Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum
20 Chestnut Hill Ave
Brighton, MA

Allston Brighton Tab Article on the Grand Opening

Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum to open
By Lara Farrar/Correspondent
Thursday, February 22, 2007 - Updated: 02:03 PM EST

Six months ago, John Quatrale, a long-term Brighton resident and former member of the Boston Landmarks Commission, along with Bill Marchione, president of the Brighton-Allston Historical Society, came up with idea of creating the museum for Brighton-Allston’s Bicentennial.

“We started talking and one thing led to another,” said Quatrale. “Before we knew it, we were not only doing an exhibition, but we were also building a museum.”

Once the word spread about the project, volunteers from all over Brighton and Allston began pouring in to help and have only increased in numbers.

Historians, carpenters, painters and electricians have all joined the vision, donating their talent and time to create a space that commemorates the community’s unique past.

“I am honored and inspired to be among the people that I have been with over the past six months in creating this museum,” said Barbara Moss, a member of the museum’s planning committee. “So many people have done so much.”

The Brighton-Allston Historical Society is premiering the museum, which is located in the lower level of the Senior Center, on Feb. 24 from 3-8 p.m. The opening is free, and will feature a catered reception as well as serve as the inaugural event for this year’s bicentennial celebration.

“I think people are becoming excited,” said Marchione. “I see this museum as becoming a major cultural and educational center for Brighton and Allston.”

The new Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum encompasses an approximately 1,500-foot space in the Senior Center and features two galleries, Marchione said.

The main gallery houses a permanent collection titled “Brighton Transformed: From Native American Settlement to Urban Diversity.” This collection includes a vast array of photographs, documents and other artifacts that chronologically highlight major historical points for the community.

The gallery is organized around six main themes, including “Early History,” “Transportation” and “Institutional History,” and features an interactive web station where visitors can watch a video from the Allston-Brighton Oral History Project.

Artifacts include an Ionic capital from Brighton’s 1841 Town Hall along with valuable pieces of Paul Revere pottery which was manufactured in Brighton between 1916 and 1940. 

The artifacts are displayed in cases donated from the Museum of Fine Arts and Harvard University, said Marchione.

The second gallery is titled “The Winship Gallery” in commemoration of the family responsible for establishing the cattle and horticultural industries in Brighton and Allston during the 18th and 19th centuries.

This gallery features rotating exhibitions, said Marchione.

The Winship Gallery’s first exhibition is titled “Bull Market: the Rise, Prominence and Decline of New England’s Cattle Industry” and traces the rise and fall of the cattle industry in Brighton.

“At various points, there were hundreds of thousands of cattle being bought, packed, slaughtered and moved here,” said Quatrale.

The gallery also has a wall dedicated to the history of the Winship family along with a classroom space featuring another web station and television for teaching presentations.

The majority of photographs and artifacts featured in the museum’s inaugural exhibitions have come from the BAHS. The project has received donations from within the community and is still collecting photographs, documents and artifacts for future exhibitions.

“The collection continues to grow,” said Marchione. “To have an opportunity to display all of these objects to the general public is very exciting.”

Volunteers from the community will be largely running the new space, and a permanent museum committee will be established following the museum’s premier.

The Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum will be open Tuesday-Friday between noon and 4 p.m. along with the second and fourth Saturday of every month between noon and 4 p.m. Admission is free.