Digital Commonwealth

Boston Children’s Museum Lantern Slides

Boston Children's Museum

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Founded in 1913 by a group of teachers in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, Boston Children's Museum began a "hands–on" tradition long before that phrase became commonplace. Through museum games, clubs, and field trips, curators and docents helped children and youth make sense of and even contribute to the growing collections. In the 1920 annual report, curator Delia Griffin explained that the museum’s goal was not just interpreting objects but "training the plastic minds of children to observe accurately and think logically." This focus on skill development, as opposed to content acquisition, has been central to the museum’s history. As early as 1913, it meant engaging youth in identifying and marking nature walks, preparing specimens, making clay and wax models for exhibits, and caring for live animals. These images celebrate the history of the museum from 1913 through 1960.

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