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Boston Society of Natural History

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Boston Society of Natural History

The Boston Society of Natural History (1830-1948) in Boston, Massachusetts, was an organization dedicated to the study and promotion of natural history. It published a scholarly journal and established a museum. In its first few decades, the society occupied several successive locations in Boston's Financial District, including Pearl Street, Tremont Street and Mason Street. In 1864 it moved into a newly constructed museum building in the Back Bay, designed by architect William Gibbons Preston. In 1951 the society evolved into the Museum of Science, and relocated to its current site on the Charles River.

Brief history

Founders of the society in 1830 included Amos Binney Jr.; Edward Brooks; Walter Channing; Henry Codman; George B. Emerson; Joshua B. Flint; Benjamin D. Greene; Simon E. Greene; William Grigg; George Hayward; D. Humphreys Storer; and John Ware. Several had previously been involved with the Linnaean Society of New England. By 1838, the society held "regular meetings on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month." "In its collection are about 700 specimens in mineralogy and geology, besides the rich collection of Dr. C.T. Jackson, and the state collection; botany, 5,000; mammalia, 30 entire skeletons and 30 crania; birds, 200 species; reptiles, 130; insects, about 15,000; crustacea, 130; radiata, 190. Library, 600 volumes and pamphlets. The room ... gratuitously opened to the public every Wednesday from 12 to 2 o'clock."

Among the many scholars and curators affiliated with the society: Alexander Emanuel Agassiz; T.T. Bouve; Thomas Mayo Brewer; George Emerson; A.A. Gould; F.W.P. Greenwood; Charles Thomas Jackson; Charles Sedgwick Minot; Albert Ordway; Samuel Hubbard Scudder; Charles J. Sprague; Alpheus Hyatt, and Jeffries Wyman.

"After World War II, under the leadership of Bradford Washburn, the society sold the Berkeley Street building, changed its name to the Boston Museum of Science. ... The cornerstone for the new Museum was laid at Science Park [in 1949] and a temporary building was erected to house the Museum's collections and staff. In 1951, the first wing of the new Museum officially opened."


Boston Society of Natural History Wikipedia

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