English Chinese Spanish Japanese Korean Turkish

News and Announcements

Office Closed on Memorial Day - May 27, 201924-May-2019

The Global Immersions office will be closed on Monday, May 27 for the Memorial Day holiday. The..

Happy Mother's Day to our Wonderful Host Mothers!12-May-2019

We would like to wish all of our wonderful host mothers a Happy Mother's Day! Thank you for all ..


Best in Hospitality

History of Ice Cream in America

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, May 16, 2019


Ice cream has been part of the American culture since our Founding Fathers built our nation! Records by New York Merchants show that George Washington spent $200 alone on ice cream in the summer of 1790. He even had a 306 piece ice cream serving set in the home used when entertaining his guests. What’s more, Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing the first ice cream recipe to the United States after tasting the frozen treat earlier in France. He had ice boxes installed at his estate, Monticello, so that he could serve ice cream all year long! Ultimately ice cream was reserved for the elite until around 1800 when insulated ice houses were invented, which helped to popularize the treat for the masses. Even immigrants coming to Ellis Island were often given ice cream as their first taste of America!




The American ice cream industry took off in 1851 with the help of milk dealer, Jacob Fussell. From there, as technologies involving refrigeration, mechanization, automobile distribution, and pasteurization advanced, ice cream rates of production and consumption skyrocketed! Consumption rates were at an all time high at the beginning of Prohibition as the people substituted one vice for another (alcohol to ice cream) with a national consumption of 260 million gallons of ice cream in 1920! Later on after World War II, we celebrated the end of the war by eating ice cream with returning troops after the dairy product ration was lifted. That is just about as patriotic as it gets. In the 1980's in the lingerings of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan declared the month of July, National Ice Cream Month, as a way to lift the morale of the American people. Today, the average American consumes more than 45 pints of ice cream per year, which equates to around $10 billion in frozen dairy consumption both in the winters and summers. It is safe to say that ice cream and the American culture go hand in hand.



If you have ever had American ice cream, you know that we take our toppings and flavors very seriously. One of the leading American ice cream brands, Ben and Jerry’s, boasts of having more than 54 flavors currently available for consumer purchase ranging from plain vanilla to pistachio to strawberry cheesecake. And there are so many ways to eat ice cream too! We eat hard ice cream, soft serve, milkshakes, cones to choose from, ice cream trucks, ice cream parlors, and more. Many ice cream shops have topping bars that may include hot fudge, caramel, sprinkles, cookies, candies, etc. Choose your favorite combination or switch it up every time! Lucky for you, Boston has some of the best ice cream parlors in the country. Click here for our favorite places in the city for ice cream!

Which Boston ice cream place is your favorite? Share with us @globalimmersions or by using #HomestayBoston!


Sources: NPR, Boston, IDFA, Washington


Explore Boston: The South End

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, May 01, 2019


Close to downtown but not too crowded, the South End of Boston is one of our favorite places to explore in the city! Referred to as SoWA (which stands for South of Washington Street), the South End is full of art, creativity, and vibrancy. The neighborhood is beautiful to explore by foot this time of year with historic brownstone architecture, quaint boutiques, parks in full bloom, and delicious bistros around every corner!


To truly appreciate the authenticity that is the South End, one needs to understand its remarkable history as well. Parts of the modern day South End, just like the Back Bay neighborhood, were originally under water! Downtown Boston, near the seaport, was connected to the mainland, to towns like Roxbury, via a strip of land referred to as the neck. As the city became busier, the city of Boston began to build up more land surrounding the neck in 1829, which eventually created the South End! The neighborhood originally was home to many middle upper class families in the latter half of the 19th century. As cheaper housing became available near streets like Columbus, the South End experienced periods of bankruptcy and crime. However, in the 1970s the city of Boston introduced redevelopment and renovation efforts to return SoWA to its former glory! Today the South End is home to artists, young professionals, and other Bostonians.



The best way to explore the South End is to walk around on foot! You will find dog parks, beautiful gardens, and most notably, breathtaking historical architecture. Here is a list of landmarks to keep an eye out for and arranged walking tours of the neighborhood. If you are lucky enough to explore the South End in the spring and summer months, make sure to visit one of the many outdoor markets such as the South End Open Market, the SoWA Vintage Market, and the SoWA Farmer’s Market. This weekend, May 3rd, 4th, and 5th SoWA will be hosting its 15th annual Art Walk where local artists and galleries will open their doors and new exhibits to all who can stop by! See what other upcoming events the SoWA Art & Design District is offering here.



In addition to its art scene, the South End is well known for its award winning restaurants! From jazz clubs, to pizza parlors, to french bistros, the South End has a taste of it all. If you want to live the life of a true millennial Bostonian, head to the South End for weekend brunch. Most places are located along the streets of Columbus, Tremont, and Washington. These are some of our favorite restaurants and brunch spots in the neighborhood.


We want to see where you decide to explore! Share your favorite South End moments with us @globalimmersions or by using #HomestayBoston.


Boston Red Sox Opening Season

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Happy April everyone! Spring has officially arrived in Boston. The sun is shining, people want to be outside, and most importantly... The Boston Red Sox baseball team season has begun! Watching a ball game in Fenway Park, the oldest Major League Baseball stadium in use, is known as one of the greatest American traditions. Today we want to share with you some of our favorite Fenway Park and American baseball traditions. After winning the World Series last year, the Red Sox are expected to be one of the most competitive teams in the MLB this 2019 season. The Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park will take place on Monday, April 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays! Click here for more about the season schedule and ticket purchasing!



In order to fully experience a game at Fenway Park, you must be familiar with these two songs: Sweet Caroline and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Most important is Sweet Caroline, by Neil Diamond. The song is now played at every Red Sox home game in the middle of every eighth inning since 2002! The whole crowd stands and sings in unison as a way to encourage and cheer on their favorite Boston team as the game comes to a close. The next song, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, is an important song to know if you are a spectator at any ball game in America. Written in 1908, the song is commonly referred to as the National Anthem of baseball and sung during the seventh-inning stretch by fans of both teams.


Now, I am sure you are wondering, “What snacks can I get at a baseball game?” The average MLB game will last around 2-3 hours, and with up to nine innings, you have plenty of time to try some of these delicious stadium treats. First up to bat, are Cracker Jacks! An icon of American baseball, Cracker Jacks are a crunchy mixture of caramel, peanuts, and popcorn, often with a prize inside. Another classic stadium treat are hot dogs - Fenway Frank. They have lots of toppings and are easy to eat with one hand while you ‘root for the home team’ with the other! Often times you will see vendors walking through the stands who will sell a variety of snacks to you. For Fenway ball games specifically, make sure you try the clam chowder and lobster rolls as they are best known in New England.

Finally, if you have the chance to go to Fenway, make sure to be aware of the Green Monster! What? They have a monster in the park? Well, not exactly. The Green Monster is a wall, a 37 feet high green wall to be exact, that stands 309 feet away from home plate. You will see it, it is impossible to miss. The wall is nicknamed ‘Green Monster’ as it is incredibly tricky to hit a home run over the wall due to its elevated height. Many players take this as a challenge, and Red Sox fans take pride in its difficulty. If you are lucky enough to get seats near the wall, make sure to touch it for good luck!


Fenway Park is an stadium that everyone should take the opportunity to experience. The stadium even offers guided tours every day from 9AM-5PM at your convenience. Make sure to explore the Fenway neighborhood, including the infamous and photoworthy Red Sox banner on Lansdowne Street, restaurants, and more! Want to support the Red Sox and Boston? Make sure to find apparel by clicking the link here.

Share your favorite Red Sox memories with us at #HomestayBoston or tagging @globalimmersions!

Exploring Boston Trails

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Are you interested in walking or biking along Boston's beautiful scenery? Learning about Boston's intriguing history? Whether you want to take a simple stroll or get your steps in for the day, check out some of these trails!


The Freedom Trail: Follow a red, brick trail through Boston that goes past 16 Revolutionary War landmarks. Walk past the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old North Church, famous burial grounds, where the Boston Tea Party began, Kings Chapel, the Old South Meeting Hall, Paul Revere's Statue and the Bunker Hill monument. 2.5 miles of rich history along this popular trail.


The Emerald Necklace: Walk through 7 miles of  green designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City. The trail starts at the Boston Common and ends at Franklin Park. It passes by Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum. 


Minuteman Trail: Learn about the Revolutionary War through this historic trail. Walk along where Paul Revere rode his 'Midnight Ride' in 1775 and see battle grounds such as Meadow Grounds, Tower Park and the Munroe Tavern. This 10 mile trail also has a railroad history from the mid 1800's. The trail connects Cambridge to Bedford starting at Alewife Station and ending at South Road. People use this trail to commute to work on bike as its well-known around the area.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway: If you're downtown exploring, take a quick 2 mile walk starting at the North End Park, ending at the Chinatown Park. Along the way, check out Paul Revere's house, a carousel, gardens and public art. This trail was named after President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy's mother, Rose F. Kennedy. This trail is accessible by the MBTA through the Aquarium Station, Haymarket Station and South Station.


Southwest Corridor Park / Pierre Lallement Bike Path: Want to walk or bike through Boston? Check out this 4 mile, popular commuter trail for cyclists that runs through the city and runs along Boston's skyscrapers. The path is named after the inventor of the pedal bicycle, Pierre Lallement in 1860. Starting from Dartmouth Street off Mass Turnpike I-90, the path spans through New Washington Street in Jamaica Plain.

South Bay Harbor Trail: Nearly 4 miles, starting at Melnea Cass Blvd. adjacent from Ruggles Station and ending at Pier 4, near the Institution of Contemporary Art, this trail connects many Boston neighborhoods together. Accessible through the MBTA, this trail also includes the Harborwalk displaying Boston's waterfront.

North Bank Bridge: A gorgeous 1/2 mile walk, perfect for Instagram photo opportunities on the bridge over looking Boston. Connecting North Point Park in Cambridge to Paul Revere Park in Charlestown, the path goes underneath the Zakim bridge and above the MBTA tracks.

Want to find more trails to explore? Click here for more Boston trails and here for all Massachusetts trails. 


Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, July 12, 2018

                                                                           

National Ice Cream Day is this Sunday, July 15th!

Ever curious about the difference between soft serve vs. regular ice cream? Here's a little history lesson on the two:

   

Soft Serve 

Who doesn't love the soft, smooth and creamy taste of soft serve ice cream? It was originally invented in 1934 by Tom Carvel after his ice cream truck broke down in Hartsdale, New York.  His ice cream melted, yet customers still bought it. Carvel realized a lighter version of ice cream was a brilliant business idea. He created a secret recipe and opened a store called Carvel  within two years. Dairy Queen  had similar ideas when developing a soft serve recipe in 1938 in Moline, IL.  In a sample tasting of their new product, 1,600 servings were consumed within two hours. Still today, soft serve is a hit among ice cream lovers. It is lower in milk fat and stored at a lower temperature than regular ice cream.  Soft serve is up to 45% air in volume which gives it the fluffiness that melts in your mouth.

Regular Ice Cream 

Variations of ice cream can be traced back centuries to the ancient world.  It began in China around 200 BC where they used a mixture of milk, rice and snow. In 400 BC, Persians ate ice flavored with fruit and rose water. At this time in Ancient Greece, snow with honey and fruit was served at markets in Athens. In Rome, Emperors carried ice from mountains to combine it with fruit. During the sixteenth century, Mughal Emperors in India had ice transported to make fruit sorbets. By the 1600's, ice cream became popular in Europe appearing in recipes in French cookbooks. Ice cream finally reached North America by the mid 1700's as it was introduced by Quaker colonists. Fast forward to the 1840's and ice cream makers were invented in England and America by Agnes Marshall and Nancy Johnson. Today, the average American eats anywhere from 19-23 pounds of ice cream annually. It contains at least 10% milk fat and 16% sweeteners. 12% is milk and 55% is water.



    

Looking for the BEST ice cream in Boston?

There's obviously the infamous Ben & Jerry's,  Emack and Bolio's, and J. P. Lick's, but what about some other local shops?  Here are a few to try around Boston: Gracie's Ice Cream, Christinia's Homemade Ice Cream, Forge Ice Cream Bar,  Lizzy's Ice Cream, Tipping Cow Ice Cream,  BerryLine, Amorino, Toscanini's, Cold Stone Creamery, Juicy Spot Cafe, Blackbird Doughnuts,  Molly Moo's Ice Cream and Cafe.  

Looking for non-dairy options? Try FoMu which serves dairy free ice cream, vegan, gluten free, soy free and kosher sweets.

For more detailed information and the top 10 list check out these links below:

https://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/2018/06/29/best-boston-ice-cream/

https://boston.eater.com/maps/best-new-ice-cream-boston

     

Craving Gelato and the Italian experience

Head to the North End to be transported to Italy to enjoy some delicious gelato.  During the summer, you can stroll the streets of the North End while enjoying a cone without the airfare!  Click here for a list of places in the North End where you can find the best gelato.

Fun Facts about Ice Cream

  • Chocolate ice cream was invented before vanilla
  • Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor
  • In Norway, the record for the tallest ice cream cone was over 10 feet tall
  • 90 % of American's have ice cream in their freezer
  • New Zealand consumes the most ice cream
  • A record holding 1.75 gallons of ice cream was eaten in eight minutes 
  • Some of the strangest ice cream flavors are lobster, octopus, horseradish and raw horse flesh... ew!

Whether you're chilling at home or out at the beach, we hope you beat the heat and celebrate a day for eating ice cream!

   


Set up Camp This Summer

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, July 05, 2018

Spend some time in the great outdoors this summer at one of Massachusetts' many camp grounds. Although some of these sites are located only a short distance from Boston, you'll feel miles and miles away from the loud noises of the city. Massachusetts has several different State Parks that are open for camping. You can visit this state website for a full list of camp grounds and to reserve a campsite.

Wompatuck State Park: Hingham, MA

Wompatuck State Park is easily accessible from Boston, just 35 minutes South of the city.  The 3,526 acre park extends from Hingham to the nearby towns of Cohasset, Scituate, and Norwell. The land was originally the property of Indian chief Josiah Wompatuck who gave the land to English Settlers in 1665. During WWII and the Korean War, the land served as an ammunition depot for the U.S. military. Wompatuck offers 262 campsites, of which 140 have electricity. The campground also contains a 12 mile network of bike trails as well as areas for fishing, running, and walking. The park is also pet friendly and a popular spot for dog walking.  

Harold Parker State Forrest: Andover, MA

Only 20 miles North of Boston, Harold Parker State Forest is an ideal campsite for those who want a real "forest" camping experience. Each campsite is spread out so that campers are immersed in the nature and secluded from one another. The camp ground has more than 35 miles of roads and trails that are great for outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Fishing and non-motorized boating are also permitted on any of the campground's 11 ponds. While in the area campers can visit nearby State Parks, such as Bradley State Park, Boxford State Park, Cleveland Farm State Park, and Willowdale State Park.

                                             Salisbury Beach State ReservationSalisbury, MA

Salisbury Beach is a popular tourist destination North of Boston on the New Hampshire border. The State Reservation is a perfect spot for those who want to stay by the beach and don't mind being surrounded by other campers. There are 484 campsites arranged to resemble a small town, completed with lettered streets. The camping experience at Salisbury Beach is therefore very different from a secluded campsite in the forest. Each campsite is a short walk to the ocean and is equipped with water, a picnic table, a BBQ grill and bathroom and shower facilities.

Camp Nihan Education Center: Saugus, MA

Camp Nihan, located in nearby Saugus, MA is the perfect campsite for larger groups. The 65-acre camp ground offers group campsites as well as cabins furnished with bunk beds and a dining area. Camp Nihan also offers free nature education classes to visiting schools and non-profit groups. The area, once a Native American campsite, is home to a variety of wildlife such owls, otters, and turtles. The Saugus river runs through the camp grounds and contains different species of freshwater fish. The campsite is also a short hike away from Breakheart State Reservation, where campers can go for swimming, hiking, and other activities.

Your Guide to July 4th in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, June 29, 2018

Boston is an exciting city during the week of July 4th. The city is a host of many different events, from concerts to parades to historical reenactments. City-sponsored celebrations are popular with Boston residents and tend to be very successful is drawing large crowds of  participants. If you plan on spending Independence Day in Boston consider attending one of these major events.


Boston Pop's Concert and Fireworks Show

The annual performance by the Boston Pop's, lead by famous conductor Keith Lockhart, will once again take place at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. This year's lineup features headliner Rachel Platten, a Newton native and artist of the popular 2015 track "Fight Song". The concert will also have performances by Rhiannon Giddens, of Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Indigo Girls, and an appearance by actress Rita Moreno. The free event offers seating on a first come first serve basis and is likely to be crowded- so show up early! An identical concert will be held on July 3rd, however unlike the July 4th show, this concert will not be followed by a fireworks display. Both concerts begins at 8:00 pm and the fireworks show on the 4th will start at 10:30 pm. If you can't make the show in person, you can watch it live online.

Harbor Fest

Harbor Fest is an annual event that celebrates Boston's Harbor and History. Harbor Fest hosts many events over independence day weekend. Such events include live music performances, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail Walks, and boat tours. The festival will also include a clambake and scavenger hunt. Marty Walsh will cut the ceremonial Harbor Fest cake at Faneuil Hall on June 28th, signifying the start of the festival that will last through July 4th. The Harbor Fest website provides a full schedule of events during the week, which you can find here.

Independence Day Recognition

Boston's official Independence Day recognition and Parade will take place at 9:00 am on July 4th at City Hall Plaza. The event begins with a flag raising ceremony and then continues with a parade to the Granary Burial Ground, where wreaths are laid on the graves of patriots before the parade marches on to the Old State House by Faneuil Hall. At 10:00 am the Declaration of Independence will bead read from the balcony at the Old State House by the current Captain Commanding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, to mimic the way the document was read to the citizens of Boston in July of 1776.

Source: Masslive, BostonUSA, Boston Magazine

International Summer Festivals

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 29, 2018

June 22nd will be the longest day of the year. The Summer Solstice signifies the first official day of summer in the United States and the start of what will hopefully be a period of warmer weather in Boston! The meaning of the Summer Solstice varies across cultures, though many recognize the start of summer with special holidays, festivals or rituals. While the United States does not have a popular holiday related to the start of summer, other areas of the world have specific cultural traditions that celebrate the Summer Solstice. Here is how some countries welcome the start of the summer season.

Kupala Night

Kupala Night is a celebration observed in countries with Slavic ancestry such as Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and Belarus. The festival signifies the end of the summer solstice and the start of the harvest season. During this festival participants build fires that they then jump over to demonstrate bravery and strength. A strong theme of the festival is love, and couples will jump over the fire while holding hands to prove that their relationship will last. Additionally, women will float flower wreathes in rivers, which men then try to capture, in the hope of also capturing the interest of the woman who floated the wreath. A sinking wreath is considered a predication of loneliness while a floating wreath indicates the prospect of love. Some participants will also search through the woods for the mythical "fern flower", which is thought to bring good fortune if found, although botanical experts do not believe that this flower actually exists. Historically, this search was an excuse for unmarried couples to spend alone time together without a chaperone, though today is done just for fun. While the festival has Pagan roots it has been incorporated into the Christian calendar as "St. Johns Eve" however, it still contains Pagan elements such as fortune telling rituals and the wearing of flower crowns. Many of these traditions are customary to rural areas as the holiday has been given a more modern twist is major cities where fireworks and concerts are also held.


Midsummer

At the start of the Swedish holiday of Midsummer, many Swedes head to the country side to begin their five week summer vacation.  On Midsummer's Eve (usually a Friday between the 19th and 25th of June) cities essentially shut down as many businesses close and streets are deserted. Families gather together in the country and have large celebrations complete with traditional dances around a may pole and crafting flower wreathes and other decorations. A typical midsummer meal is a variety of pickled herring and potatoes as well as grilled salmon or ribs followed by strawberries for desert. After dinner many Swedes go out dancing. Midsummer is also a popular time for weddings or christenings. Despite the fact thatSwedes are not particularly religious, many people want to get married at a country church during this time of year.


The Duanwu Festival

The Duanwu Festival, known in the West as the "Dragon Boat Festival", is a traditional Chinese holiday that takes place each year near the summer solstice.The festival is also often called the "Double Fifth Festival" as it takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Lunar Calendar. This year the festival will take place from June 16th to 18th. The Festival celebrates Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who is considered to be a martyr in the country. Qu Yaun was a member of the ruling house in the ancient state of Chu.  He drowned himself when the powerful Chinese state of Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. The story of Qu Yuan describes how local admirers of Qu raced out on boats to try to save him. When they could not find Qu, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that fish would eat them instead of Qu's body. This is the origin of Duanwu's dragon boat races and the reason why people snack on "zongzi", or sticky rice balls, during this holiday.

Boston will hold its own Dragon Boat Festival this summer. The 39th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will take place over the weekend of June 9th - 10th and feature Dragon Boat races as well as performances, art, and food.


The Bon Festival

Japan's Bon Festival, or Obon, occurs this year on August 13th - 15th. The three day celebration honors Japanese ancestors and has become an opportunity for families to reunite and spend time together. During the festival people hang lanterns outside their houses to help guide their dead ancestors back home. Families will also visit and clean the graves of loved ones who have died. Perhaps the most significant tradition of the Bon Festival is the Bon Odori, a traditional folk dance that welcomes the spirit of the dead. The dance is different in each region with songs a lyrics specific to that area.

Boston will also host Obon celebrations this summer. Historically Japanese schools such as Boston Higashi School and Showa Boston will each have their own Bon Festival featuring music, dancing, and Japanese food.

Source: WikipediaCulture Trip, Meet the Slavs, Sweden.se, Colorzine

(Free) Outdoor Events

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, May 07, 2018

Boston is finally seeing warmer weather, which means that it's a great time to be outside enjoying the sun and the city. Throughout the summer, different organizations are putting on events around Boston- and the best part is that they're free! If you're looking for something to do during the week, after work, or over the weekend, check out some of these fun events starting this month.

Lawn on D

Beginning this month and throughout the summer, the Lawn on D is open to the public almost every day. The Lawn on D is an open community space offering a variety of lawn games; such as bocce, corn hole, Jenga, ping-pong, giant chess, lawn checkers, and large connect-four. The Lawn on D also has a concession stand with a complete menu of food and beverages. During the week, the Lawn on D hosts different events, that are usually free to attend. Every Thursday night, the Lawn on D will host a free movie showing outdoors on a large projection screen. On the weekends the Lawn has live music performances or parties sponsored by different companies like Del's lemonade or Harpoon Brewery.

Boston Calling Block Parties

Boston Calling Block Parties are a free event series occurring every Thursday from now until the end of the summer. The event takes place weekly from 5 pm-8 pm in Dewey Square Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and features a free performance from different local artists as well as a selection of beverages for those that wish to drink.

                                                                               

Berklee Greenway Concert Series

Pack a picnic and go support local artists! Talented musicians from Boston's Berklee College of music will be giving live performances in the North End area of the Rose Kennedy Greenway on Hanover street. Concerts will take place every Friday at 5:00 pm. These free concerts are a great way to hear some of the up and coming artists from Berklee while spending time relaxing outside.

                                                                              

The Coolidge At the Greenway

The Coolidge Corner theater is partnering with the Rose Kennedy Greenway to screen classic films outdoors in Wharf District Park during the summer. All films will be screened in 35 mm and begin at sunset. Spectators are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs to enjoy the film.

Boston's Hidden Museum Gems

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, April 27, 2018

Boston has many well know museums, like The Museum of Science, The Museum of Fine Arts, or the Boston Children's Museum, just to name a few. What a lot of people don't know is that the Boston area has a ton of other lesser-known museums, that are just as interesting as those that are more commonly frequented. What most people also don't know is that many of these museums are free or discounted for students. If you have visited many of the more popular or "touristy" museums in Boston and want something new, check out one of these "hidden-gem" museums in the city.


Museum of African American History

The Museum of African American History contains some of the most important historical landmarks and acts as an important memorial to African American History in New England. The Museum's Boston location includes the Abiel Smith School and African Meeting House, located in Boston's Beacon Hill, a historically African American neighborhood in the 19th century. The African Meeting House has undergone historic restoration, returning the building to its 1855 appearance. The building was once a church, school, and community meeting place. The Abiel Smith school is the oldest surviving public school in the United States that was built for the purpose of educating African American children.  The Museum also conducts walking tours of the African American History Trail, which encompasses historic sites that depict life in Boston for free African Americans before the civil war. The MAAH contains some of the most important historical landmarks in the nation and acts as an important memorial to African American History in New England.

The Museum of Bad Art

While most art museums are dedicated to celebrated works of art, The Museum of Bad Art is dedicated to art that is exceptionally bad. This unconventional museum, located beneath the Somerville Theater, contains a collection of art that is "so bad its good." Some of the pieces are less appealing works of normally talented artists, whereas others have been created by "amateurs". The museum is great because it displays works that would never be hung in traditional galleries. The museum celebrates and honors the labor and creativity of artists whose work would otherwise go unappreciated or unseen. Admission to the museum is free with the purchase of a movie pass to the theater, however free passes can also be requested on the MoBA website if you want to skip the film.

The Gibson House Museum

The Gibson House was one of the first homes to be built in Back Bay. The Museum provides an inside look into a 19th century Victorian row house in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood. The home, occupied for three generations by the Gibson's, a wealthy Bostonian family, has been preserved in its original 1860 style. The Museum collection includes original wallpaper, textiles, furniture, and family artifacts.  

The Boston Fire Museum

The mission of The Boston Fire Museum is to "preserve and display the fire fighting memorabilia from the Greater Boston area" while educating the public on fire safety and supporting fire fighters in general.  The Museum, which is housed in the old firehouse at 344 Congress Street in Boston's Seaport district, includes fire fighting artifacts such as alarms, equipment, antique fire apparatus and photographs. One of the most interesting exhibits at the Museum is the display of old fire trucks from the 18th and 19th centuries. Admission to the Fire Museum is free.


Warren Anatomical Museum

The Warren Anatomical Museum, located at Harvard Medical School, is one of the last surviving anatomy and pathology museums associated with a medical school. The Museum contains artifacts of health science, that in combination, detail the history of the profession. One of the more famous exhibits is the skull of Phineas Gage. The story of Phineas Gage is well known in the medical community as it informed much of what we know today about the brain and the way it functions. Phineas Gage survived an injury in which a metal rod was pierced through his skull and he was still able to function, though noticeable changes in his personality occurred after.


The Commonwealth Museum

The Commonwealth Museum is located near the more well -known JFK Library, and contains everything you would ever want to know about Massachusetts. The Museum's exhibit includes documents on the Pilgrims, dating from 1603, as well as letters from Governor John Winthrop, papers from Vice President John Adams, and records of the Sacco and Vanzetti case. Other popular artifacts include Paul Revere's copper plate depicting the Boston Massacre, The written charter given by Charles I to John Winthrop when he sailed from England to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as well as Massachusetts' copy of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to the trove of documents, the Museum also has many interactive exhibits that are interesting for kids as well as adults. Entry into the museum is free.


Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House

Further away from Boston, but still accessible by the Commuter Rail's Fitchburg Line, is Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, the home where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set her famous novel "Little Women," a story modeled off of events and characters in the author's own life. Upon visiting the Alcott's home visitors can tour the house as well as learn about the family and items in the home that were significant to them. The home has been well preserved since it was lived in by the Alcott family. While you are in the area, you may want to also visit the nearby Walden Pond Reservation, a place made famous by Henry David Thoreau's Walden.

Lesser-Known Tip: Free Museums for Bank of America Card Holders

If you are a Bank of America card holder, as many of our international visitors are, you can receive free admission to many popular Massachusetts museums during the first full weekend of every month.  You can find a list of qualifying museums here.


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive