Housed inside Boston's monumental textile mill, the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation invites guests on a trek through American history with a collection of artifacts dating as far back as 1812. Throughout the building's hallowed halls, interactive displays cleverly disguise education as amusement, coaxing visitors both young and old to steer a 19th-century fire engine, play a foot-powered piano, and teach an antique telephone switchboard how to send text messages. Enduring exhibits also showcase Waltham's industrious past with displays dedicated solely to textiles, watches and clocks, and transportation, including bicycles and penny-farthings powered by shredded pieces of yellow journalism. Members can take advantage of such perks as complimentary museum admission, invitations to special events, and unlimited use of the museum library.
After devoting years to protecting precious pictures and keepsakes from environmental harm, the Middlesex Framing crew has amassed an inventory of highly protective materials. Acid-free matting keeps photographs and certificates from deteriorating over time, UV-protection glass guards against sunlight’s discoloring rays, and museum glass deters bandits who somehow made it across the living room’s laser alarm grid. Partnering with Larson-Juhl, the crew is able to access more than 1,500 molding samples and matting combinations—ensuring that each piece is both protected and enhanced by its border.
The winner of Boston.com’s A-List for Best Fine Jewelry 2010, Karenna Maraj Jewelry dresses up drab garments with wearable art and passes along jewelry-making skills through enlightening classes. In the two-hour metalsmithing class, participants imbibe the knowledge of the jewelry gods, learning how to transform shapeless metal into beautiful bangles, pendants, and dental braces. Students shape, cut, solder, hammer, and polish two projects during the class, including a bangle and a pendant hammered from brass, copper wire, and black cord (all included, gold and silver can be purchased for an additional fee). Cutouts, stamps, and designs can be added to each piece, yielding a beautiful accessory ready to take home at the end of the class. With attendance capped at six pupils, students get plenty of one-on-one attention and the chance to fence a jewelry-saw master. Classes are held at the following times:
A haven for exotic animals rescued from neglect or abandonment, Animal Adventures lets visitors interact with its furry and scaly refugees, teaching them firsthand to appreciate and respect the earth's diverse wildlife. Working with a rotating cast of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and marsupials, animal experts regale audiences with facts and the backstories of each animal, such as how they were rescued and which cartoon representative of their species best captures their regional accent. Though its denizens regularly find new homes, Animal Adventures's altruistic menagerie has included a massive alligator snapping turtle, a canadian lynx, and an asian water monitor. The sanctuary also offers day camps for youngsters looking to get closer with the animals, and an animal-adoption program for adults looking to support the cause by taking a critter home and putting it through college.
With the largest collection of Russian icons in North America, this museum gives its visitors a glimpse into an important part of Russian culture in play since the year 998. It houses more than 500 Russian artifacts, and also encompasses a research library and archive with a collection that spans six centuries. Onsite classes let interested parties delve even more deeply into the artifacts’ context and history, and the three-story building’s elevators and other amenities render it fully accessible to patrons in wheelchairs and on unicycles. Today, the museum spans 16,000 square feet and includes an old mill building, though over the years it has expanded to encompass extra gallery space, a tea room, and a performance area dedicated to cross-cultural understanding.
A treasury of American art from the 18th century to the present day, with a particular emphasis on the school of Boston expressionism, the Danforth Museum of Art treats patrons to an array of ever-changing exhibits. Running June 12–August 7, the museum's juried exhibitions highlight pieces selected by discriminating art experts, rather than by fickle magic 8 balls. Along with the annual flagship presentation Off the Wall, which features new and exciting work from contemporary artists living and working in New England, this year's new Picture This! exhibit fills the Danforth Children's Gallery with work from regional children's-book illustrators working without the aid of talking-caterpillar apprentices. A third exhibition, A Community of Artists, displays hand-picked artwork chosen after the selection process for the other two showcases.