Gibson House Museum
137 Beacon Street, Boston , MA 02116 - United States
The Gibson House is a historic house museum located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. Now a National Historic Landmark, the home served as residence to three generations of Gibson family members and their household staff between 1859 and 1954. The Museum’s four floors of period rooms, including the original kitchen, are a time capsule of domestic life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Visitors experience the house through guided tours that interpret class and culture through the stories and objects of the people who lived and worked there.
The Gibson House served as the location of Jo March’s (Saoirse Ronan) New York boardinghouse and her publisher’s (Tracy Letts) home office in the 2019 "Little Women" film.
Visitors will be able to explore three floors of the museum on their own. Staff will be on hand to offer insight and answer questions. This is a rare opportunity to visit the museum outside of a guided tour.
Welcome to nineteenth century Boston!
A center of manufacturing and shipping, the population has grown from about 15,000 inhabitants in 1760 (fifteen years before the start of the Revolutionary War) to about 200,000 people by 1860. In this period, Boston is experiencing an influx of Irish and Italian immigrants. Society is divided along strict class lines; wealth and power is concentrated in the elites, also known as “Brahmins.” The Gibsons are one such Brahmin family and their experiences offer us an opportunity to explore class and culture in nineteenth and early twentieth century Boston.
Our story begins with Catherine Hammond Gibson’s pioneering move to the Back Bay, Boston’s newest and trendiest residential neighborhood. The Gibson house, designed by noted Boston architect Edward Clarke Cabot, was completed in 1860. Between 1860 and 1954, seven different Gibson family members and dozens of their employees lived at 137 Beacon Street. The interior is filled with the family’s original furnishings—elegant wallpapers, imported carpets, and an abundance of furniture, art, and family heirlooms. The working spaces of the house, including a kitchen, laundry room, and coal shed, also remain.
The Gibson House Museum exists because of the vision of Charlie Gibson, Jr., a poet, horticulturist, and notable Boston character. As a gay man, Charlie never married nor had children. Beginning in 1936, he decided to preserve his nineteenth-century townhouse as a monument to his family’s legacy and to the Boston of his youth. The Gibson House officially opened to the public as a museum in 1957.
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