Brighton-Allston Heritage Museum
20 Chestnut Hill Ave
Allston Brighton Tab Article on the Grand Opening
Heritage Museum opening draws almost 200
By Karen Elowitt/Staff Writer
Thursday, March 01, 2007 - Updated: 05:34 PM EST
On Saturday, Feb. 24, exactly 200 years to the day from Brighton’s incorporation in 1807, a huge crowd celebrated the past, present and future of the community at the opening of the new Brighton-Allston Heritage museum.
At the successful reception, Mayor Menino and close to 200 others indulged in sparkling champagne and sinful finger food while being serenaded by beautiful music.
“This is the largest crowd I’ve ever seen at one of these events,” said Menino, who praised the numerous volunteers and organizations who donated their time, money and expertise to bring the project to fruition.
“I was proud that we played a small part — we gave you the cellar,” joked Menino, referring to the fact that the museum is located in the basement of the Veronica Smith Senior Center.
But building a museum in the basement wasn’t the original plan, according to Bill Marchione, president of the Brighton-Allston Historical Society and co-chairman of the museum planning committee.
Marchione said that the Historical Society was initially intending to stage a one-time exhibition about Allston-Brighton history, to coincide with the bicentennial.
However, last spring, the management of the Veronica Smith Senior Center offered permanent space in two of its basement rooms, and the idea for a museum was born.
Marchione and several others, including local resident John Quatrale, who has consulted on several other local museum projects, and Maureen Melton, staff archivist at the Museum of Fine Arts, combined their expertise and spent the last few months diligently putting together exhibits and displays.
“I’m just overjoyed at the way things turned out,” said Marchione. “John Quatrale was to thank for the professional quality of exhibits. Maureen was instrumental in getting the exhibits up and running. A lot of people who are professionally trained contributed to this project.”
The museum is intended to be a living institution that will serve the people of Brighton, and beyond, for generations to come.
Theresa Hynes, co-chairman for the museum planning committee, talked about the importance of preserving the neighborhood as a friendly, residential community, which the museum will only serve to enhance.
“Think how important preserving the past is,” she said. “Think about the future and those who will be doing this in 100 years. Brighton is at a crossroads. With good planning, the neighborhood will be intact as a viable residential area for years to come.”
Hynes also made a point to mention the diverse ethnic and immigrant communities that make up Allston and Brighton.
“There are no strangers in Brighton, only friends we haven’t met yet,” said Hynes.
Hynes’ remarks were followed by a reading of original poetry by Zen Master Chang Sik Kim from the Buddhist temple on Chestnut Hill Avenue, and the presentation of a calligraphic wall hanging adorned with Korean lettering that translated as “mountain water.”
The museum will be open Tuesdays through Fridays, and the second and fourth Saturday of every month, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit bahistory.org.