Photopost: Old Sturbridge Village


To celebrate the beautiful weather our autumnal holiday, I wanted to get out of the city, get the kids outdoors, and enjoy some foliage. We go to do all three with a visit to Old Sturbridge Village, where we also witnessed an ox plowing competition, rode on a stagecoach, watched a musketry demonstration, and was amazed by a potter at at work at the wheel, among other things.

Here are some highlights of a most photogenic day.

Photopost: Hall of Fame for Great Americans


The Hall of Fame for Great Americans is the nation’s first hall of fame opened in 1900 to honor prominent Americans and located on the campus of the Bronx Community College in New York.  It was originally part of New York University’s Bronx campus (NYU sold the campus to BCC in 1973) and for many years was a major New York City attraction.  Today it is off the beaten path – and there have been no inductions since 1976 – but it is nevertheless a well-maintained outdoor sculpture park in a 630-foot colonnade designed by Stanford White.  I’m aware of it because my mother grew up in the adjacent neighborhood and it was one of her favorite places, partially due to the panoramic views of the Harlem River which are now obstructed by taller trees and new construction.  Yesterday I paid a return visit with my mother and son.

 

 

As you might expect from a grouping selected primarily in the first half of the 20th-century, the Americans represented here are almost all white men, broken down into the following groups: Statesmen, Scientists, Jurists, Teachers, Musicians, Artists and Writers (I may have forgotten a category). There are more women than I expected (although still a small number) and only two African-Americans I think it would be fascinating to see who would be inducted if they continued adding to the current 102 inductees.

Off the top of my head, I put together a list of people I’d consider for induction following the rules that they be United States born or naturalized and deceased for at least 25 years.  A lot of these are no-brainers, some may make you scratch your head, and others may even be controversial.  Let me know what you think, and add your own nominees in the comments.

Pocahontas  1596 1617
Anne Hutchinson 1591 1643
Metacomet  1638 1676
Phillis Wheatley 1753 1784
Merriwether Lewis 1774 1809
Sacagawea  1788 1812
Abigail Adams 1744 1818
Nat Turner 1800 1831
William Clark 1770 1838
Sequoyah 1770 1843
Charles Bulfinch 1763 1844
John Brown 1800 1859
John Roebling 1806 1869
Crazy Horse 1842 1877
William Lloyd Garrison 1805 1879
Sojourner Truth 1797 1883
Dorothea Dix 1802 1887
Sitting Bull 1831 1890
P.T. Barnum 1810 1891
Frederick Douglass 1818 1895
Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1815 1902
Frederick Law Olmsted 1822 1903
Geronimo  1829 1909
Mary Baker Eddy 1821 1910
Harriet Tubman  1822 1913
John Muir 1838 1914
Isabella Stewart Gardner 1840 1924
Samuel Gompers 1850 1924
John Singer Sargent 1856 1925
Eugene Debs 1855 1926
Victoria Woodhull 1838 1927
Stephen Mather 1867 1930
Will Rogers 1879 1935
Huey Long 1893 1935
Bessie Smith 1894 1937
George Gershwin 1898 1937
Amelia Earhart 1897 1937
Nikola Tesla 1856 1943
Ida Tarbell 1857 1944
Fiorello LaGuardia 1882 1947
Babe Ruth 1895 1948
Edwin Hubble 1889 1953
Jim Thorpe 1887 1953
Charlie Parker 1920 1955
Mary McLeod Bethune 1875 1955
Jackson Pollock 1912 1956
Buddy Holly 1936 1959
Frank Lloyd Wright 1867 1959
Ernest Hemingway  1899 1961
William Faulkner 1897 1962
Eleanor Roosevelt  1884 1962
W.E.B. Du Bois 1868 1963
Rachel Carson 1907 1964
Flannery O’Connor 1925 1964
Malik el-Shabazz (Malcolm X) 1925 1965
Walt Disney 1901 1966
Margaret Sanger 1879 1966
Gus Grissom 1926 1967
Edward Hopper 1882 1967
Woody Guthrie  1912 1967
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 1968
Thomas Merton 1915 1968
John Steinbeck 1902 1968
Helen Keller  1880 1968
Jimi Hendrix 1942 1970
Louis Armstrong  1901 1971
Jackie Robinson  1919 1972
Roberto Clemente  1934 1972
Jeanette Rankin 1880 1973
Duke Ellington  1899 1974
Paul Robeson 1898 1976
Groucho Marx 1890 1977
Fannie Lou Hamer  1917 1977
Elvis Presley 1935 1977
Harvey Milk 1930 1978
Charles Mingus 1922 1979
A. Phillip Randolph 1889 1979
Dorothy Day  1897 1980
Alfred Hitchcock 1899 1980
Jesse Owens 1913 1980
Muddy Waters 1913 1983
Georgia O’Keeffe 1887 1986
Christa McAuliffe 1948 1986
Lucille Ball 1911 1986
Benny Goodman 1909 1986
Andy Warhol 1928 1987
James Baldwin 1924 1987
Bayard Rustin 1912 1987
Richard Feynman 1918 1988
Jim Henson 1936 1990
Frank Capra 1897 1991

Photopost: A Visit to the MFA, part seven


Another visit to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. This time I focused on exploring the galleries of the Art of the Americas wing on Level G and Level 1 (I already saw the 20th century art on Level 3 on my first visit).  These galleries contain largely art of the United States from colonial times to the mid-1800s.  There is also a few good galleries of pre-Columbian art from Mesoamerica and a gallery of North American Native Peoples.  The latter gallery mixes art from centuries ago with 20th and 21st century works by Native American artists which makes for interesting comparison and contrast of art motifs over time, but I also wonder why they don’t display them in the 20th century or contemporary galleries like the European and United States works. The remainder of the galleries included a delightful mix of United States decorative arts, architecture, portraiture, landscapes, sculpture, and ship’s models arranged over time and sometimes thematically.  Then I visited the Japanese Garden outside, a beautiful and peaceful place to finish the day.

 

Previous visits:

Photopost: A Visit to the MFA, part six


I had a surprise afternoon free and so made another visit to one of my favorite places Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Having not visited in 6 months, there were a lot of new exhibitions I hadn’t seen so I focused on those:

  • Megacities Asia – 11 artists from 5 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Seoul) create massive, provocative, and interactive works of art inspired by urban life.  The works are spread throughout the galleries of the Museum (and outside, and at Fanueil Hall Marketplace) making for interesting contrasts with other art and human experience.
  • #techstyle – fancy and whacky clothing designed with new technology expounds upon the humor and excess of the fashion world.
  • Visiting Masterpieces: Pairing Picasso – a simple gallery pairing Picasso’s works on similar subjects from different periods of his artistic style.
  • Year of the Monkey – the role of the monkey in Japanese culture explored in art from different eras.
  • Ruined: When Cities Fall – cities destroyed by war or abandonment are depicted in haunting images from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
  • The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris – a collection of the Canadian modernist’s paintings of mountains, water, and glaciers in cool colors and streamlined forms.  The exhibition is curated by Steve Martin!
  • Lawren Harris: Modern Connections from the MFA Collection – adjacent to the Harris exhibit is works of art by his modernist contemporaries with similar styles including Georgia O’Keeffe and Charles Sheeler.

It was a great visit and an enjoyable experience bouncing among masterpieces and brand new creations.

Previous visits:

Photopost: Institute of Contemporary Art


Since I always do things in a prompt manner, yesterday I made my first visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art since they moved from the Back Bay to their new building on the waterfront (which just happened in – OHMYGOD – 2006).  Getting there was not easy as the ceaseless construction of new high-rise buildings in the Seaport District put up many barriers.  But at last I arrived at the notably spiffy ICA building, cantilevered to overlook Boston Harbor.

Despite the large building, the galleries are a small portion of the building largely on the fourth floor.  This means that while I saw pretty much every piece of art on display, it’s probably worth returning for events, performances, films, and new exhibitions.

What I saw:

  • Walid Raad – two exhibits.  Walkthrough, I couldn’t really get into but The Atlas Group was a fascinating examination of found images of the Lebanese civil wars presented as a fictional archival collection.
  • Diane Simpson – sculptures based on clothing, reminiscent of Claes Oldenburg’s sculptures of ordinary objects.
  • The Birthday Party – an immersive installation by three Iranian artists.
  • ICA Collection: Transcending Material – my favorite pieces were in the permanent collection, some photos below.

I probably spent the longest amount of time in the Poss Family Mediatheque looking at the harbor and watching the 30-minutes of chain reactions in “The Way Things Go” by  Peter Fischli and David Weiss, a lesson in physics, chemistry, and film-making.

Photopost: A Visit to the MFA, part five


On another solo visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, I completed touring the Art of Europe galleries, traveling through 17th-century Dutch and Flemish, gaudy 18th-century French decorative art, 19th-century art deemed worthy by the Academy, and finally Impressionism and post-Impressionism.

Then I took the guided tour of the Art of the Americas wing, learning more about old favorites and some new surprises. I’ll probably work my way more methodically through those galleries on my next visit. Before departing I stopped in the Made in the Americas exhibition which was mostly decorative arts and textiles and seemed less interesting than similar exhibits at the Peabody Essex Museum. And I finished with the delightful Musical Instruments collection. I wish I could hear a concert on those instruments.

Previous visits:

Photopost: Getting Dizzy With Izzy


I made another first time in a long time visit to a Boston institution with a day out at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Unlike the Museum of Fine Arts, there is only one work of art at the Gardner Museum, a collaboration of Mrs. Gardner and thousands of painters, sculptors, designers, architects, and gardeners.  This was my first visit since the opening of the new Renzo Piano wing, which is impressive, but seems mostly a utilitarian annex to the historic museum.  It was also the first time I’ve been to the museum since photography is allowed, although only of the courtyard on the main level.  Plenty of scofflaws took photos from the upper levels too, but were only stopped by the guards when using flash.  I followed Mrs. Gardner’s preference of immersing myself in the art and beauty.

Photopost: American Museum of Natural History


This will be the first of several posts from a Spring Break trip to New York City with my mother and my son.

One highlight of the trip was a visit the American Museum of Natural History.  I hadn’t visited the museum since I was a child, and several galleries were much as I remembered.  The AMNH is known for it’s “dead zoo” collections of preserved animals set up in naturalistic dioramas.  I noticed in the African mammals gallery how all the displays were surrounded by marble and carved friezes which made me realize just how much money went into the museum when it was built.  A nearby gallery of mammals from New York State showed that the money was not spread around evenly as it was just simple cases with the pelts of various animals pinned to the wall.  We also explored the halls of North American mammals, Asian mammals, and ocean life.  The highlight of any visit to the AMNH are the two galleries of dinosaur fossils which are vastly different from my childhood with the new scientific understanding of dinosaurs incorporated in the exhibits.

We visited only a fraction of the museum and will have to return to explore more.

Pride of lions
Line of skulls.
T. Rex
Blue whale
Sea otter
Sea lions

Photopost: Colonial Virginia


Some of my favorite photos from our recent trip to Virginia are below.  See the complete photo album on my website.

View of Duke of Gloucester Street from the Capitol Building.

For Spring Break, my son Peter and I traveled to Virginia to visit my mother and play tourist at Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne, and Go-Karts Plus.  It was  three-day trip but it felt like we saw and learned a lot.  Now, I once lived in Williamsburg.  I attended the College of William & Mary, worked on an archaeological site as part of a field school, studied 18th-century furniture at the art museums, and then was an employee of Colonial Williamsburg for four years during my senior year of college and the years immediately afterwards.  So, these places are familiar to me.  But this was the first time I’d visited as just a plain old tourist in close to 25 years, and the first time I visited as a parent, sharing my enthusiasm for history with my son.

We actually visited few of the sites I actually worked at in my time as a historical interpreter as Peter was drawn more to the historic trades (which, ironically, I rarely had time to visit when I actually worked there).  For a place rooted in history, a lot has changed at Colonial Williamsburg.  The Charlton Coffehouse was reconstructed in recent years and we enjoyed the unexpected treat of a free serving of hot chocolate of an 18th-century recipe.  There’s also a daily event called Revolution in the Streets where the last block of Duke of Gloucester street is open only to paying guests and character interpreters perform a drama right in the middle of the crowd.  The story we witnessed was about a slave couple deciding to “jump the broom” to marry before the man was taken away to Richmond (for some reason I never learned).  We were among the witnesses to the jumping the broom ceremony which involved everyone participating in song and dance.  It is kind of cheesy and probably not 100% authentic, but I think it gets across the point of what daily life and choices were faced by ordinary people of the past.  I liked it better than the military reviews and speeches by great men that are more typical of living history performance.

A frisbee-catching dog on Palace Green.

 

Tulips blossom in the garden behind the Governor’s Palace.

 

“Fire!”

 

A team of oxen prepare to plow another row in the field.

 

Jumping the Broom (broom not in the picture).

 

Related Post: Jamestown 2007 – America’s 400th Anniversary

Photopost: Washington, D.C.


My son & I spent the Columbus Day Weekend in Washington, D.C.  Some of my favorite photos from the weekend are below, the rest are here.

The original Wright Brothers’ Flyer at the National Air & Space Museum
Pigeons on a lampost.
Asian elephant.
Sea Lion demonstration.
Monumental departure.

Photopost: Museum of Science


A few photos from a visit to Boston’s Museum of Science with my son this weekend.

Escalator innards.

 

There’s no app for that.

 

Freshly-hatched chick.
World’s largest collection of barf bags (many of which are politically-themed)

 

The ever so elusive Plastic Pink Lawn Flamingo (Pseudamingoflay plasticus)

Photopost: Ecotarium


My son  and I journeyed to the Ecotarium for Free Fun Fridays.  The Ecotarium is a science museum surrounded by outdoor compound including nature trails, animal exhibits, a playground, and even a train ride.  We had a great time with the only downside being that my parochial Bostonian view found the drive to Worcester a bit too long.

All aboard.
Walking on air.
A fox named Sox.
Turkeys on the prowl.

Lilac Sunday


Jamaica Plain continued welcoming in the spring with Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum.  We took some time to pedal our bikes and sniff the petals.  Here are a few photos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Related Posts:

Photopost: Friday Evening Hayride at Drumlin Farm


Last night we returned to Drumlin Farm for the Friday Evening Hayride.  Farmer Caroline drove the tractor out to through the fields. Along the way Drumlin Farm educator Debbie taught us that we were in fact taking a strawride and that Drumlin Farm has been under cultivation for 250 years.  Of course, around these parts I wondered “only 250 years?”

We stopped by a campfire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores.  Then we sang “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Drumlin” for Farmer Caroline and a song about a farm called “Muscle and Arm.”  Then we heard a native American story about our special evening visitor, a screech owl!

A good time was had by all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Related posts:

Photopost: Return to Drumlin Farm


Since our first visit nearly a year ago, Drumlin Farm has become one of our family’s favorite destinations for a day out.  We’ve even become members of Mass Audubon.

Here are some photographs from our visit on Sunday.

Midnight the Pony grazes in the barn.
A contemplative cow.
Cows often look thoughtful don't they?
Sheep graze as the hayride passes by.
Peeking at the tractor and the pigs' barn.
Meeeehhh!

Boston & Me: 30 Years Together


This week marks yet another anniversary in which the number of years being marked is increasingly baffling.  30 years ago on Easter weekend my father took my sister and I for my first visit to the city of Boston (Easter was on April 6th that year so let’s just say we arrived on April 5th).

Here’s what I can remember:

  • Our first day there it rained.  A lot.  I have a specific memory of walking past the Boston Massacre marker while being pelted by sheets of rain and wind.
  • Easter Sunday, however, was beautiful and sunny.  We walked around Boston Common and the Public Garden in our Sunday best.
  • It really annoyed our Dad that we insisted on walking toe-to-toe along the red paint of the Freedom Trail.  As a dad myself now I can understand how frustrating it is when the little ones dawdle.
  • I really enjoyed visiting historic sites like the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill.  From that point on I loved to read about history and visit historical sites whenever possible.
  • I’m pretty sure we went to the Childrens Museum too.  It was a busy weekend.  This was back when the Childrens Museum had the giant’s desktop and grandma’s attic.  I miss those exhibits.
  • It’s really eerie to think that this weekend really set the course for my future careers in museums and libraries as well as moving to Boston.
Me aboard the USS Constitution in April 1980.

Previously:

Book Review: The Gardner Heist by Ulrish Boser


Author: Ulrich Boser
Title: The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft
Publication Info: Smithsonian (2009)
ISBN: 0061451835

Summary/Review:

For the 20th anniversary of the theft of 13 priceless art works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, I read this book detailing the heist. The first chapter gives a blow-by-blow of all the known details of the heist itself in the early-morning hours of March 17, 1990.  Next, Boser introduces Harold Smith, an art detective who dedicates many of the remaining years of his life gathering clues and following leads about the heist.  After Smith dies in 2005, Boser himself picks up Smith’s casebook and begins immersing himself in the case to the point of obsession.  The trail of the crime leads Boser to look into various Boston underworld characters such as a noted art thief, Whitey Bulger and his mob cronies, and even the Irish Republican Army.  At one point the obsession gets ridiculous as Boser visits a town in Ireland thinking he’ll be able to pick Bulger off the street.  In the end, there’s no solution yet for the mystery of missing art, but Boser gives some interesting insights into how art theft is perpetrated and how that art may hopefully be returned.

Recommended booksDead Certainties : Unwarranted Speculations by Simon Schama, Legends of Winter Hill: Cops, Con Men, and Joe McCain, the Last Real Detective by Jay Atkinson, and  Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr

Rating: ***1/2

Photopost: Drumlin Farm


When I was a kid I liked to visit farm museums where I could see all sorts of farm animals and a different way of life from my suburban upbringing.  I’ve written about a couple of these magical places before – The Stamford Museum and Nature Center and Old MacDonald’s Farm.  As an adult I’ve found it difficult to recapture the magic when visiting farm attractions as they’re either dismally small and depressing or so over-commercialized and packed with stuff that really have nothing to do with a farm.

The tractor pulls the hayride in front of the big red barn.
The tractor pulls the hayride in front of the big red barn.

So it was with great delight that I visited the MassAudobon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA. It helps that I went accompanied by a toddler so everything was doubly fun.  It’s a place where one can commune with sheep, pigs, goats, cows, deer, owls, and chickens.  The tractor is vintage and it pulls a no-frills hayride around the farm.  Not only that, but better than any of the places I visited as a child this is a functioning farm, growing produce for sale and divvied up among CSA shares.  Drumlin Farm is a beautiful, educational, and magical place.

More photos below.

This classy tractor pulls the hayride wagon.
This classy tractor pulls the hayride wagon.
Caught this rooster in mid-crow.
Caught this rooster in mid-crow.
Onions are spread out on the table in the greenhouse.
Onions are spread out on the table in the greenhouse.
Beautiful golden flowers grow in the garden.
Beautiful golden flowers grow in the garden.
Boyce Field, part of the working farm.
Boyce Field, part of the working farm.

Seashore Trolley Museum


As a Father’s Day treat, Susan & Peter took me to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Arundel, ME.  Admission was free for Dads with their children and Peter was free himself by virtue of being under five.

Click for complete gallery of Seashore Trolley Museum photos.

There are two surprising things about the Museum that stand out.  First, despite being a museum of mass transit the museum is located in a relatively remote and wooded area.  And yet, as we would soon learn, during the golden age of trolleys even this part of Maine had a trolley line.  Second, on first view the Museum has kind of a “cluttered attic” look to it with various vehicles parked all over an open yard, some of them in rather decrepit condition.  Again we would learn that restoration of these trollies is a long and laborious process which is a labor of love by the Museum’s volunteers.  It is to their credit that they save so many vehicles from becoming scrap and making the available for visitors to see.

Right upon arrival we boarded a restored Third Avenue Railway streetcar from New York City (which later did a stint in Vienna, Austria after WWII) for a ride along a restored portion of the Atlantic Shore Line Railway.  A conductor punched our tickets, and Peter & I enjoyed looking out the window and playing on the seats.

The conductor punches our ticket
The conductor punches our ticket

After returning to the Museum proper, we took another ride on the Shuttle – a Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. car – to the Riverside barn. One of the volunteers gave us an excellent walk through of the trolleys on exhibit. From that point we were pretty much on our own to wander around and explore the trolleys and other vehicles on display and dodge rain drops. Not only are there passenger trolleys but work cars, freight cars, mail cars, and even a prison car!

Twin Cities Railway Company Gate Car
Twin Cities Railway Company "Gate Car"

Some of our favorites include:

  • Glasgow Corporation Transport #1274 – a double decker with plush upholstered seats on the first floor and leather seats on the upper deck because that was the smoking area.  Peter enjoyed climbing up the steep narrow staircase.
  • City of Manchester parlor car – an elegantly decorated and detailed car used by railway officials and dignitaries in Manchester, NH.
  • State of the Art Cars (S.O.A.C.) – rapid transit cars designed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and tested in five cities – including Boston – in the 1970’s.  Peter particularly enjoyed exploring this train.
  • Twin Cities Rapid Transit #1267 – these homemade “gate cars” worked the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul with the large platform and gates allowing for quick boarding by large numbers of passengers.
  • West End Railway Co. #396 – a “Boston Special” wooden streetcar from the early part of the 20th century
  • Cleveland Railway #1227 – The conductor/volunteer (in the photo above) snuck us in the center-car entrance of this trolley which was undergoing renovation for 20-years to get to its current lovely condition.
Boston Special streetcar
"Boston Special" streetcar

Although there are trolleys from around the world, I particularly liked the relics from Boston’s public transit. These include signs from when the Charlestown elevated and Washington Street elevated closed down. The biggest piece of Boston transit history sits in the parking lot surrounded by weeds. Northampton station once was elevated over Washington Street near Massachusetts avenue but was torn down after the Orange Line was rerouted in 1987.

Northampton station from the Washington Street Elevated in Boston
Northampton station from the Washington Street Elevated in Boston

I had a great time and would love to visit again to explore this large collection of transit history.

Boston Walking Tours 2009


Last year I posted a list of walking tours in the Boston area in hopes of encouraging people to get out and explore the history, architecture, culture, topography, and nature of the area.  I’ve updated the list and links for 2009, once again giving primacy of place to the two organizations in which I volunteer to lead tours.

Boston By Foot – Boston’s premier walking tour organization is well worth becoming a member to take advantage of free tours, discounted special tours, and members-only events.  Check out the Boston By Foot Meetup Group as well for unique tour announcements.  I’ve highlighted the tours that I guide in bold below, although many other wonderful guides also lead these tours.

Seven classic tours take you around historic Boston:

  • Beacon Hill
  • Boston By Little Feet
  • Boston Underfoot
  • Heart of the Freedom Trail
  • Literary Landmarks
  • North End
  • Victorian Back Bay

Make sure to check out special Boston Harborfest tours offered June 30-July 5:

And don’t miss the special Tours of the Month offered on the last Sunday of each month at 2 pm:

Jamaica Plain Historical Society – 1 hour tours every Saturday morning at 11 am (Jamaica Pond tour is 90 minutes).  Again, the tours in bold will be led by yours truly.

Tour Date Location Tour Date Location
June 20 Woodbourne August 22 Jamaica Pond
June 27 Jamaica Pond August 29 Monument Sq
July 11 Monument Sq Sept 12 Sumner Hill
July 18 Sumner Hill Sept 19 Stony Brook
July 25 Stony Brook Sept 26 Hyde Square
August 1 Hyde Square October 3 Green Street
August 8 Green Street October 17 Woodbourne
August 15 Woodbourne October 24 Jamaica Pond


In alphabetical order below are a number of other walking tours I’ve heard about by word of mouth or web search.  I only have personal experience with a few of these organizations so don’t consider making the list an endorsement. If you know of any good walking tours in Boston not listed below, I’d love to add them to the list, so please post in the comments.

Appalachian Mountain Club – The Boston Chapter has a Local Walks Committee offering hikes to condition oneself for the mountains, nature walks, and social walks.
Arnold Arboretum – Boston’s tree museum offers regular highlight tours and special theme tours. Come back again because the tour changes depending on the season.
Audissey Guides – Download a tour narrated by local personalities for your mp3 player.
Black Heritage Trail – A tour of African-American history in Boston led by National Park Service guides, or you can take a self-guided tour.
Evening Walkers – A Meetup.com group for people who like walking. No narration, just scenery and a chance to meet people.
Friends of the Blue Hills – Group hikes and nature walks in the Blue Hills Reservation.
Brookline Food Tour – The way to Brookline’s heart is through your stomach.
Boston Athenæum – Art and architecture tours of this respected independent library. They also offer tours for members should you be so fortunate.
Boston Harborfest – Walking tours are among the many events of Boston’s Independence Day celebration, including special Boston By Foot offerings.
Boston Harborwalk – A self-guided walk along Boston’s waterfront. Check the calendar for tours and  special events in the spring and summer.
Boston Movie Tours – Tinseltown comes to the Hub in this tour of film locations.
Boston National Historical Park – Tours of the Freedom Trail and Charlestown Navy Yard led by National Park Service Rangers.
Boston Nature Center – Birding tours, nature walks, and hikes in the heart of the city.
Boston Public Library – Regular art and architecture tours of the oldest municipal library in the US.
The Boston Spirits Walking Tour – A spooky walking tour focusing on Boston’s ghost stories.
Boston Town Crier – Freedom Trail tours led by character interpreters of James Otis and Benjamin Franklin.
Boston Women’s Heritage Trail – Nine self-guided walks exploring women’s history in Boston.
Boston Your Way – Hire a private guide for a customizable tour (I wonder if they’re hiring).
Cambridge Historical Society – The CHS events calendar currently includes a garden tour and historic house tours.
Discover Roxbury – Tours and events highlight the diversity of this historic neighborhood.
Fenway Park – Go behind the scenes at the home of the Boston Red Sox, the oldest and smallest ballpark in Major League Baseball.
Forest Hills Cemetery – Boston’s hidden gem is full of history, art, and architecture, all of which is illuminated by a good tour guide (read about a great tour we took in 2007).
Franklin Park Coalition – A self-guided tour, trails, and special events throughout the year in the “gem” of the Emerald Necklace.
Freedom Trail Tours – You can follow the red line on your own or let a costumed guide show you the way with 3 different 90-minute tours provided by the Freedom Trail Foundation.
Gibson House Museum – If you’re admiring the Victorian architecture of Back Bay and want to see a house interior, stop in here for a tour.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Society – Explore the new public space replacing the elevated Central Artery with special tours supported by Boston By Foot and other special events.
Harvard Campus Tour – Free student-led tours of the Harvard University campus.
Haunted Boston – 90 minute ghost tours of Boston.  Ask for Gretchen.
Historic New England – The HNE calendar offers neighborhood and historic property tours in Boston and throughout New England.
Irish Heritage Trail – A self-guided walk with guided tours in the works.
Learn English in Boston – Art and architecture tours of Boston for ESL students.
Lessons on Liberty – Costumed historical interpreters teach about Revolutionary Boston history along the Freedom Trail
Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts – Quarry to wharf tours of the remains of the granite railway in Quincy and Milton (part van, part walking tour).
MIT Campus Tour – Learn about the innovative architecture by world-renown architects that speckle the MIT campus.
Middlesex Fells – Check the calendar for special hikes or join the regular Babes in the Woods walks for parents and children.
Museum of Fine Arts – Regular free guided tours of the galleries (with museum admission) plus art & architecture tours outside of the museum.
The Nichols House Museum – If you’re admiring the Federal architecture of Beacon Hill and want to see a house interior, stop in here for a tour.
North End Secret Tour – Tours of Boston’s oldest neighborhood lead by a local resident.
The Path to Independence – Character interpreters offer a first-person historical perspective of the Freedom Trail.
Phantoms of Olde Cambridge -The ghosties of Harvard Square get their own tour.
Photowalks – Walking tours combined with instruction in photography on four different routes.
Paul Revere’s North End Walking Tour – An experienced guide from the Paul Revere House leads tours of the North End in early July.
South End Historical Society – An Annual House Tour is offered in October.
Unofficial Tours Present Harvard University – Fun tours of America’s first college.

Urban Adventours – Okay not a walking tour, but still cool environmentally-friendly and exciting bicycle tours of Boston.
Victorian Society in America/New England Chapter – Tours and talks of the Victorian heritage in Boston and its suburbs
WalkBoston – Boston’s walking advocacy group offers regular walks around the city.
Walking Tours of Historic Boston – Families and groups can book tours of Boston’s historic center lead by a children’s book author.
Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts – A unique spin on the walking tour where participants gather together in teams to solve questions and puzzles.