Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

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These flowers add to the beauty of Ashburton Park at the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill.

Art and Architecture Tour

Join a Boston Athenæum docent for a tour focused on the history of the Athenæum, its iconic building, and its special collections at 10½ Beacon St. from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays from Aug. 7 through Aug. 28.      

Whether you are visiting for the first time or are a member who frequents the building, the stories are sure to fascinate you as you walk through the historic library.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members: Free | Visitors: $2 plus admission).

Walking Tour – The Old West End: Boston’s Lost Neighborhood

The West End Museum’s history buff Jim Briand will explore the history of three West End buildings that survived urban renewal but are likely to be lost to development in 2021-2022: The West End House, Winchell School and one of the last original brick tenements and what they tell us about education, immigrant assimilation and day-to-day living in the tight confines of the old West End.

The 90-minute tours will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/the-old-west-end-bostons-lost-neighborhood-tickets-163396476259 for more information and registration (The West End Museum Members: $5 | General Admission: $10).

Shakespeare on the Common: ‘The Tempest’                  

Get ready for a magical evening of Shakespeare on the Common as the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company stages The Tempest, this year's annual family-friendly "Shakespeare in the Park" production of free Boston theater.

The Tempest, Shakespeare’s final play, transports the audience to a mysterious and enchanting island. In this tale of magic, betrayal, love and forgiveness, the wise and powerful Prospero struggles to maintain the world he’s created as order is thrown off balance by those around him: his curious daughter, Miranda; a man who’s just washed ashore, Ferdinand; the half human, half monster, Caliban; two fools, Stephano and Trinculo; and the mystical spirit of the air, Ariel, among many others.

With elements of tragedy and comedy, the performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays through Sunday, Aug. 8.

The production will remain free, but due to expected capacity constraints, attendees will be asked to register ahead of time.

Learn more at https://commshakes.org/free-shakespeare-on-the-common-2.

Free August Adventures with Highland Street Foundation

The Highland Street Foundation will partner with special Massachusetts cultural institutions to provide one free activity each day for 31 days in August. Here is a list of the Boston venues:

Aug. 10: The Greenway Carousel

Aug. 12: Museum of African American History

Aug. 17: Institute of Contemporary Art/ ICA Boston

Aug. 18: Boston Children's Museum

Aug. 28: Out of the Park, Boston Red Sox & City of Boston

Aug. 31: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

For safety reasons, many of the participating venues have limited capacity and are requiring advanced registration.

Available spots are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Visit www.highlandstreet.org/programs/community-events/august-adventures for a downloadable August Adventures calendar, links to the venues and more information.

Children’s Artist in Residence Workshop                                    

A variety of arts and crafts workshops hosted by a local artist in various parks throughout the City of Boston will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday through Friday through Aug. 13.

On Wednesday, Aug. 11, the workshops will be held at Myrtle Street Playground, 50 Myrtle St.

These workshops encourage kids to explore their creativity through projects such as mask making, crayon art, watercolor and much more. 

Supplies are provided, but you'll need to bring your creativity.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/arts-crafts-workshops for other information, including a complete list of workshops and reservations.

Ring out the bells

At 11 a.m. on the 11th day of each month, bells, shofars and noisemakers all over the world are sounding to call attention to the 11th hour climate crisis of climate change (https://www.11thhourcalling.org).

Join the various members of King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont St. as they ring the Paul Revere and Son bell and hold up signs on the church grounds as a Call to Action against Climate Change at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11.  

Visit www.kings-chapel.org/communityblog/ring-out-the-bells-environmental-action-initiative-news for more information.

TADpole 10 Summer Series 

The Highland Street Foundation will host storytime at the TADpole Playground on Boston Common. Join them for stories and additional activities, guest readers, books, giveaways and snacks from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays through Aug. 26.

Visit www.highlandstreet.org for more information.

Small group tours of The Vilna                                                      

The Vilna Shul, Boston's Center for Jewish Culture, 18 Phillips St., will offer a sneak-peak of their renovated space and historic sanctuary at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 12.

This program will begin on their outdoor patio and feature a meet-and-greet with their new Executive Director, Dalit Ballen Horn, followed by a guided tour brimming with history.

Visit https://vilnashul.org/events/event/vilna-meet-and-greet for more information and registration ($15).

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, Aug. 12 to discuss The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration by Sarah Everts.                                   

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/277608828 for more information and registration.

Kanopy Club: ‘Mystery of Henri Pick’ (2019)                 

Following the Yearlong Reading Challenge's August theme of In Translation, the Kanopy Club will be watching and discussing films in languages other than English.

Watch Mystery of Henri Pick (2019) on Kanopy then join the Zoom discussion from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 12.

About the film: An editor discovers a novel that she considers to be a masterpiece in a library whose particularity is to collect the manuscripts refused by the publishers. The text is signed Henri Pick, a Breton pizza maker who died two years earlier.

Visit bpl.org/events more information and Zoom registration.

Up Close: Two Presidents and a Ghost

Join Docent Maureen Marcucci at Boston Athenæum, 10½ Beacon St., from noon to 12:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13 as she leads a discussion around the portraits and lives of Samuel Eliot, Thomas Handasyd Perkins, and Reverend Thaddeus Mason Harris, and their roles as leaders who have impacted the history of the Boston Athenæum.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members: Free | Visitors: Free with admission).

Boston By Foot tours and Architectural Cruises resume

Boston By Foot has resumed their in-person public walking tours as well as the popular 

Architecture Cruises, presented in partnership with the Charles Riverboat Company.

Visit www.bostonbyfoot.org for more information, including a full schedule and list of tours/prices.

Tour the Nichols House Museum

The Nichols House Museum 1804 Federal townhouse, 55 Mount Vernon St., was home to landscape gardener, suffragist and pacifist Rose Standish Nichols and her family. Their home and its original art and furnishings provide a glimpse into life on historic Beacon Hill from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. The museum educates and inspires the public through innovative tours and programs.

Tours take place at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on most Fridays and at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Advanced tickets are required.

Visit www.nicholshousemuseum.org/visit for more information and tickets ($12).

Black Heritage Trail® Tour

Join a park ranger from the National Parks of Boston to explore the rich history of Beacon Hill's 19th century Black community from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays through Sept. 2. The tour begins at the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial (24 Beacon St.) and ends at the Museum of African American History, covering about 1.4 miles.

The Black Heritage Trail® showcases residences and community buildings associated with a Black community that thrived on, and near, the north slope of Beacon Hill before, during and after the American Civil War.

Throughout that time, this community struggled and organized for equal rights and access to equal education. Community members championed the movement to abolish slavery and even housed freedom seekers on their journey along the Underground Railroad.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/black-heritage-trail-tour-tickets-153151587521 for more information and reservations.

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 bhfh.org/virtual-events 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 bpl.org/events 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 bhfh.org/midweek 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.

Parks Fitness: Yoga at The Boston Common Frog Pond                        

Yoga with Friends of The Public Garden will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Sept. 30 on Boston Common Frog Pond, 38 Beacon St.

Visit boston.gov/events for more information and registration.

MOS Sci-Fi Book Club                                                        

The Science Fiction Book Club for adults will meet from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17 to discuss Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor (virtually, of course).

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/276288898

for more information and registration.

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/278280917 for more information and Zoom registration.

Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel operating

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

Tickets: $3/ride | 10 Ride Card: $25.

Visit https://bostonfrogpond.com/frog-pond-carousel for more information

Hill House summer programs and camps registration  

Registration for the summer programs and camps at Hill House, 127 Mount Vernon St., is open for all participants.

Summer Art & Music Classes (for 1-to-3-year-olds and their caretakers) include Art in the Park and Art in Nature and music with Little Groove.  

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 www.hillhouseboston.org for more information and sign ups.

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 www.mos.org for more information and reservations.

The West End Museum open

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St. (Unit 7) is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Museum offers in-person, virtual, and strolling tours and hosts events.

Visit thewestendmuseum.org for more information.

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 www.bostonathenaeum.org/visit/covid-19-response for more information.

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 www.maah.org for ticket and scheduling information along with virtual programs and events.

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 www.bigsister.org.

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 operationable.net for more information and registration.

Free meals/food resource information                               

Boston Eats will provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under – through 2021. No ID or registration required.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/food-access/boston-eats 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 foodpantries.org 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 office@stjosephboston.org 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 www.oldwestchurch.org 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 www.paulistcenter.org 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 friendsofthepublicgarden.org.