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Join the House Museum Alliance of Downtown Boston this October 20th to learn about the medical histories of Boston’s house museums. The Paul Revere House, the Nichols House Museum, the William Hickling Prescott House, and the Gibson House Museum will draw from their knowledge, archives, and collections to illuminate stories of Boston’s medical past over three centuries.
Open to the public but advanced registration is required.
Full-day tickets (four tours, roughly 25-30 minutes each): $20 members*, $25 non-members.
Half-day tickets (two tours, roughly 25-30 minutes each): $12 members*, $15 non-members.
*Member rates apply to those with current memberships to any of the participating institutions.
Paul Revere House
Paul Revere’s role as a midnight messenger on the eve of the American Revolution is well known, but did you know that he was also a dentist? Learn about Revere’s many unexpected connections to the medical field in a special lecture Beyond the Ride: Paul Revere and Medicine by Nina Rodwin, graduate student and historical interpreter at the Paul Revere House.
Lecture at 10:30 am at the Paul Revere House, 19 North Square, Boston, MA 02113. Lecture approximately 30 minutes.
For more information visit www.paulreverehouse.org or call (617) 523-2338.
Nichols House Museum
The Nichols House Museum preserves and interprets the 1804 Bulfinch townhouse that was home to the garden designer, writer, and social reformer Rose Standish Nichols (1872-1960) and her family. Open to the public year-round, this historic house museum reflects the domestic life of a typical Beacon Hill family at the turn of the last century. This family included Dr. Arthur Howard Nichols, a Harvard trained physician who practiced medicine from 1869 until 1905. Nichols, who also studied in Paris at the Ecoléé de Médicine, first began seeing patients at his home on Warren Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts before moving his practice to the family’s second home on Beacon Hill (now the Nichols House Museum). The Warren Street house was built in 1846 by the eminent surgeon Dr. John Collins Warren on the site of the birthplace General Joseph Warren of Revolutionary War fame. This tour will explore Dr. Arthur Nichols’ education, the illnesses and patients he tended to, and how his Roxbury home’s connection to an illustrious family of doctors influenced how he practiced medicine. Visitors will explore three rooms of the Nichols House Museum including its library, previously Arthur’s medical office. Dr. Nichols medical diaries will also be on view.
Tour at 12:00pm at the Nichols House Museum, 55 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA, 02108. Tour approximately 30 minutes.
William Hickling Prescott House
William Hickling Prescott is widely regarded as one of America’s great historians and intellectuals of the mid-19th century. His numerous volumes on Spanish colonial history are still considered among the most important written on the subject. These impressive academic accomplishments, however, are unprecedented due to the fact that Prescott’s entire oeuvre was written with the assistance of a noctograph. The writing instrument was patented in 1806 by Ralph Wedgewood in England and allowed Prescott to pursue his prodigious career after losing the use of one eye and the subsequent deterioration of the other following an accident at Harvard College. Prescott used a stylus to write between metal bands onto paper coated with ink on the back side which acted like carbon paper. Not only did Prescott gain prominence in his chosen career, he was also a founder and member of the board of trustees of the Perkins School for the Blind (then called the Perkins School). Prescott expanded his Federal style house, where he lived from 1845 to his death in 1859, by adding a library and a study. His study which includes his desk, noctograph, and glasses will be the highlight of the tour.
Tour at 2:00pm at the William Hickling Prescott House, 55 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108. Tour approximately 30 minutes.
For more information visit https://nscdama.org/william-hickling-prescott-house/ or call (617) 742-3190.
Gibson House Museum
The Gibson House, home to three generations of the Gibson family between 1860 and 1954, is a time capsule of nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century Boston domestic life. This tour will draw upon the museum's rich archives and collections to paint a picture of Victorian-era family health and hygiene, paying special attention to the ways in which the Gibson House’s layout and technologies promoted personal well-being. Also to be explored is the family’s connection to generations of prominent Boston doctors, including Dr. Joseph Warren of Revolutionary War fame; founder of Harvard Medical School Dr. John Warren; and Dr. John Collins Warren, who performed the first surgery using ether anesthesia.
Tour at 3:00pm at the Gibson House Museum, 137 Beacon Street, Boston, MA. Tour approximately 30 minutes.
The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation
The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation is open on Saturday, October 20th from 11:00am-5:00pm for self-guided experiences. Admission is free.
The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation tells the rich story of Mass General through interactive media displays, artifacts and photographs. You can learn about the hospital's important contributions to the medical field and see how these discoveries and advancements have shaped the present – and how the hospital can continue to shape the future of medicine.
The Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History is located at 2 North Grove Street, Boston, MA 02114. For more information, visit https://www.massgeneral.org/museum, email email@example.com, or call (617) 724-8009.