Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

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Virtual Tour: Art and Architecture

Join BA Docent Clive Martin from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 8 for a virtual tour of the library's historic landmark building, including inspiring views of its reading rooms and an introduction to its history and remarkable collections.

Whether you are new to the Athenæum or a member who frequents the building, Martin has stories that are sure to impress and surprise you.

Go to for reservations.

Jane's Walk 2021

On the annual celebration of the urbanist Jane Jacobs, Lucia will lead a free walking tour exploring the remainders of the old West End, including the West Church, Massachusetts General Hospital, West End House, the Winchell School and Beacon Hill’s North Slope. Discussion will focus on Jacobs’ writing and work as an activist fighting urban renewal projects like the one that demolished the West End.

Meet at The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St. at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 8.

Go to for more information and registration.

‘Writing Wild’ celebrates influential women writers

In Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World, Kathryn Aalto celebrates 25 women whose influential writing helps deepen our connection to and understanding of the natural world.

These inspiring wordsmiths are scholars, spiritual seekers, conservationists, scientists, novelists and explorers. They defy easy categorization, yet they all share a bold authenticity that makes their work both distinct and universal. Part travel essay, literary biography and cultural history, Writing Wild ventures into the landscapes and lives of extraordinary writers and encourages a new generation of women to pick up their pens, head outdoors and start writing wild.

Learn more at this author event from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 10.

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

Curator's Choice: Seaweed or flowers of the ocean

Usher in the start of summer by joining Assistant Curator Dr. Christina Michelon from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11 to learn about the 19th century phenomenon of creating seaweed specimen albums.

A popular pastime in New England and beyond, aspiring naturalists collected these “flowers of the ocean” and carefully arranged them in albums in both artistic and taxonomical ways. This activity occurred alongside advances in printing that facilitated seeing and learning about seaweed without even heading to the shore.

Look at these incredible aquatic plants that nourish both humans and animals, support ecosystems and help slow climate change. Learn about how to preserve seaweed specimens.

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

Exploring the cosmic unknown through global collaboration

The international team from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will share new insights into their groundbreaking work and highlight the power and importance of scientific collaboration on a global scale streamed live from the Museum of Science from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12.

Visit for more information and registration (donations welcome).

Tai Chi for Wellness                                                                                    

Join the Boston Public Library and Eddie Watkins from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 13 and June 10 for an online introduction to Tai Chi, an ancient exercise rooted in China, which consists of postures that are gentle and flowing. Movements are slow and repetitive and are coupled with a focus on the breath.

Visit more information and Zoom registration.

MOS Science Book Club for the Curious                                                              

The Science Book Club for the Curious will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 13 to discuss Breath: The New Science of the Lost Art by James Nestor.                                       

Visit for more information and registration.

Kanopy Club: ‘To Be Takei’ (2015)                                                           

The Kanopy Club at the Boston Public Library will follow the May Reading Together theme of “An Author of Color” as they discuss To Be Takei from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 13.

This award-winning documentary features Star Trek legend, marriage equality advocate and spokesperson for racial justice George Takei.

The film features behind-the-scenes intimacy with the dynamic duo George and Brad as well as interviews with famous friends from William Shatner to Howard Stern.

Watch the film on Kanopy prior to the discussion.

Visit more information and Zoom registration.

Museum of African American History online/onsite                   

The Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

Visit for ticket and scheduling information along with virtual programs and events.

Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Virtual Tour                              

Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill Virtual Tour will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30.

People are invited to in and be guided through seven enchanting and treasured gardens featured in a film created this May.

The virtual tour will offer a new lens on the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill, which will be fresh, beautiful and inspiring.

Since its founding in 1928, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has encouraged the love of horticulture and urban gardening. All proceeds from the tour provide direct financial support to environmental, conservation and civic improvement projects.

Virtual Ticket: $25; Virtual Ticket and Book - Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places: $45.

Visit for tickets.

The Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel

The Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Tickets: $3/ride | 10 Ride Card for $25. Face Masks required.

Visit for more information

Lyric Stage To-Go: ‘The Walking Plays’ – 4:6 available                                   

The Walking Plays is a new free audio play series of six short plays by Boston-based playwrights which unfold on a continuous route around the Back Bay, Downtown and Theatre District neighborhoods.

The Walking Plays explore the private moments that we experience in public. Rediscover Boston through new eyes as you walk alongside intricate characters or experience these intimate stories in the comfort of your home.

The first four plays – On Paying Attention by David Valdes; Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus; Kill the Dogs, Knock Them Over! by Liana Asim; and In Any Face by Miranda Austen ADEkoje – are available to stream with two more being released later this spring.

Visit for more information and access to the plays.

Simple morning meditation practice

Beacon Hill Friends holds a simple meditation practice that helps reduce stress and ease you into the morning. The meditation is 15 minutes long and begins and ends with a brief introduction to the practice. Orientation for newcomers begins at 8 a.m., and the practice begins at 8:10 a.m. on weekdays. 

Join once or join regularly – this meditation is free and open to the public.

Go to for more information and the Zoom link.

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. The group is led by a native speaker and will take place online.

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

Visit for more information and registration.

‘MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness’

The Beacon Hill Friends will host MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. This facilitated spiritual practice with Quaker flavor and an experimental ethos is open to everyone.

Go to for more information about the facilitators and the practices they offer along with program details and Zoom registration. These closed-captioned programs are free, although donations to support their work are welcome.

‘Weaving Our Collective Stories of Race’ art journaling series (Revised dates)  

The Beacon Hill Friends will host a six-week series from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays through May 20.

This workshop is for anyone of any racial/ethnic identity who feels drawn to both exploring the topic of one’s own internal relationship to race and witnessing others’ stories no matter where they are in their journey of understanding.

To begin each session, LJ will offer poetry, creative writing, teachings about white supremacy culture and/or visual art that focus on an aspect of race and race relations. Participants will then be invited to relax into a guided meditation, followed by the flow of art journaling, closing with a time for (optional) reflective sharing and contemplative quiet. 

Courage, compassion and vulnerability are required to do this work collectively. The facilitator, LJ is highly skilled in holding this type of space and requests that in signing up for it, you are also ready for this collective experience. No previous artistic experience is needed as the participants will be using art to process rather than producing pieces of art.

Visit for more information and registration (fees apply).

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.

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.

Music at Home from King’s Chapel

Music remains an important aspect to the virtual presence of King's Chapel. Here are a few offerings to enjoy:

– “Talk About Music!” –​ Music Director Heinrich Christensen hosts a weekly conversation on all things musical from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays via Zoom. Topics announced on their website and social media.

– “Weekly Musical Meditations” – This virtual glimpse of King's Chapel is accompanied by soothing music performed by their talented musicians. Every Monday they will add a new musical meditation on their social media channels with the hashtag #MusicAndMeditationMonday and on their YouTube channel.

– “Music in the Time of Covid: A Series” – In this pandemic world, Music Director Heinrich Christensen with composer and videographer Graham Gordon Ramsay recorded a series of videos of new music after dark. ​Read the blog post on their website about their reflections on these Introspections

– "Music from Virtual Worship Services" – On King's Chapel YouTube channel, is a curated playlist of songs from their weekly online worship services.

Go to for more information and links to enjoy.

MOS Sci-Fi Book Club                                                                                

The Science Fiction Book Club for adults will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18 to discuss A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel (virtually, of course).


for more information and registration.

Operation ABLE                                                                              

Operation ABLE (174 Portland St.) provides employment services and training programs to job seekers from economically, racially and occupationally diverse backgrounds.

All services, including distance learning, coaching, and wrap-around services, are being conducted remotely. Class enrollments are open for computer skills training and Health Care and Social Services training, among others.

Visit for more information and registration.

Hill House spring programs and summer camps online/onsite                           

Registration for the spring program and summer camps at Hill House, 127 Mount Vernon St. is open for new and returning participants.

Check out the wide variety of offerings in their Spring Athletic and Program Guide and Summer Camp Guide from spring baseball and softball leagues, STEM and creative expressions to summer onsite and offsite opportunities.

Hill House Camps (Kiddie Kamp for 3-to-5-year-olds and Day Camp for 5-to-12-year-olds) offer weekly Kiddie Kamp onsite adventures; Day Camp field trips; expanded enrichment opportunities; sailing, theatre, sports and film camp options; weekly themes; extended day options for Day Campers; and expanded LIT program for 13-to-15-year-olds.

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

Visit for more information and sign ups.

BPL Reading Challenge                                                      

As the pandemic drags on and Boston residents remain cooped up in their homes, the Boston Public Library invites readers throughout the city to participate in “Reading Together.”

In the challenge, each month has a distinct theme and participants are asked to read a book tied to the theme.

The library offers recommended book lists for the monthly themes for adults, teens and children at Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

Visit for more information.

MOS experience onsite/online

The Museum of Science has reopened following health and safety guidelines – face coverings and reservations are required for admission.

Highlights of your visit can include permanent and temporary exhibits and a variety of shows in the Planetarium and newly refurbished Mugar Omni Theater.

MOS at home also offers an array of programs and events. Schedules change weekly and may include a weekly STEM challenge; virtual planetarium visits; live animal visits; science stories; science-related question and answer panels; and Sub-space events.

Visit for more information and reservations.

Boston Athenæum online/onsite    

Boston Athenæum offers many activities online free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community and beyond. They also offer a tour of the first floor of their landmark building and artworks from the special collections.

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 (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

Blessing Barn Beacon Hill                                                                                       

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.

BBBH exists to provide simple, short term housing for patients and their support individuals needing medical care away from home. They are proud to provide a room in the city.

Join them by giving in the following ways: Offer to be a host home; Pay for a room in the city for one night; Purchase items in their store; Give a monetary donation using their secure form.

Visit for more information.

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

Boston Eats provides free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under. No ID or registration required.

Visit or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens, along with other information is also included.

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

Contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333 if you need additional food resources.

Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed                   

There are times when we could all use a helping hand and other times when we could lend one, and that’s the underlying sentiment behind Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed (NIN NID) – a program that connects St. Joseph’s parishioners with neighbors who could use a little assistance or just some cheering up.

If you are in need of anything – or are willing to assist them in outreach – please email or call the office at 617-523-4342 with your name, phone number, email, and a list of items needed, or availability to serve.

Old West Church Community Lunch/Dinner

Everyone is invited to the community meals at the Old West Church at 131 Cambridge St. – served rain or shine and holidays, too. While these meals primarily serve people who are housing insecure or elderly, it’s for anyone.

The Community Lunch is served from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Community Dinner is served from 5 to 6 p.m. on Mondays.

During the pandemic, the meals are served to go. Everyone is welcome to come by and grab a hot meal to takeaway.

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 more than 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.

Support the parks – give the gift of membership                                                  

Give the gift of membership to ensure that the beloved parks - the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall - remain icons of Boston and continue to receive the protection, care and management that they need.

Donations can be made at