guerre?

Visit for more information and registration.

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. 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.

Hill House winter programming registration open

Ready for a warm, safe and fun winter with Hill House, Inc., 127 Mount Vernon St.? Winter programming registration is open for all members and nonmembers.

Get ready for a winter full of basketball, music, art, STEM and much more. Pod spots will be available for those looking for semi-private classes with their instructors.

Basketball leagues will begin Nov. 30 with all other classes starting the week of Dec. 7.

Get your teams together for the 2021 Boston NFL Flag Football League - Early Bird (with discount) registration will take place through Jan. 9.

Give to Hill House's 2020-2021 Fundraising Appeal to help keep programs running.

Visit for more information and sign ups.

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.

College worshiping communities

The Park Street Church College Community seeks to provide a church home for undergraduate students from around Boston – a welcoming space where students experience the heart of God and engage with the mission of God through their encounter with the people of God.

Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, they invite you to join them at Park Street Church and in a ministry on your campus. (PSC partners with Cru Boston on campus).

Some students at Park Street Church are involved in other campus ministries, which include Christian Union, InterVarsity and Navigators. Park Street Church encourages student involvement in any of the on-campus fellowships.

Visit for more information, including events and groups.

Online ESL conversation groups

Practice speaking English with other adult learners in an informal and friendly group setting from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on most Mondays, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on most Tuesdays, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on most Wednesdays, and from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on most Fridays through Aug. 31, 2021. The group is led by a native speaker and will take place online.

Online intermediate and advanced ESL classes are also offered at select times.

Visit for more information and registration.

Black Seed Writers Group

The Black Seed Writers Group 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 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

Expanded Advent at Cathedral Church of St Paul

The Cathedral Church of St Paul will be observing an expanded Advent, reclaiming the ancient tradition of a seven-week season of watching, waiting and preparing for the coming of Christ.

As part of their observance of Advent, they will be offering a short, online service of evening devotions from 5 to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays through Dec. 23.

These services will include the lighting of the Advent wreath, the O Antiphons written by Carole-Jean Smith, organ and solo voice, brief readings and prayers, and a short reflection on the O Antiphon.

Visit for more information.

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 most 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.

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. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens is also included.

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

‘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 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.

The book can be purchased at Blackstone’s at 46 Charles St. and Gary Drug at 59 Charles St.

Visit for more information.

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.

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.

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 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 – ‘Takeout 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.

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.