Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blue & Green Museum Set to Open in 2010

Metropolitan WaterWorks Museum acquires spectacular historic nineteenth-century pumping station in Chestnut Hill Blue & Green museum to open in 2010

The Metropolitan WaterWorks Museum, Inc. has taken title to the 22,000 square-foot Exhibit Hall in the nationally significant Richardsonian Romanesque style Chestnut Hill High Service Pumping Station. It is located in one of the City’s most successful luxury condominium developments, The Waterworks at Chestnut Hill, a redevelopment undertaken by EA Fish Companies and Edward A. Fish that includes 112 residential condominiums. The Museum Building represents the completion of the last phase of this extraordinary project, which is approximately 95 percent sold out.

In addition, many other organizations and elected officials played a crucial role in creating this cultural venue, including the Commonwealth's Division of Capital Asset Management and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, as well as the Commonwealth's Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, State Senator Steven Tolman and the entire local legislative delegation, the Friends of the Waterworks, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Boston Landmarks Commission, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Boston Water & Sewer Commission and numerous other state and local elected officials, agencies and groups.

Planning and design have begun on the creation of this new discovery and learning museum devoted to the environmental, technological and historical aspects of the supply of clean water to metropolitan Boston from the founding of the city to the present. The museum is located at 2450 Beacon Street, across the street from the historic Chestnut Hill Reservoir (recently re-named Chestnut Hill Reservation), in the Brighton section of Boston. A mid-2010 public grand opening celebration is planned.

The Metropolitan WaterWorks Museum Inc. is a newly formed and locally based non-profit organization. Its distinguished Board of Directors is drawn from Boston and the neighboring communities of Brookline and Newton. The Board brings a remarkable wealth of knowledge in the areas of museum operations, architecture, industrial technology, history, historic preservation, and landscape design, as well as finance, management, real estate, fundraising, and community leadership.

Maureen Melton, Chair of the Museum’s Exhibition Committee and a resident of Brighton, expressed its desire "to create a museum and exhibits that visitors of all ages will be eager to visit time and again.” She further explained that “the Committee plans to tell the stories of those who designed, built and operated the Waterworks from the time it was founded in 1887”.

The new museum, situated in one of Boston's most magnificent and recognizable structures, will provide exhibitions, programs and collections that explore and interpret a number of important themes:
• the role of clean water in the development of Boston, past and present;
• the architectural history and significance of the Metropolitan Water Works and its water system;
• steam technology and the preservation and restoration of three original steam engines that soar almost three stories high; and
• water conservation and environmental issues related to preserving and maintaining clean water for everyone.

A two story glass and steel addition inside the building, designed by Graham Gund, provides exhibition and meeting spaces with spectacular views of the huge engines.

The High Service building, Boston’s first public pumping station, delivered clean water to all parts of Boston and the metropolitan area. The entire site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, as well as being a designated City of Boston Landmark. One of the historic steam engines, named for designer Erasmus Leavitt, is also a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

In talking about the new museum, John Quatrale, the Museum's Director, said he is confident that "there is always an audience for well-organized exhibitions that both inspire and entertain, while also providing a good learning experience." Further, he said, "We think we'll be unique in that our multi-faceted subject areas will draw visitors with many different interests."